September 12, 2019
Grief is Like…
Grief. What a word. It’s a loaded word. So the thoughts that came to me tonight are about what grief is.
Grief is a big void. Grief is a massive black hole that no one can see into or out of. When you lose your “someone” who, besides God, is your all, your soul-mate, the one who you do life with – you lose your rhythm.
Think about canoeing. Canoeing is done best with two people. If you’ve never canoed with just one person and are used to canoeing with two people you will understand what I am talking about. When you canoe together properly, which is what marriage is, you dip your oar into the water in synchronicity. The one in the back is generally the heavier person but not only that, the one in the back is the one who steers. The one who steers doesn’t make all the decisions on where to go in the canoe because there are two in the canoe, but only one canoe. It is a beautiful togetherness that causes the canoe to go in the direction the two are deciding for it to go. There is a connection to each other, to the canoe and to nature. It is delightful. Even in choppy water you are connected and in order to get through you have to work harder individually AND corporately. You get through the storms by working hard and again, in synchronicity, together. It is a constant stroking together. When you get out of sync with each other you quickly get back into sync again on purpose because otherwise it just doesn’t work as well.
Now imagine stroking together in the canoe. You are moving forward together when suddenly you are left alone in the canoe. You are left alone in the front of the canoe so you can’t even steer facing forward. It just doesn’t work. You will start to go in circles. You are lost. You are not deciding together which direction to go. The storm hits hard and you are unable to make it to shore alone. Gradually you align yourself to the harsh reality that you are alone. Though you have no idea how or why that happened you begin to come out of the shock of losing your person who is helping you paddle and steer the boat. You turn around in your canoe so that you are now facing the back of the canoe. It is the only way you can steer the canoe with only one person. It is still stormy but you have to paddle…by yourself. Gradually you learn how to steer and paddle by yourself. It takes many more muscles and much more work. You are now doing the living, the work of two people in order to move forward and in the right direction with your canoe. It’s possible to paddle and steer a canoe with one person. It’s just more work and it’s lonely.
That is grief. That is the work of grief. That is life long. If you get a new partner you have to learn to work in sync again… I’m sure that is a different story that I haven’t lived. I just know that I am now in my canoe alone. I am learning to paddle alone and it isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. The void is real. The void is deep. I also personally know Who shines the Light in that darkness. Just enough for each step for me to slowly move forward in my canoe. And I am thankful for my canoe and the LIGHT that goes with me giving me strength every day to keep paddling. Alone, but not alone, into this dark night I must paddle. The path lit with each step but no further ahead than a step (or paddle stroke). It is enough. It is learning to trust as I move forward each small step/stroke at a time.
How’s your canoe journey?