Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

let us grieve

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”

                     C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed


“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”

                     Leo Tolstoy


I have outlasted all desire,

My dreams and I have grown apart;

My grief alone is left entire,

The gleamings of an empty heart.

                     Alexander Pushkin



we look at the numbers

and they are, for a moment just numbers


352,904 people dead, globally, of Covid-19

100,625 people dead, in America, of Covid-19


and there is a part of us that wishes, so profoundly

that they could remain just numbers

sitting there on our computer screens

void, without substance


but these numbers have faces

and they look at us from behind the numbers


hundreds of thousands of faces

black and brown and white

wrinkled and smooth

male and female,

Old and young

Rich and poor

Famous and unknown


These were people who dreamed and hoped

Who loved and hated

These were people who gathered around tables with family

Who made the meals, and served them

These were people who waited tables

worked in Emergency rooms

taught children


People who made music

Wrote poetry

And painted pictures


These were people who held someone close

in the darkness of night

or played in the sun with grandchildren


these were people who had dogs and cats


these were people

and they are gone


and they have left behind them people who grieve

lovers, children, parents, friends

fellow workers



people who loved them, and now will no longer see their face

hear their voice

feel their hugs


so this is a time for grieving

this is a time to mourn


we cannot simply ignore this carnage

these lives, lost

this hurt


only one who cannot love

who has no empathy can fail to grieve


and yet, we seem to have lost our sense of corporate grief

that grief that overwhelmed us, and then turned to anger on 9/11

(and thus sadly twisted became damaging)


Here we sit, with over 100,000 faces peering at us from beyond the veil

With 100,000s of thousands more grieving that specific person they have lost


And we complain about wearing masks

And argue about “personal freedom”

And crowd into pools, and flock to beaches

And party

And golf


And act as if nothing had happened

As if those people had never existed, and never died


When did we lose our sense of community?

Our understanding that each person is an infinitely precious soul?

And that we are all connected?


When did we get so encapsulated that if the pain is not our pain

Personally, immediately,

It is not pain, and can be ignored?


Set aside?


Perhaps we need to set aside some time for mourning

For lamentation

Perhaps each day, we ought to stop for a moment

And look at those numbers, and see those faces,

And see the faces behind the faces

The lives and relationships behind those faces


There is so much to grieve about

That “death by cop”

That latest act of aggression, racism, misogyny

The latest proof that our planet is dying

The most recent evidence of corporate greed


Perhaps we should stop and feel the loss

Of life

Of “normalcy” (whatever that is)

Of jobs, and businesses, and dream

Of corporate worship


A grieve

Grief is hard

It is the price we pay for love

Being willing to grieve is what opens the doors of our hearts so we can

Walk through each day, connected to God

And connected to others


If we can’t grieve, we can’t love

If we can’t love, we can’t have community


Without grief we become entombed and isolated


Without grief we lose our humanity


So let us grieve

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