I haven’t written on this site in many weeks. I had nothing to say, as I reeled from the loss of three people in three weeks. Grief is so close to depression, you hardly know what’s come over you, and it takes time to heal. I say “you.” I mean me, of course, but maybe it relates to you, too. You have to tell me, because right now I feel the ground still rocking, unstable, underfoot. What have I to share? In grief, one sees through a veil; everything seems dulled: color, music, friendships. I have to remind myself to laugh, and all the time, I beat myself up for not feeling upbeat, happy, optimistic, and especially for having lost my way spiritually. Where is God? The best I can do is to comfort myself that all things change, that everything is temporary, including life itself.
“Out, out, brief candle,” says Macbeth, on the death of his wife:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
that struts and frets its hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Is it true? Is there really no meaning? That’s what it feels like, and where is my generous spirituality in this? Sometimes you cling with all ten claws to faith alone, trying to remember those times when you saw and heard the angels sing, when your heart leapt up with joy at the beauty of a tree or horse or the eyes of a friend. That’s what faith means. That you can’t see “IT” anymore (whatever “it” is) — but you remember having seen it once (or many times!), and you cling to hope and faith. You cling to faith that you are still loved, and that you still love, even when you don’t feel loving. You return to the cold comfort of intellect. “We do not see things as they are,” according to the Talmud, “We see them as we are.” Perhaps you remember St. Paul, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” You remember that grief itself is a poignant expression of love, and the deeper the grief, the deeper the love. I say you. I mean me.
When signs of the spiritual are absent, I walk by faith alone, by the memory of blessings poured upon me earlier, or of felix culpa moments, in which terrible things turned out serendipidously in my favor. In grief, I walk by faith, praying, and then one day, I know, I’ll begin to blink my spiritual eyes again.
It just takes time. Grief is just another of these life-long journeys into love.