Two weeks ago, as I mourned the loss of my longtime friend, Mary, another friend, Jean, sent me a book by Ron Rolheiser, OMI that I didn’t know about nor have. The title is: Forgotten Among the Lilies: Learning to Love Beyond Our Fears. In it were some chapters on dealing with grief that she thought might be helpful. They were, and I appreciated the thought so very much! As those chapters were toward the end of the book, I just kept reading and discovered Ron had written ten “guidelines for the long haul.” They have been very helpful to reflect upon so I thought I would share them with you, our readers. I’m not giving you the whole reflection on each of the ten, but would encourage you to find the book and read them for yourselves.
- Be Grateful: Never Look a Gift Universe in the Mouth! (Appreciate things–be as happy as you can.)
- Don’t Be Naive About God: She or He Will Settle For Not Less Than Everything! (Learn to wrestle with God)
- Walk Forward When Possible: When Impossible, Try to Get One Foot in Front of the Next! (Let ordinary life be enough–start over often)
- Pray: That God Will Hang On To You! (Let your heart become the place where the tears of God and the tears of God’s children merge and become the tears of hope)
- Love: If a Life is Large Enough for Love, It is Large Enough! (Know that there are only two potential tragedies to life: not to love and not to tell those whom we love that we love them)
- Accept What You Are: Fear Not–You Are Inadequate! (Be just sufficiently fallible to be human)
- Don’t Mummify: Let Go, So as Not to be Pushed! (Keep in mind that it is difficult to distinguish a moment of dying from a moment of birth)
- Refuse to Take Things Seriously: Call Yourself a Fool Regularly! (Laugh and play and give yourself over to silliness–keep in mind it is easy to be heavy; hard to be light)
- Stay with the Folks: You Are on a Group Outing! (Do not journey alone. Be “born again” more fully into community)
- Don’t Be Afraid to Go Soft: Redemption Lies in Tears (Resist the macho impulse; the person who will not have a softening of the heart will eventually have a softening of the brain)
Grief is difficult under any circumstance for all of us. In times of this pandemic it is compounded by restrictions and limitations and distance. Yes, I grieve deeply for the physical loss of my friend, but I also grieve for those who haven’t had a hug or human touch in months due to this virus and its demands of isolation. It has taken its toll on many in a variety of ways. Let’s not forget them; over the long haul, let’s find ways to reach out, even across the miles.
Barbara McMullen, CDP