The Gift of Grief

AdobeStock_124617644.jpegNow that I know it, I can’t un-know it. At this point, it feels as if the loss of Steve has saturated every cell of my body, even mysteriously reconfiguring my very DNA. In short, it’s become a part of me. While saying it “defines me” would be going too far (thankfully!),  it has clearly brought about lasting change. And as I inventory those shifts in my heart, mind and spirit, I begin to see more of the blessing hidden just behind the pain.

I was spending some time with a new friend this week who has been through her own extreme trauma and loss, having lived on the streets for quite awhile since having to choose between paying for medical care and paying for rent. These days, when I’m around people like this woman, I find myself appreciating the ways grief has restructured my heart.

When I’m in the presence of someone whose pain is so immediate and close to the surface, it feels as if there is a new conduit available to me, connecting my heart to theirs. It cuts straight through the static and white noise of social class, material trappings, and a thousand other potential barriers. And in it, there is a recognition, a resonance that happens, making God’s instruction to “Weep with those who weep” feel like the most natural thing in the world.

In those moments–when I sense my heart softening and opening to people like this woman, who I might not even have been able to look in the eye before–I feel the quiet, rich gift my grief has left behind…

More beauty from ashes.