I am learning depths of loss I have never understood before. I have only begun to experience the sorrow of losing two friends, and all that they entailed – living, breathing marriages, anchors of the community, a way of life I seek, a character I could calibrate my own by. I have been thrown into a whirlpool of grief as a mother and a person, in which people are set on misunderstanding my family and diminishing the past years of training, preparing, mothering and loving. In which eating a meal and having a conversation can suddenly seem too hard. In which we have to fight and stand for something even as we want to crumble and quit. The last year I have become a frequent visitor to an alter of dreams, where the longest, most set places and plans are thrown into question, sometimes because of a person with more power than I, sometimes because of self-reflection.
I have seen a lot of beauty in my life. I have had armfuls of blessing and good favor bestowed on my steps. Injustice though it presently has made life very painful, has at other times I’m sure made my life privileged and too good to be true. I am bulwarked by a quality company that even if they do not know what to say, reach out and give what they can and pray what they can, which is more than I. I have managed to not give up the battle, give up the search for truth and resurrection completely though I cannot always explain to myself, to you, why. Still, I have a newfound compassion for those who do give up. Who have not had the layers of fortune I have, who already have a history of addiction and a trail of broken relationships. I see them, and I know some of them, with a new respect. With a new tenderness.
There are some disorientations that only by a surplus of grace and support might one hold on until the next moment, then the next, and maybe one more. When people lose a child, a mother, a dream, a central construct, it seems to me that only by this surplus, this floating, this gifting, can one survive. Can one resist pain-numbing, substance-abusing, desperate dark and hiding and bitterness. Fraudulent versions of cure and resurrection and life but versions still.
From my limited and bruised place now, I can at least offer one and really only one constructive word: be gentle to the least of these. To the ones who are most entrenched and most alone and most repulsive. To the ones who are easy to assume one-dimensional stories of–the homeless, the addict, the bitter angry angriest. The mother going to the abortion clinic. The beggar who screams at the passing cars. Their hearts are broken and they lost their surplus or never had one. They are so sad and only human and before you. Be gentle. Be brave. Lessen their loss.