Posts Tagged With: silence

Grief and Cultural Cliches

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There is an ongoing battle occurring as I sit down to write this blog.  It is over the death of a soldier and the response of the current President.  

 

In our present, ever-changing, lightning speed culture we have pushed and squeezed death into a tidy box or urn, as far away from us as possible.  We no longer know how to comfort those who mourn.  As a people who have lifted the value of physical comfort high on our list of our God-given rights, death makes us very uncomfortable. We do not know what to do with it.  Death takes too much of our valuable time.  We no longer go to those who have lost a loved one and sit with them in silence or tears.  We send cards or perhaps flowers.  We rarely go to funerals or memorial services.  When we do, the focus is often on celebrating the lives of the ones who have left us and leaving out the grief.

 

When confronted with grief we often don’t know what to say or do. If we speak we use clichés and platitudes. Instead of entering into the grief with our friend, neighbor or coworker we distance ourselves from the grief with phrases such as, “She died doing what she loved.” or “He knew what he signed up for when he joined the army”.  These unthinking, unfeeling phrases roll off the tongue and put the blame on the person who just died, for their choice.  I don’t need to be uncomfortable, it wasn’t my fault.  These kinds of phrases do not help the grieving person.

 

Living in Central Asia with people who value the observation grief has helped me understand it. They do not leave relatives, neighbors, or friends alone with their grief, they enter into it together.

 

What helps a grieving person is to enter the grief with them and feel the pain they are going through.  Silence is better than saying something that distances us from them.  When someone acknowledges my pain with words like  “I’m so sorry you lost your son”, they enter into my grief with me. When someone let’s me cry or even wail it makes my grief just a little bit more bearable.  Often those grieving need to process with their words what they are feeling or talk about their loved one.  If my goal is to listen and help bear their burden I can truly help instead of shoving their grief away.  

 

Maybe one thing this president is doing is highlighting the unhealthy, even dangerous places in our society. We need to pay attention! Let’s take another look at our responses to death and grief, sexual abuse and harassment, racial injustices, greed, idolatry and poverty, to name a few.

 

 

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Categories: grief and death, growth, Life, pain, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Olympics

It happened again today

As I turned the corner

That pulling up from the deep

Kind of feeling

As the view opened

And there were the Olympics

In their cold, lofty solitude

 

Calling me to breathe deeper

To listen to the silence

To acknowledge the ancient wisdom

Flowing within and without

The present

Where heaven meets earth

Is all I have

I need to recognize it

And make my home there

 

© 2012 Julie Clark

 

Categories: beauty, borderlands, Life, mountains, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selected Poems for November

Snow Day

I listen to the soft crush of snow under my boots.

The snow muffled quiet brings a much-needed peace to the frantic city pace.

Enforced rest by steep, frozen roads is a hidden reprieve to many.

Why does it take an act of nature to teach us to be still?

Why do we shun silence and rest?

Are we afraid if we stop, our world will fall apart?

Are we afraid if we stop, our long ignored feelings and thoughts will rise in rebellion once we have slackened control of them?

It is like long ago we stepped onto a merry-go-round in the park.

At first it slowly turned, but with each revolution it gained speed until now it is moving so fast we can’t get off.

What is this hidden hand, pushing us at this frantic, out of control, speed?

The snow day reminds us:

We can get off the merry-go-round,

And our world won’t fall apart.

Rest will help our minds and bodies work better.

Letting go of control is good for us.   We really can’t control everything anyways.

Maybe our suppressed emotions have something to say to us, need our attention.

Maybe we won’t die if we listen to them and deal with them.

There is a good chance we will find healing.

© 2010 Julie Clark

The Great Exchange

 

You want this?

In your light I see

what I thought was good

To be full of holes

Like a worn out cloth

Hanging from the line.

You want this?

And what is this you offer in exchange?

A radiant purity that I cannot achieve.

A gift you say?

But I cannot release my filthy rags

Unless I move from my smug self-centeredness

To the center of that red-hot core

Called love.

How is this possible?

I will die at that core.

Yes, and live again,

Twice born.

Clothed in that radiant purity

You attained for me.

© 2007 Julie Clark

Fear

Fear has stocked me from childhood.

Like a restless tiger, it waits to pounce on its tired prey.

I’m done with it.

Realizing any fear leads back to the fear of death.

What’s so bad about dying?

It’s the only way out of here at present.

Out of here and into there.

Not that I want to rush things.

But in my time I to will follow my ancestors and every other man, woman and child before me.

I am facing that tiger and saying, my life is in stronger hands than yours.

I believe

I am beloved

And that Love that loves me is stronger than death.

© 2010 Julie Clark

Categories: Life, Love, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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