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Archive for April 3rd, 2020

“Good grief, Charlie Brown,” says Lucy many times over in frustration of their childhood antics.” And now in our world, both adults and children are suddenly shot into a world very unfamiliar to us. The coming of the Corona virus is the only thing that is “sudden” about it. Every day, restrictions, losses, and new rules “of being” flood into our day. If we have not lost any family member or friend by now in the fourth week of its rapid spread, we are the lucky ones. Many have and are losing loved ones that  leave many stranded with isolated good-by’s and inexplicable grief.

As much a many are helping the rest of us with upbeat messages, music, innovative ways of “being together, and the promise, that we will go through this together, and we will win over it together, the population of the grieving is building daily.

This poem posted today I think takes this population under her wings of prayer. This truth that now lives amongst us, when contemplated is both complicated and simple. Amid the living, there is much death. Therefore, also much grief.

I do not believe this poem to be a downer. Contemplative Christine Valters Paintner has crafted a very real part of the remnants left in the wake of Covid-19. Last night, I lay awake deep in the night, praying rosaries for #1 those “at the hour of my death. Amen”, as repeated over and over in the Hail Mary prayer who are in that hour as I prayed. Between the Hail Mary’s, as I slipped the beads through my fingers, I asked Mary and the Mantle of Mary to be so present to give peace to the person dying and to the health care worker closest to the patient, so that a “bond” could exist rather than “aloneness” between them.

And so I also prayed for all health care workers providing the last sense of touch and caring to the dying. What a sacred mission, and with whatever feelings I had during prayer, I just sunk into that reality alone—and left all the outer world (our world) changes and hopes, and losses alone for the moment. It was the dying and their families, and the endless effort of the professional caregivers I put into the sanctuary of my prayers. No, grief, and perhaps even rage, is not to be ignored; it is all around us and through us.

This is an invitation to rest in the space of grieving for all that is being lost right now, before we try to “make meaning” from it all.  Yes we must claim grace and gratitude, but let’s not bypass sorrow.

*In a Dark Time*
Christine Valters Paintner

Do not rush to make meaning.
When you smile and say what purpose
this all serves, you deny grief
a room inside you,
you turn from thousands who cross
into the Great Night alone,
from mourners aching to press
one last time against the warm
flesh of their beloved,
from the wailing that echoes
in the empty room.

When you proclaim who caused this,
I say pause, rest in the dark silence
first before you contort your words
to fill the hollowed out cave,
remember the soil will one day
receive you back too.

Sit where sense has vanished,
control has slipped away,
with futures unravelled,
where every drink tastes bitter
despite our thirst.

When you wish to give a name
to that which haunts us,
you refuse to sit
with the woman who walks
the hospital hallway, hears
the beeping stop again and again,
with the man perched on a bridge
over the rushing river.

Do not let your handful of light
sting the eyes of those
who have bathed in darkness.
—Christine Valters Paintner

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