Thursday, January 5, 2012

Looking Up



The start of a new year is always a time of reflection and renewal for me. As part of my annual tradition, I do a purge of my closet and dressers to rid myself of clothes that I haven't worn in the last year. It also gives me some much needed space in my closet and dresser. More than anything though it gives me the satisfaction of "lightening." The older I get, the less I think I need. This is despite the fact that the "want" never seems to cease. It seems you can't outgrow selfishness.

I had an interesting chat with a friend after writing class last night. She is a relatively new friend that shares several common tragic threads with me. We seem to connect because of what we've been through, yet each of us is determined not to let our tragedies define us. Life is too short to not look forward or to let something horrible from your past stifle your future. Anyhow she is a kindred spirit and we've had some great conversations.

Last night we talked about the role of grief plays in your life. She said that as much as it hurts and we don't like it, like joy and happiness, it is something that very much shapes us. How we deal with what it does to us is up to us and she cautioned repeatedly about not getting embittered. I don't think I will, though I think there was a time a while back where I was pissed and kind of bitter about Rob's situation and passing. I've moved beyond that, in part because I now understand that while he is where he is as part of a plan, I also am where I am as part of a plan.  My whole "what is the point?" perspective has become clearer now that I've reached a different stage or grief reconciliation (if that's possible).

Today she sent me a brief email that was pretty inspirational. Here's a snippet:

"and you must be able to bear your sorrow;
even if it seems to crush you, you will be able to stand up again,
for we are so strong;
and your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself,
part of your body,
part of your soul
you must not run from it, but bear it.

do not relieve your feelings through hatred, do not seek to be avenged...

Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is due;
bear your grief honestly and courageously and clear a decent shelter for your sorrow..

for if you have given sorrow the space its gentle origins demand,
then you may truly say life is beautiful and so rich."

Roughly quoted from AN INTERRUPTED LIFE by Etty Hillesum

The picture above is what I saw on my way TO work this morning. Again, bad camera, but what your looking at is jet airline exhaust tails in the sky in geometric patterns. For some reason, they were suspended and absolutely stunning against the blue sky and sunrise. I was awestruck by the beauty and magnitude of it all, so snapped a shot.

I'm not sure why God has me looking skyward so much lately, but my guess is that he wants me to stop looking at my shoes and in doing so maybe catch a glimpse of Him. I'm convinced he's saying "Don't miss it. Don't miss today. Don't miss this. Don't."

So, I'm trying my damnedest not to.

Blogging off...

2 comments:

healthy1 said...

Hi Jim! One of my favorite books is Hind's Feet on High Places, ever read it? Little Much Afraid must leave her home with the Fearlings and go up the mountain with the good shepherd to the High places. She finds out to her distress, that the companions that the Good Shepherd has assigned are Sorrow and Suffering.

This was also so profound for me.

I think we are well versed in the idea of "offering up our suffering for the poor souls." But maybe we forget that suffering may also be the way God heals us and brings us to the higher places with Him.

I know it hurts. But your right about the signs. They come all around us. Reminders that despite it all, there is still beauty...around us, in us, to come.

Blessings to you on the journey and keep writing and sharing!!

Shelley

Jim Landwehr said...

Thanks so much Shelley. I will try and get that book and give it a look. Sorry I didn't get to this comment until now. I appreciate your comments! Blessings back to you.