A belated Happy New Year to you all, dear readers and friends. It’s been a bit of a bumpy start to the year and to the end of last year.
I’ve been wanting to write about the way that I’ve been gifted by the grief I’ve felt. Unfortunately, the grief has become a little heavy handed and, until today, I haven’t been able to get the words out. Now I’m trying to lstep into the moment. I may not achieve all I want to, in one fell swoop, but if I can find a moment and master that, I can be satisfied.
The gift of grief
When we heard, when I heard, when I shared with my friends about the death of our beautiful 48 year old friend Jo, I felt so warmly connected. Connected to people I knew well because we shared our sorrow. Connected to friends across states and countries and time because we all experienced this loss to some extent or another. Some massively and my heart hurts still for them. Connected to old friends I hadn’t spoken to, for a while, because it was worth making that extra effort. Just to say,”I’m here. I see you. I know you are hurting. You are not alone.”
Powerful words to say and hear. And then more connections.
Let’s have dinner. Yes let’s.
Catching up with friends who are close but the months do fly by when you’re all busy. How lovely it was that it hadn’t been an entire year since we’d seen each other. We might not have made that effort if our dear friend Jo hadn’t passed so suddenly. I’m not saying that it’s in any way good that Jo died. Not for a minute. The sorrowful truth is she did and what shall we do, what shall I do with the this life I’m still living? Not out of guilt but out of gratitude. How can I connect with the people I care about? How can I build bridges and restore friendship with dear ones I’ve lost touch with?
A phone call.
Any meal together.
I believe in the power of breaking bread together. Not because of some religious sacrament but because eating together brings us closer.
I’ve always thought that ‘communion’ in church was such a small nod to the way we can truly ‘commune’ with each other in life and in a spiritual way. I’ve heard that the Passover meal is quite the feast. One that honours God and one another. They’re the kind of meals I want to have. That’s the kind of life I want to lead.
It’s not always easy. And some days feel like a stale cracker and a sip of very watered down grape juice. It’s been a bit of a ‘stale cracker and weak juice’ couple of weeks.
I haven’t been honouring myself. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t honour God either. Although I’m also pretty sure that God’s not in any way fussed by our performance or efforts in honour. Far more in our heart’s true cry. While I keep returning to the thought that I’m so grateful to be reminded of this precious gift of life, I haven’t been able to embrace the act of living. No, not suicidal, just not really living. Actually, quite afraid to live.
Afraid to treat myself well, to be kind to myself or to treat myself with respect. I can encourage and care and nurture so many people around me. I can speak those words of bravery to your spirit. I can stand beside you while you face your fear, your challenge, even your demons. I am loyal to my friends, to my children, to my family…but not to myself. Oh dear.
And yes, I have some beautiful friends who speak light and life into my world. Who encourage me, who stand by me. But where was I?
I deflected their words.
I diminished my value.
I lowered my worth.
And then today…my psychologist, yes, I have one I see regularly, suggested I work on mastery.
Mastery in the moments
You might have heard of it. I had but I’d managed to forget.
In order to have mastery, one needs to do or try to do, with the likelihood of success, things that are a little bit challenging. I’m a tad embarrassed to say, for me, it was the dishes. Yes, the dishes. Not difficult at all. But while I was on my own, I hadn’t made any effort. I mean I wasn’t like the man in the picture book who put all his dishes on his truck in the rain because he’d never done them, but there was always something soaking in the sink.
Since my son had returned home on Monday, after a terrific time holidaying with his dad, I had managed to cook four meals. That’s four more than I had cooked while just looking after myself. This reminded me that I was already doing it. Mastery of cooking for us both.
And while I could spend hours, days even, going down the rabbit hole of WHY I don’t take care of myself; it was a better suggestion to simply try mastery. Just little things…like dishes.
Or even writing…
This is quite a big thing for me. Not difficult to tap away at the keyboard but challenging to open myself up, admit my shortcomings and own my truth.
So I’m going to try to have mastery in the moments. I’m going to try to show myself the respect I deserve: the respect I’m so good at showing others’ they deserve. I’m going to continue to be grateful for what I have, every time grief comes up to remind me of all that I’ve lost. Even if it takes me a while some days to get there, I’m still going to try.
And most importantly, I’m going to try mastery of self worth. This is a journey friends. Ahh, don’t we love a journey. (No not really, I like the start and the end. I don’t like the middle bit…the journey) I’m going to try to treat me like someone I like. Like a friend that I’m fiercely loyal to. Like a loved one I’m willing to stand with. Like a sweet child who deserves to be loved and cared for.
I make no guarantees. This is not a New Year’s resolution. This is my grateful heart doing it’s best to live a life of gratitude and love of each moment that I try to master.
Blessings to you dear friends, whatever 2019 brings you, may you find mastery in the moments and gratitude through the grief.
Much love always