Shattered

Have you ever had a rock or a baseball come flying through a window? The thwack of the initial impact is overwhelmed by the chaotic chime of glass hitting floor. The only thing left in the wake is a halo of jagged shards jutting out at odd angles from the frame. Splinters of glass everywhere. It’s a mess. 

When it comes to cleaning up the mess, we tend toward one of two approaches. Some bust out the rest of the glass and sweep it all up in one fell swoop. Others slap a piece of old cardboard and masking tape over the mess until the repairman can get there to replace the pane. We tend take similar approaches to our own brokenness.

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Grief School: Lesson #4 Today, We Remember, Pt. 2

Yesterday was 9/11 – a day when as a nation we stopped and remembered the events of that date back in 2001. Our social media feeds were filled with pictures, videos, and somber graphics. We shared the names of those individuals who lost their lives in the attacks.

Dare I say – our national grief was on full display. Even eighteen years later, we still grieve that loss. We honored that grief by remembering those touched by the events (basically all of us) – especially the heroes and their families who suffered the most on that fateful day.

Yesterday as I prepared a memorial post for this site, I was reminded of a concern that so many grieving individuals face – but particularly those who’ve lost a child – and that is sharing memories of their children.

Bereaved parents recount experiences of sharing a memory on FaceBook or Instagram of their children only to receive negative feedback. They receive comments along the lines of “It’s been three years already. Isn’t it time to move on?”

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Grief School: Lesson #3

Welcome back to Grief School! School is back in session. How do we know summer is over and it’s time for a new school year? Our “news feeds” are blowing up with first-day-of-school pictures! If you live in one of those areas that extends the summer past Labor Day (ahhh, the good old days), don’t worry. It’s coming.

History was never my strong suit in school, but let’s start with a history lesson. About four years ago, Angie Cartwright, started petition through Change.org to have August 30th declared “National Grief Awareness Day.” Change they say is slow and the movement to bring an awareness of grief to the forefront of the societal conversation is certainly no exception. We may not yet have an “official” day of awareness, but how can we not be aware of grief on a daily basis? Grief is the continuous backbeat that pulses through our day-to-day existence.

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Mending Fences

Loss – in all the forms in which it raises its ugly head in our lives – often blows through like a late summer twister. If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of tornadoes on the evening news (or in your social media fee), you’ve seen how they hop and skip across the landscape indiscriminately dispensing mercy and destruction. 

On one block – a pile of splinters and twisted wire. On the next – nary a blade of grass out of place. 

Loss does the same thing. It skips across the landscape of our lives indiscriminately dispensing mercy and destruction. One week, we may be the ones giving thanks that our manicured lawns and carefully curated flower beds are intact. Even so – there will come a time when we each will face a pile of splinters and twisted wire.

Loss reduces our boundaries (our personal fences) to a pile of rubble. And that’s assuming we had good fences before loss came blowing through town.

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Simmering in Saturday

Raise your hand if you collect toys. Any kind of toys – garden toys, craft toys, electronic toys, car toys, sports toys, horse toys, or any one of the endless examples of the shiny things that capture our attention and are fun to collect. Me? One of my weaknesses is kitchen toys.

Two fairly recent additions to my kitchen – the electric pressure cooker and the sous vide cooker. Two appliances pretty much on opposite ends of the cooking spectrum – one designed to cook quickly and the other slowly. One pressures ingredients to maturity while the other caresses a recipe to fullness. (If you’ve never used a sous vide, it is essentially a heating element that sits in a water bath providing a gentle heat that cooks your ingredients to a perfect and precise temperature. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it – especially for steaks. I digress.)

In a weird way, this got me to thinking about how we handle suffering.

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Changes

Sometimes change is great – like when a vacation is just around the corner. Or when you finally get around to organizing the garage. Other times, change is just hard and unwelcomed. I’m the kind of person who prefers to see what is coming. I love surprises but it’s better if I know what it is first. I like to put on a front about how I roll with the punches, but really – I don’t like punches. And, I certainly don’t like it when the punches force me to make unwanted changes. Read more

High Water Mark

As I write this blog entry, the city of New Orleans is marking the thirteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. On August 29, 2005, Katrina came ashore just east of the city. For those of us in the area, we breathed a sigh of collective relief as peril appeared to skirt around us.

Then . . . the levees broke. Read more