Life and. . .

Loss

of a loved one,

a family member,

is a stark

reality

of life.

There is

no way out.

Anticipating

a loved one’s death

offers no

preparation.

Expectation,

no matter

how long,

does not

offer

a roadmap.

Once the rituals

whatever they are

have ended,

each of us

are

on our own.

Friends may console,

prayers said,

but in each moment

reminders

present

the harshness

of raw

physical,

emotional,

spiritual

change.

When

tears wet

my eyes

or sobs

move my

body,

it is a relief.

Pent-up

emotions

erupt

on grief’s

own schedule.

There is no

measurement

of the tears, the sadness.

The shadows

linger.

“Are you over it yet?”

a friend was asked

six weeks after her husband died.

There should be

no expectation

or impatience

with someone’s

time of

mourning.

There may be

stages,

but each person

marks their own.

There may be

light

with the shadows.

Sometimes.

A smell,

a glimpse

of someone who

reminds of

the loved one.

The depth and length

of grief

may

reflect the

intensity

of love

between

the

one

who has died

and those

left to mourn.

Life

Death.

Kindness.

Please.

Playing Back

A friend

needs

the song

in your heart

and can sing

it back

to you

when

you need it.

In some ways,

friends

are

mirrors

to us,

and, at times,

we can be

mirrors to them.

Friends

can know

how

to sing

words of encouragement

and love-

music

to our hearts-

when

we need them.

I think

that one of the signs

of real friendship

is the

reciprocity

of

keeping in touch.

livinglinesreflections.com

Turning the Sound Down

When you feel

life is too intense,

imagine it as

a TV soap opera.

Turn the sound down

until it seems manageable

or mute the sound

and read the text.

It reads

differently

than it sounds.

What is

going on

in your life

may seem

less dramatic.

Sometimes

we can’t

eliminate

the drama

in our lives,

but we can

turn the volume down.

Do you have

ways

that help

you ?

Calm

We often

judge

others’ outsides

from our own inside.

or we judge

our own insides

by others’ outsides.

We look

at others

as calm,

in control,

on top of things.

For many people,

it takes a

lot of effort

to put

themselves together

and what you see

is the result

of that effort,

not the

challenge

of getting there.

I am startled

when someone

tells me

that I always

seem”so calm”

especially at moments

when I have

a lot of emotions

going on

inside.

As I grow older,

I am becoming

more willing

to reveal

some of those inner feelings,

that being vulnerable

is a painful experience.

Sometimes,

being open and honest

can be an opportunity

for closer

relationships.

livinglinesreflections.com

Our Best Selves

Pictures remind

Easter finery.

New bonnet,

Spring coat, perhaps

passed down

through

sisters and cousin.

New dress,

polished shoes

or new

patent leather!

Small flower corsage

from Daddy.

Some may still

dress this way

for Easter services,

I may admit to

a little envy.

We looked our best

or so it seemed.

The best outside dress-up

cannot cover up

the violence of

terror or the

insulting language

in the political campaign.

Steady reams of

news

proclaim

more crucifixion

than resurrection.

There are many

moments

of love and caring,

even random

acts of kindness.

What will it take

to dress up

ourselves,

our families and friends,

our neighborhoods

and our world

with sincere conversion

from the inside out.

Real love and kindness

generate

warmth and smiles.

How can we

dress

ourselves

with the

realization

that

we are all

in this world together?

Respect

for

each and every other,

dressed in finery

or clothes unfamiliar.

Garments given away

clothe

those without anything.

Respect

is the best

place

to begin.

We all

can dress ourselves best

caring for

each other.

Amen.

Illusion

Why do we have

the illusion

that life

should be easy?

Until we can

embrace

the hard times,

the losses,

we will be surprised

when illness,

pain,

loss

and

disappointment

come into our lives.

Sometimes,

all

at the same time.

Centering Prayer

and 

Inner Awakening

offers

a helpful way

to “be” with

difficult

things in life,

even a

painful thought or feeling.

The Welcoming Prayer

can bring

awareness,

giving

the experience

space

to clarify

and not resist.

It may sound

counter-intuitive

but opening

up

to what

is going on,

may

help.

Cynthia Bourgeault, author of Centering Prayer

The Cloud of Unknowing*

I

no longer

make a plan

for myself

but respond

to the people

and things

in my life

which are part

of a plan

or

pattern

I

cannot

see.

*The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism in the 14th century.