only love remains

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Wait for evening.

Then you’ll be alone.

Wait for the playground to empty.

Then call out those companions from childhood:

The one who closed his eyes

and pretended to be invisible.

The one to whom you told every secret.

The one who made a world of any hiding place.

And don’t forget the one who listened in silence

while you wondered out loud:

Is the universe an empty mirror? A flowering tree?

Is the universe the sleep of a woman?

Wait for the sky’s last blue

(the color of your homesickness).

Then you’ll know the answer.

Wait for the air’s first gold (that color of Amen).

Then you’ll spy the wind’s barefoot steps.

Then you’ll recall that story beginning

with a child who strays in the woods.

The search for him goes on in the growing

shadow of the clock.

And the face behind the clock’s face

is not his father’s face.

And the hands behind the clock’s hands

are not his mother’s hands.

All of Time began when you first answered

to the  names your mother and father gave you.

Soon, those names will travel with the leaves.

Then, you can trade places with the wind.

Then you’ll remember your life

as a book of candles,

each page read by the light of its own burning.

…..Li-Young Lee

in honor of my minister who took her own life, I and those who cared for her hold fierce compassion for this woman of soul who graced so many with her big heart…..may the many unanswered questions and groundless despair find their way into the seeds of rebirth…the ancient way of becoming….

Entering into the deep darkness is like going into a cave that has been dark for a million years. Yet the light from a single match illuminates the cave and dispels the ancient darkness. This tearing open of the heart leaves us exposed to that which has caused us and our loved ones the pain of imagined separateness so often before. This experience of discovery that grief leads us to is, for some, like going below ground level to look at the roots of a tree whose branches and twigs, leaves and flowers were all you thought was meaningful. It is the tree of life, of your life. The foliage is like the personality, the outward manifestation of being, a by-product of being born you have always imagined to be you. You notice how the leaves appear, the flowers unfolding, and are proud or frightened, depending on how much their shape fits your model of how it should look to the world around. You have never seen the roots from which all this growth originates. You have carefully pruned and trimmed the tree to eliminate the painful, then magnify the pleasant. Life has become like an ornamental shrub. The living truth buried beneath layer upon layer of longing for things to be otherwise. But in grief there is no hiding. There is no choice or control and you are forced beneath ground level to the very roots out of which your life experience has arisen. You enter the dark holdings and the clamorings of the heart and find yourself torn open to the truth. You enter below what is usually accessible to awareness and see the immensity of this process of growth and being. You see what has conditioned the arising of so many traits and preferences, so many ways of acting in the world. Ways now recognized as inappropriate fro the communication of love and the opening of wisdom……..Stephen Levine

the limitless heart

By generating deeper levels of compassion, extending forgiveness toward ourselves and others, and engaging in positive actions and spiritual practice after a loved one dies, we will find that our bereavement can set us firmly on a spiritual path and enable us to connect more confidently and deeply with the innermost essence of our being- that fundamental goodness which illuminates and pervades our entire life. We don’t know how or when grace will arrive. Keep nurturing any memory of love you have, pray for courage and wisdom to grow within you, and open yourself fully, asking for blessings and love to fill your heart……Christine Longaker

8 thoughts on “only love remains

  1. I believe we all know shadows, and even the brightest sun is not protected from moments when the future can’t be imagined. She blessed your life. There, she remains. ❤

  2. Love remains but grief overwhelms. I can not yet take solace in poetic thoughts about love and grief. I keep wondering if I, as her friend, could have done something to help lessen her despair.

    • Nancy…..I continue to reel with the ungrounded questions and the painful tears of our minister and our congregation…..may you be held with care and slow healing…..blessed be…..

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