Compassion

Let it go, little mamma.

You have deeply entered their pain,

lived it with them,

prayed and suffered.

Their burden is not yours.

You can love

but you cannot hold the whole world

in your heart.

Don’t try to steal God’s job.

Only He, the eternal one,

can bear all the world’s suffering

without breaking to pieces…

Your call now,

is to go dig in your garden

and plant flowers of hope

in the simple brown earth.

Your call is to smile again

and find joy in the little gifts of each day.

Tears have washed you clean.

Now, little mama,

let it go,

trust more,

be silly and laugh again.

Solitary Light

Suffering friend,

your brightness bursts

through the dark like lightning.

People are awed by your strength and beauty.

They do not hear the cry of your pain–

your anguish always swallowed up by thunder.

They see only your power,

blinded to the pain that rips

your heart in half with such terrible violence.

They do not realize that you yearn

to be a candle–a warm light

shining in cosy concert with others–

the same simple joys lighting up your face.

Gorgeous, devastating lightning bolt,

strike no more alone,

surrounded by the cold empty air

that crashes through your lungs in suffocating silence

while your tears invisibly drown in the storm.

Reach for me,

let me feel the sting of your pain,

absorb some of the shock,

connect with the current coursing through you.

Illumine my ignorance.

Unblind me so I can see with you

the world from the eye of the storm.

Image from https://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2015/10/06/student-voices-thunderstruck-by-pride/

Deafening Silence 

This is one of the most loving, beautiful and expressive posts I’ve ever read about miscarriage…the hidden quiet, heart shattering pain of it, and the difficulty we have discussing this kind of loss. Well worth reading, both for those who have lost babies, and for those who’d like to understand better how it feels so they can support their families and friends who have.  Click on the link below to read it all if you wish. 

It’s in the quiet moments that I hear it the most. The soft pop and hiss of tiny fractures spreading across my aching heart. It reminds me of that first step you take onto thin ice. You feel …

Source: Deafening Silence 

“The Wounded Healer” by Henri Nouwen 

  

Shortly after I lost my baby Josephine in labour nearly 6 months ago, a friend lent me this book by Henri Nouwen: “The Wounded Healer: In our woundedness, we can become a source of life for others.”  The idea expressed in the subtitle caught my attention, because it spoke a truth that I had recently discovered myself…that my pain and brokenness had become a means of connecting deeply with others, and of helping them release their own pain. 

This process is not one of having all the right consoling things to say, or of having found a magic solution to blot out pain. Emotional healing is not about making pain disappear, but about learning how to live with it while maintaining a sense of hope and joy. 

There is a huge difference here, because one involves living in the reality of our broken world, with a hope that transcends it, while the other involves hoping in a world that doesn’t exist in the present…one without any suffering. 

Acceptance or denial, peace or rebellion. Choices we make every day when we live in pain. 

The world may tell us that life is not worth living when there is deep pain, and that the supposed nothingness of death would be better. But I can honestly say that there are things pain does which are very beautiful: 

Pain breaks down barriers between people and connects hearts. 

Pain makes beauty stand out in sharp relief, and helps one appreciate what was previously taken for granted. 

Pain burns away the fear of being authentically yourself, because the petty concern of what others might think ceases to matter as much. 

Pain rips open your heart to let the world in; no longer do you judge those who are struggling. 

Pain makes you rely on God, because your spirit needs support to bear this weight gracefully. Meaning with God’s grace. With prayer. 

Connection. Gratitude. Authenticity. Compassion. Interior growth. These are all pretty big gifts. They make life more beautiful and worth living. 

When you truly suffer, your heart hurts deeply, but loves more deeply as well. And this love, coming from a humble place of pain mingled with hope, can be a source of life for others. 

  

humble offering

Sometimes when life is hardest

and we feel the need to draw our swords

and brandish a flaming torch

it is precisely the moment

we need to put them away

and instead wrap our hearts

in silken handkerchiefs

to cushion their fall

They may be broken

but with gentleness

perhaps they won’t shatter

With no words

to really console 

your broken heart

I can only offer

mine 

 

 

Choosing Happiness

Recently my dear friend Natalie from Chicago came for a quick visit, as she was back home for her grandmother’s funeral. Her presence was like a sweet breeze from the Windy City. She brought a little pot of cheerful daffodils to brighten my table. I got florally spoiled! It was a gift to be able to see her, and have a heart-to-heart talk while the kids played at the park. A moment of happiness I will cherish for a long time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately, and how necessary it is to choose it. Not just as a lifetime hope, but moment to moment. Choosing to embrace each good moment that comes, choosing to smile, to dance with the kids, to laugh when they tell me funny little things, to savour each time they hug or play together well. Tonight we had homemade pizza. “We’re having a nice lifetime,” said my four year old,”This is the best pizza ever!”

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I have to see each of these moments as gifts, despite the underlying ache for my little lost daughter, who is busy painting Heaven’s clouds pink with her rosy cheeks. She would want me to be a happy mother who is present to her children, who is affectionate and fun, who is able to enjoy her children and to apologize when she loses her cool.

We can choose to see life as meaningful gift, painful but precious, or as a terrible burden, fraught with danger. But how would the latter help us? To be paralyzed by fear is to refuse to live. And we must live and love, even as the sun must rise, because that’s what we’re meant to do.

Who among us is without pain? We have all suffered in one way or another…
Yet we still have the ability to choose happiness. The longing in our hearts for truth, goodness and beauty is there because those things exist, and we are meant to possess them.

“The essence of greatness is having the heart of a child,” quoted James Stenson in a parenting talk. I think this is also a choice: to let sadness wither you up and go grey inside, letting yourself become even internally old, or to choose youth—hope, joy, simplicity, trust, laughter—for to embrace life is to be young.

This is not a choice we make only once, for we are so changeable, like the shadows of leaves dancing on a windy day…it is a choice we have to make again and again, every time an opportunity comes to enjoy life, to be silly, to dance, to relish a conversation with a dear friend, to bask in the sunlight that pours down on us.

If we refuse the joy of those moments, because the pain of deep old scars that still throb, we are being like the child who refuses to get over her tantrum because one toy broke, even when she is offered many others. It’s really easy to be that kind of child, but we have to remember the resilience of children who seek joy in each new day, who get excited about little things, who are easily pleased by small shows of affection.

All the daily blessings we receive, all of those good moments, are caresses from God’s hands, and a sign that He is with us, despite life’s struggles. Say yes to them. Say yes to Him. Say thank you. We are in bigger, better hands than our own, and only in them can we truly live as children who know how to trust and rejoice, despite the tears that also come.

As I’m trying to take my own advice, here’s some photo’s of me being a kid on my retreat at Loon Lake, climbing about in the woods and getting wet pulling a raft across the lake. Felt like I was 12 again. Was great!

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Dull Ache

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Dull ache
like I’ve fallen flat on face
Grey skies
match my insides

It’s hard to talk
about her today
The pain throbs
in a delicate way
that won’t leave

I’m sitting here
eating Cheerios without cheer
My little ones laugh
and sing
but I don’t feel like doing a thing

Strange day
now that she’s gone away
The neighbourhood seems
empty and odd

Life’s going on
people bustling away
But I’m in this bubble
floating above
feeling lost
without my little love

Grey skies
match my insides
It’s gonna be awhile
till I find colour again
But in the mean time
I’m hoping for rainbows
looking for sun though my tears