My husband almost drown this past fall. As a matter of fact a person in the water with him did lose his life. It was in his words seeming like the end. He had given up, ready to sink into the deep water and let go, to surrender his grasping for life and breath, though he really didn’t want to. The last question in his mind, is this how it ends? It wasn’t. A wave, instead of crashing on his head as all of the others had done, nudged him closer to shore allowing him to get a foothold in the sand. Another wave, close enough to struggle to the beach, breathless, exhausted, confused. This just leaves such unanswerable questions that our minds have to ask. Questions that we all ask in these circumstances. Why did I survive, why didn’t my friend? What could have been done differently to prevent this tragedy? Why do bad things happen to such great people? What causes a riptide or a tornado? Why does one home survive a raging fire when the neighbors home burns to the ground. Why to poverty, war or why some have so much while others so little, why to disease or trauma that take away our loved ones. So many questions.
I don’t know the specific answers to any of these questions. Anyone who says they do leads me to another question, how do they know? What I do know is the fragility of life. What I have experienced is that the deepest darkness may still hold a glimmer of hope. That a life lived has gifts that extend beyond their passing. That we are, each of us capable of surviving or causing horrors. That this life, our lives have the fullness to be explored to fathoms of experience, meaning and wonder. While we exist in these complicated bodies they become a road-map of sorts to our souls. The ache in my neck cries out the dissatisfaction with my job, or friends. The gnawing in my stomach growls the anger I still hold at a betrayal. The heaviness in my chest is the weight of undeserved shame inflicted by abuse The tightness in my throat are the unspoken words of fear at what might have happened if indeed my love slipped beneath the surface and away from me. And sometimes, more simply and surface that ache of loss and grief when someone I love has succumbed to death.
What I believe is that everything has great meaning. that nothing in this life is wasted, the good and the bad. Life is a series of experiences we are meant to rise to and learn from. Sometimes the path seems like walking uphill, on glass, barefoot and other times gleefully sledding downhill. I believe each breath is sacred, each death, physical or otherwise can be as Holy and amazing as birth. I believe that there is a loving Creator who allows us freedom to choose and who responds when we call out for help. That this one and same creator provides companions for the journey. We are meant to be in relationship with one another and with God. Who can or even wants to travel this life road alone?
When your heart aches, find someone to sit with you in the pain, to listen to your heart without giving you answers. Find someone to hold your hand when it trembles in fear, to embrace you when you are lonely. Be that person for another when you can for often there is much more richness to be experienced when you hold another’s space. All of our questions may not be answered but we will be able to feel the hope that springs up from our discoveries and then grow and love with compassion for ourselves and others.
Gestalt Pastoral Care is one such compassionate listening and exploring practice. If you are not aware of who is on the road with you this may be a beginning to explore. Check out their website for more information and feel free to contact me.
Blessings of Wholeness