As the start of the winter season, November has always had a special significance. We remember those we once knew, who are now dead, and we ask God to show mercy on them. We also pray to them to help us to live out our lives as lovingly as some of them did. These faithful departed handed on to us many of the things that make life worthwhile—insights, beliefs, traditions and values. They handed on to us whatever goodness and truth they had discovered in their life even it if was just a short time that they journeyed with us. We remember them with gratitude and real love at this time.
Grief and loss affect everyone. None of us knows how to truly process those emotions. At times, we really don’t know how to grieve. We expect there to be a standard timetable for it. We don’t make space for it. We don’t feel safe talking about it. We want it to follow predictable steps and then for everything to get back to normal. The result is that we try to bury our grief, hide away our pain, and act as if it’s not there. And, yet it comes up in all kinds of ways and in places we least expect. If you are truly awake in your own life, you are in touch with the loss you have experienced. And it’s no doubt painful. I have cried privately many times at situations and losses in my own life and recently on a trip to Africa I cried for days at the extreme poverty I witnessed, especially for the children who were close to death.
The best way to cope with it is to deal with it kindly, gently, lovingly and with the support of family, friends and the communities we live in. We should try to keep in our minds and in our hearts the knowledge that everyone deals with these feelings on a daily basis. If we truly remembered that, we would be kind to everyone. We would be gentler with our fellow human beings and with ourselves. We live in a fast-paced, tough and often cold world. We don’t need to. By being more aware and awake, we can make a choice to be conscious, caring and compassionate to ourselves and others every day of the year. Now there’s a thought worth remembering. Here is an ancient poem that I read recently at my Auntie Catherine’s funeral that gives me hope in times of grief.
A Poem of Remembrance
Somewhere in the early morning of Eternity, you are running free.
Loosened from the bonds of Earth. Unchained from all that bound you here.
The years together were too brief, yet who is to measure time?
Or how long is long enough?
You brought joy and whispered hope to those who loved you most.
A single thread of darkness or loneliness pulled you beyond to the moment of now.
We cannot fully understand nor shall we try…
We simply know that somewhere in the vastness of all that is,
you are running free and the ocean of eternity cools your feet,
as you run unhampered on the sands of all tomorrows.
And a lone seagull calls to you and you respond with laughter.
You carry now no burden, no chain, nor bond to hold you.
You carry only the warmth and the love of those who cared.
So run free and open your arms and touch the clouds and dance with the morning sun and know that, even in our tears, we celebrate with you and bid you good journey, ’til we meet again tomorrow.
Thought for the Week
As your Thought for the Week, treat everyone around you in a gentle way and be thankful for loved ones that are no longer physically with us, especially during this time of remembering.