The following is the first of seven meditations on grief and loss. I have purposefully left out any reference to what I experienced that brought on this grieving period—simply because it is grief that is the focus.
This is not a dissertation on grief or a psychological examination of it. It is the lived experience; the image of the soul; the weeping of the spirit. In it, I hope you will find a voice for your own suffering, and hope in our faithful God.
To read the other six meditations in this series, please download the free ebook Kaleidoscope from Sink Your Roots.
Healing takes place slowly. Like the measured tread of weary feet, the soul struggles to find the equilibrium of normalcy again. Tries to recall what it is to think without pain, to remember without the stab of memory. Faith seems too much a distant dream, and the thought of hope brings only the swirling chill of November air, bleak and grey in the twilight.
And so I walk. Step by step, and step by step. I walk along fields of corn, whose dry husks and stalks rustle and clack softly in the wind. I walk beside trees and see the autumn reds and oranges grow luminescent in the golden hues of the setting sun. I walk on the edge of streams and listen to the chuckle of the water as it skips over stones, and bubbles in festive solitude.
I walk. It is a simple act that reaffirms life. My mind trudges in an endless rut of pain, remembering and hurting, remembering and hurting. Questioning in anguished silence. Ceaselessly re-living the moment of separation: joy lost; dreams destroyed.
But I walk. My eyes, though drawn, can still see color. My soul is lost in the grey land, where stark images of black and fearful white shimmer momentarily before being swallowed up in the never-ending grey. But my eyes can still see the October blue of the sky; can still behold the rich russet of the leaves; can still pause to commit to memory the laughing golds of black-eyed susans seen peeking out between a thousand beige-toned and fluffy-headed grasses.
It is there, imperceptibly, that color begins to return within.
I walk. There is a voice I will never hear again; words held sacred whose syllables will nevermore fall on my ears. Perhaps more than all else, it is that silence which is unbearable. It is with words that we make ourselves known; with words that we understand that incomprehensible reality which is another human soul; with words that we move heaven and earth by swearing an unbreakable commitment before the throne of Jehovah-God.
Is it a wonder, then, that loneliness is spoken of as silence?
But I walk; and crickets chirrup a continuous foundation for my soul to build upon. Deep among the cornstalks, squirrels rustle as they busily forage the hardened kernels. And listening still, high above, killdeer cry with the voice of empty meadows, answered once and rarely by the shrill creel of the wheeling peregrines.
It is the only voice I can hear; the only whisper that can truly comfort.
And so I walk. Each step is a happening; a drop of reality. The curve of the world is solid against the soles of my feet, and its roughness and smoothness anchors the soul of my self. Leaving the path, the dry, cropped grasses crunch under my steps. A pause; a kneel on cold-hardened ground; fingers extend to touch the silken whisper of milkweed wishes, or to pet the barred back of a reluctant woolly bear.
It fills my body. It comforts my hands that will not be held again. It embraces my soul that will not be touched again.
I walk. Step by step, and step by step. And the smell of autumn—the rich humus of leaves returning to the soil with the promise to live again after winter’s frost—fills each deep inhale with the promise that all life shall be re-born. Not without trials, but with the surety of every step.
© 2008 Paula Marolewski, www.SinkYourRoots.com
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