Somehow we don’t hear much about how grief is a total body experience.
When we lose things: dreams, beloveds, a sense of solid, the wham of grief is sudden guest in our life. Uninvited, to be sure, but guest none the less.
In the rounds of pastoring, grief is a language that is spoken often. Those of us who are able to be present at such times feel the honor of such sharing. To be witness to tears and thrashings and wonderings about how such weight is to be borne is holy work.
And it is work powerfully shared. Sometimes people come out of worship flowing with tears. They are apologetic and embarrassed. Sometimes they aren’t sure what triggered the deluge. Sometimes they know well the source: a parent’s favorite hymn, the dangerous power of stillness and its ability to surface pain, the challenges and wrangles of life that just seem overwhelming and too much to bear.
When such tears are shed in the company of others, they are gift. They bear witness to the power and safe of community. They are proclaimers of mystery and sign of soul work. They are language deeper than words.
My prayer is that for each of us, there is a pair of eyes, a presence, a place where tears and grief and confusion are safe to share. Companions on our spirit journey are there for us, even when we feel less than lovely. Even when we are so confused we cannot speak coherence. Even then, especially then.
And my prayer is that the awareness grows in us each that in all of our griefs, we are companioned by the Holy: Breathing, pulsing, and loving in all of the wet.