In the Midst of Loss
I am relaxing in my chair, basking in the warmth of today’s sunshine. I am deeply grateful for the sunshine and light, yet in this time of uncertainty I also feel anxious, fearful and saddened. There is a preponderance of loss as I navigate canceled plans, care for the sick, transition to distance learning, and feel the separation of physical distancing and isolation. I read a post on social media making light of the absence of hugs. Yes, it was made in jest, but there is comfort and assurance in the tender touch from a friend, a warm embrace. Honestly, I miss that sense of connection. The loss; the grief is palpable.
There are no simple remedies for the world that we are experiencing. I doubt there is a single individual who finds themselves untouched by this crisis. I need to be clear that there are no panaceas for this loss. There isn’t a book, no pattern of stages or steps, no workshops that will make all the anxiety, fear, and loss dissipate. Grief and loss is like that-it pervades every fiber and changes us. Please be clear, I do not dismiss the grief, trauma and sadness. This is real and so very difficult.
I have turned to two leaders who have shared their life journey; His Holiness Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The book is entitled, The Book of Joy-Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. The coauthor is Douglas Abrams. The premise is based on a week’s visit in India where the two Holy men meet. Despite their different doctrines, they witness and honor the sacrality in each other.
Archbishop Tutu introduces the South African concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a simple concept that in contradiction, has much depth. Tutu describes it as saying “A person is a person through other persons.” It is a clear edict; we are all interconnected as fellow human beings on this earth. Clearly, physical distancing is paramount today. Yet many of us are gifted with technology and resources that aid the contact with friends and family. As the Dalai Lama and Tutu share, the joy of what they speak is not a fleeting moment of happiness, but rather a deep sense of gratitude and humility, a gift of great compassion for one another whether they are friend or a friend you have yet to meet. This is most certainly a time to practice compassion for yourself and others.
For me, this difficult time allows all me a special gift; a gift of time. Most of us are experiencing more time at home. Perhaps, there are more opportunity for conversations in the home, on the phone or over the computer. Hopefully, there is time for rest and reflection; time for tears and laughter. Perhaps the practice of meditation, prayer and calm is the gift of these days. No disruptions-just the quiet. As I write this, I hear only the low hum of the refrigerator and the occasional lowing of our cows. It is late afternoon; all the animals are resting in the sunshine for a leisurely nap. If I could bottle this calm, I would share it with you.
For today, just for today, take time to rest and meditate on the gratitude you have in your heart. There may be challenges of the day, more senses of loss and grief, but you will be centered and calm if you start with your own inner sense of peace. The Psalmist in the Bible tells us “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30).
I invite you to name the feelings you are experiencing in this pandemic crisis as grief, trauma, fear; whatever you are feeling. People are sick, uncertainty is pervasive. I believe we will be changed by this experience, perhaps with more compassion for others. Nurture yourself with prayer and meditation. Surround yourself with the love of those who honor and revere you. Look forward to the morning, the promise of a new day.