“Chocolates for the soul … little morsels of wisdom that you do collect and digest for the pleasure they bring… There are times when you need a little treat – a pick-me-up to remind you of the path you are on. Chocolates for the soul … you will know them when you find them. Collect them slowly, savoring every bite. This is how you get through the dark nights.”
This winter Terry and I spent six weeks delving into the deeper use of traditional media and social media. Maggie and Courtney were our guides, assigning us topics to develop into Blogs that highlighted the messages in our book The Light Gap: God’s Amazing Presence. Also assigned were key words for us to use within each Blog post. The week of 3-20-17 the assignment was to write about my process of grief at the death of our daughter Anne. One of the key words was bereavement. Somehow my spirit rebelled! My thought was that it was an old word that no one uses anymore. Really, I did not know how to deal with it, now I do.
Once Terry and I began delving into the spiritual aspects of life, we couldn’t stop, we have not stopped. We began to see the insights we were gaining in everything we experienced, read, and saw. We needed encouragement. We used many formats for this research; movies, books, lectures, television and radio interviews, conversations. Last week three of my favorite sources brought insight into the word and experience of bereavement.
One night I was watching the Charlie Rose Show. He was interviewing a key member of the civil rights movement. (Sorry I can’t find his name.) Specifically he was talking about the whole movement’s process of bereavement at the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968. There was that word! The man was elegant in his use of words: tears, emptiness, anxiety, confusion, anger, heartache, pain, loneliness, fear, depression, guilt. All of these emotions were my companions for months as they were for the people of the movement and the country. The complex symptoms are physical, emotional, and spiritual. There are many events that bring up such grief other than death of a person; loss of a job, divorce, illness, war, politics, loss of a pet…
Next, my Spiritual Cinema Circle DVD for April arrived. The full length movie Louder than Words told the true story of a family whose young daughter unexpectedly died of rabies after a bite they didn’t even know she had received. The movie portrayed the family members’ journey through bereavement; individuals unable to connect, loneliness, unbearable grief, life going on when no one wants to live, and the eventual break through that brought back purpose, joy, and peace. The portrayal was so real. The John & Brenda Fareri family were inspired to raise funds and build a world-class children’s hospital. Their sorrow was transformed into LIGHT.
The third inspirational offering came from Krista Tippett’s On Being, a NPR radio program (or via her podcast). Last week Krista Tippett was interviewing Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant about their recently released book called Option B. Sheryl is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Adam is a family friend and Psychologist. Sheryl’s husband recently died. She talked about grief unfolding with no balance, order, or control left in her life. She had to let her feelings “be” as she experienced bereavement. In her book she offers ways to meet her natural in-born resilience. Their advise: give yourself permission to re-discover joy. Talk about your feelings, consider how things could be worse. Recognize the “elephant in the room”meaning recognizing that people do not know what to say or do so they don’t say or do anything for fear they will do it wrong. The authors suggest that we are hard wired to think bad things but we need to work with it instead of fighting it. Reclaim the things that were lost along with the death of your loved one, things that you used to do together that gave you joy. You can find this interview by clicking on the link below.
At the heart of living a meaningful life is the strength to persevere. Each of us will encounter grief and go into a period of bereavement, not just from the death of a loved one but from a job loss, a divorce, an unexpected relocation, a fire, an accident, a failure to meet our goals. I have a knowing – not just a belief – that God is with us always, in all ways. Community can offer unbelievable support, but we can also use the tools that heal us from within.
Built in are our birthrights of strength, courage, resiliency, wisdom, and hope. AND – there are those Chocolates for the soul – little morsels of wisdom that we collect and digest. Keep a diary, write in these little bits of wisdom that you glean from meditation, intuition, experiences, and author insights. When darkness strikes, pull out your diary. Let your writing feed your soul again and remind you that Light is always with you. You are Light.