How do you grieve and process the medium things in life?
You know, not the show stopping, huge, painful mammoths that take a village to conquer, and not the things that you need to just buck up and get over, but what about that space in the middle?
My soul is always pulled between making too big a deal of it, letting it sink me, stall my movement, or I don’t spend any time with it at all, I just sweep it under the rug and move on and let it mold under there like… Well like pretty much everything in our fridge.
I have no answers, and I’m annoyed.
And the more annoyed I am, the more I ‘half’ talk about things, and then I sound like a broken record, and shallow, and annoying. So I’m just a broken, annoying, shallow record.
Figuring out what’s wrong with me and trying to fix it is like a sport for me. And I want to letter in it, I want the trophy, I want the Olympic gold. I want to win.
When your forging through the waters of your soul it can be hard to sift through the self-pity, grief, shame, sadness, and wounds. It can be easy to confuse all of those things in one big soup and either throw it out or bathe in it.
This is where we meet God. We meet God, as a woman in the kitchen up to her elbows in flour inviting you into the space to sit and talk.
There is no pressure here, no need for pretense. Just you, your trashy mind soup, and God kneading away at her dough, paying just enough attention to you to feel loved, but never hovered over.
As always, this sweet and gentle revelation always makes thing much worse. Because when I want to win, and have an answer, and figure out my pain, I just want a little fortune cookie or something, a quick easy answer that tells me I’m right to give up forever and die in a heaping mess or I’m right to forget about it forever, move on and never speak of it again. What I definitely completely one hundred percent do not want to do it to to be stuck in the damn kitchen with the woman herself.
At first she kneads. I talk. She doesn’t cut in much, just the occasional murmur of deep understanding.
In one breath I tell her I already know what’s coming, I already know that she isn’t going to tell me much of anything, except to not be afraid to face it, to crack it open, to look it in its eyes. I know she will tell me it takes time, and it’s OK to go slow, and to surround myself with people who love me, and to be gentle with myself. And I’ll tell her that I try, but I’m bored with that advice.
Naturally she tells me I’m right, that’s exactly what she was going to tell me, and that I need to sit down and take a breath before I go blue in the face. After I sit she says, yes. Crack it open. And don’t be afraid when a whole mess comes piling out, this is what always happens and people always seem surprised. She tells me to surround myself with people who can hold my hand before and after, but the hard work of cracking it open and staring at it are for me to do. She tells me that anyone who isn’t willing to stand by my side isn’t worth my time, and that no matter how many lies I tell myself to let people stay longer than they should are just because I’m afraid I’d be standing alone if I didn’t let them tear me apart. She asks if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better to be alone? Staring this hell in the face is hard work and you should only want people who are fully on your team. She says, Honey it’s time you grow a pair and clean house, if they aren’t trying to love you like I love you, wake up and smell the coffee, get out before they take one more inch of heaven from you. Then she names the people, one at a time, slowly so I feel the air in the room being weighed down as it is filled with names of those that would stand in the fire with me, as long as it takes. That weight you’re feeling? she says, that’s what love feels like. Be gentle with yourself, trying to prove how strong you are by punching yourself in the head out of stubbornness does not prove how strong you are, it just proves you’re a dumb ass, and I did not create you to be a dumb ass. Being gentle takes great strength, hold yourself with open hands and don’t stamp out the spark that I keep trying to put in you because you are clinging to hard while trying to beat yourself back together. Then she says, there is no such thing as ‘medium grief’ there is only things as they were created to be, and things as they weren’t. And any time something isn’t as I created it to be, we grieve. We mourn. We shed tears as holy blessings, every tear says you can’t see it now, but yours is the kingdom of heaven. And even though this hurts, even though this is wrong, I still see you. I acknowledge you. You are worth crying for. Know that this world is not as it should be and one day it will be perfect again but that day is not this day. So weep, she says, weep for every little moment hell has a tiny victory over heaven because even though it is not the final story it is today’s story and I want you to know I cry with you because it is not the way I dreamt this all up.
And what she says helps, and it doesn’t.
She says, I know. That’s the whole point. There is no easy fix for hell, not here anyway, not just yet, so stay as long as you need to.