These are strange days with time folding back on itself even though there’s no
going back. In the course of 3 years, starting very precisely on May 23rd, 2011 and
ending June 8th, 2014, much of what I knew, what I did, who I was, got lost. It was on
May 23rd of 2011 that I flew to Panama to accompany my mom and dad through my
mom’s last days. June 5th marks the 5th anniversary of her death. Exactly one year
later, on June 5th of 2012, we placed Maria in the residential program where she still
lives. June 8th of 2014 was my last Sunday as priest-in-charge at St. Ambrose.
I get very sad in these weeks—not curl up in a ball kind of sad, but sad enough to struggle to find much to say. It’s that thing of hosting grief, made a bit harder this year by the
hard time Maria is having again.
If it is true that there was enormous loss in that three year span, these days I look at what became possible precisely because of the loss. In those three years, night after night, after night, I walked until I was exhausted, and in the summer, soaked in perspiration, making my way through the South Florida humidity. It was on those walks that I hosted grief, learned how to befriend it in myself. Now, when I receive the grief again, I am able to do so as I work out in the garden of the farm, as I continue to tend to all manner of creatures and life, even if I have an enormous lump in my throat.
When we bought this little farm, there was a magnificent sycamore on the east side
of the house. I can’t even count the number of times I sat under that lovely tree and
simply allowed myself to look up at the beautiful leaves as the breeze played with them. About 6 weeks ago, and in a matter of two weeks, the sycamore took sick and died—just died on us. In a paradoxical way, I welcomed the sorrow I felt when we had to get it cut down. I welcomed the sadness because I am now so much more connected to, and a part of the land I walk on, the trees that give me shade, the beautiful flowers that give me joy
beyond words, our cats and dogs and chickens, and the ruby-throated hummingbird
that’s back for the summer, and especially, all the fireflies, thousands of them, that
light up our evenings as darkness falls. It took losing everything I thought was
essential to who I am to discover how vastly much more there was for me to do and
be and be a part.
That’s all the news that’s fit to print from this corner of the world. May this weekend be a time of sabbath, and for those who must still host enormous grief for the loss of those whom they loved and who served even unto death, may gentle breezes and kind sunshine offer some small consolation.