Thanksgiving and Loss

“If God said, ‘Rumi, pay homage to everything that has helped you enter my arms,’ there would not be one experience of my life, not one thought, not one feeling, not any act, I would not bow to.”

Rumi
Sunrise Thanksgiving morning from my kitchen window

I’m sitting in my truck watching dark clouds roll in over the mountains. The wind is picking up, although the temperature is warm, and it feels uncertain which way it’s going to go. 
I always mark things with the weather. It rained when my first sister got married. It rained when my last sister got married too.
I remember driving home from Long Island for my mother’s funeral. I was coming down the Long Island Expressway late in the evening in the summer. To my right, the sun was setting, gorgeous gold, orange, pink, and purple. To my left, a thunderstorm blackened the sky with pouring rain and bolts of lightning. And I was in the middle going home to bury my mother.

A song came on I never heard before, and I’ve never heard it played on air again. I found it – although curiously, it was not released until two years after my mother’s death. I have it on my iPod, and it comes on occasionally, and I am back on the LIE in the middle of a sunset thunderstorm singing “Don’t give up on me, give up on me, give up on me” for my mother. (Low Roar “Give Up”)

I wanted to write a Thanksgiving blog today. I had some great ideas about finding meaning and gratitude amid the over-spending and consumption. And then I received a text I’d been dreading from a beloved friend with the results of her husband’s MRI. Within hours, I received another message from a family member with the same devastating news.  In both cases, cancer now metastasized.

So I sit in my truck and watch the storm come. I haven’t been able to mobilize to do the grocery shopping I need to do. I haven’t been able to walk my dogs before the rain comes. I am no longer in ordinary time. The beautiful liminal space between the worlds has opened once again and enfolded me in love, which is the only response that makes sense anymore.

I am not less grateful now but more so. When I do go into the grocery store, the crowd does not bother me, and the excess of every conceivable item is nothing compared to my overflowing heart. I am sad beyond words, but I am not just sad. I am love holding sad.

Because it is often loss which teaches us about the worth of things, these loses today, and the foreboding of what is to come only fill me more. 

God works through mercy and restores through grace, and there is no mercy and grace greater than to be with those we love in our darkest times. To share in the love and loss that is too much for anyone to bear alone. And in so doing, the unbearable becomes bearable, because love, in the end, wins.

I slept with my window open last night so I could feel and hear the wind. The heavens howl too. This morning I rose at dawn to this wicked northwest wind and dark clouds swirling in the eastern sky. But then the sun rose aglow beneath them, just breaking above the horizon for a few precious moments before it slipped behind the storm.


” You know you have loved someone when you glimpse in them that which is too beautiful to die.”

Gabriel Marquez

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