While our world is filled with acts of heroism, kindness and hope, it also has more than its share of grief and trauma and tragedy.  Ukraine, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Iran, Puerto Rico, Florida, South Carolina, Canada, your heart, my heart…..

Grief is like the peeling of an onion.  Just when you think you’ve finally finished grieving, another layer is peeled off.  But, it’s also the bittersweet memories of people, places and experiences that have filled our lives with wholeness and joy and hope.  We find ourselves crossing the road frequently from letting go and moving on, to being tossed into another moment of deep sadness and grief.

This past week, one of our long standing supporters, mission friends and Mission of Hope extended leadership members, lost everything during Hurricane Ian.  Recently, this person also lost their life long partner and spouse, so the struggle, the grief, is compounded by an emptiness that no one can fill, a hunger that only God can satisfy.  So, it is for this person, and for each of you and me, that I share the following poem by Jan Richardson, as she offers a blessing for the dailiness of grief.

“Grief is so daily. It finds us in every moment we will never share with our loved one again, every routine we have lost, every pattern and practice and rhythm we have to create anew. Here’s the secret: that’s where the solace lives, too, and the grace. That’s where love still waits for us, every moment, every day.”

Sorry I am
to say it,
but it is here,
most likely,
you will know the rending
most deeply.

It will take your breath away,
how the grieving waits for you
in the most ordinary moments.

It will wake
with your waking.

It will
sit itself down
with you at the table,
inhabiting the precise shape
of the emptiness
across from you.

It will walk down the street
with you
in the form of
no hand reaching out
to take yours.

It will stand alongside you
in every conversation,
nearly unbearable
in its silence
that fairly screams.

It will
brush its teeth
with you at night
and climb into bed
with you
when finally
you let go
of this day.

Even as it goes
always with you,
it will still manage
to startle you with
its presence,
causing you to weep
when you enter
the empty kitchen
in the morning,
when you spread fresh sheets
on the bed you shared,
when you walk out
through the door
and pass back through it

It is here
you will know it best—
in the moments
that made up the rhythm
of your days,
that fashioned the litany
of your life,
the togethering
you will never know
in the same way again.

But I will tell you
it is here, too,
that your solace lies.

It will wait for you
in those same moments
that stun you
with their sorrow.

I cannot tell you how,
but it will not cease
to carry you
in the cadence that has
forever altered
but whose echo will persist
with a stubbornness
that will surprise you,
bearing you along,
breathing with you still
through the terrible
and exquisite
ordinary days.

—Jan Richardson

So, in the rubble of our lives and the ashes of destruction and war and hurricanes and oppression,  we are graced by the unbridled compassion of caring people, the gift of God visibly present in rainbows, promises of a covenant with our Creator, and the human spirit that both inspires and carries us in our weakest moments.

So, live in Hope even as you grieve and let go.

Sr. Debbie Blow, OP
Executive Director Emeritus