An island never cries

I didn’t expect the response I received after posting last week, both here and on Facebook. My goal was to say that we can turn our emotions, even such raw ones as grief, to  make our writing more authentic.

I didn’t intend to imply that my grief was somehow more deep or valid than anyone else’s. The truth is, at some point we are all going to hit that wall head-on and stagger into a new and confusing reality. And it hurts. There is no “more than” or “less than.” It just hurts.

We will lose those we love. There is no way to sugar coat this fact or turn it  into a euphemism. We will eventually lose our parents. We will lose siblings. Of the three of us, my brother, the youngest, was the first to go. My sister and I couldn’t understand it. We still can’t.

We will lose dear friends and people we admire but don’t know in spite of feeling a close connection to them.

Each loss is another blow, another chipping away at a heart already wounded.

How can you avoid this pain? It isn’t easy, but you can close yourself off. You can be like the subject of Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “I Am a Rock” and tell yourself a rock feels no pain … and an island never cries.Related image

You can distance yourself and avoid intimacy. You can turn your heart to stone.

But is it worth it in the end?

Wouldn’t you rather have had your parents, your spouse, your friend, in spite of the loss? Isn’t the memory of their love dearer than an island’s isolation?

Life hurts, my friends. If it doesn’t, you aren’t living.

But life also holds great joy and grace.

Hold on to that instead of your grief. Grief will diminish (although it never goes away), but joy and grace only increase if you let them.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.




Together we can

I attended two distinctly separate events last week, yet they had something in common.

First, I went to a Sunday service in Wilmington, NC.  Here’s a  link to a video that I love (the graduate in the green gown is my daughter-in-law): 

It wasn’t just that the service was held outside on a barge anchored on the river (Hence the name of the church). It wasn’t the sunshine and the free coffee and the birds swooping down to see what was going on maybe get a tidbit. It wasn’t the message, which was good, or the the singing of one of my favorite hymns accompanied by a young woman who played a mean guitar.

It wasn’t the congregation: church members, vacationers and dog-walkers who happened to pass by and decided to join in, and some of the homeless people who live wherever they can find shelter in Wilmington’s downtown area.

It was the sense of unity with all people. Rich, poor, black, white, educated and drop-outs–we were one in the spirit. There was a feeling of joy and love.

That Sunday morning, we had not yet heard about the Orlando shooting. Cut to a few days later. On Wednesday I was back home and learned there was to be a candlelight vigil for the victims, survivors, the police and EMS workers, the doctors, and all who came to help.

This service was held in a courtroom. It was packed. There were words of hope and love, prayers, songs, and even a little laughter because love wins every time.

I felt a sense of unity with all people. Rich, poor, black, white, educated and drop-outs–we were one in the spirit. There was a feeling of joy and love.

Yes, I repeated that sentence. Both events showed me that people CAN come together and CAN work together.

And together we can defeat the hatred and fear that is tearing our beloved country apart.

I’m not sure how I, as an individual, can do anything to stop the madness. But I do feel that by joining our hearts and minds, we can turn back the dark and let the light shine.


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