Preparing for the Holidays with Love

Glimmers November 24, 2020

Dear Friends,

Our holiday-season journey has begun. Though this year is unlike any other (please forgive this over-used phrase of our incomprehensible reality), we carry the expectations and traditions of all the years before. Holidays are all about tradition… ritual… returning to a place of cozy remembering.

It is that very reason that the holidays are often a most challenging time for those who grieve. The call to celebrate is a stark reminder of who is gone, what was lost, how everything is so different. This year, many of us hold very personal losses and fears and, at the same time, are overwhelmed by the unending losses that face our country and world. Our collective grief is numbing, exhausting, or filled with deep sadness. How do we enter this time of seasonal joy when joy might seem like a foreign concept?

As Bereavement Chaplain at the Hospital of St Raphael in New Haven, CT, I helped facilitate a yearly holiday program that honored loss in the midst of the seasons of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year. Folks found comfort in the acknowledgement of their loss and experienced compassion in supporting one another’s pain. This is how we humans heal from loss: acknowledgement, expression and compassion. Here are some ideas to support you on your journey these days, whether you’re grieving a death of a loved one or the great sadness of our times. Let us come together as community, with gratitude for the safety we offer each other and with hope for the days of healing ahead. Let the tender places that we touch, lead us toward the reality of Love that has never left our side.

Acknowledgement: Too often, losses are solitary, even disenfranchised, as folks move forward in their busy lives. Our current situation adds to that pattern and prohibits traditional services and rites. To take care of ourselves, its important to find ways to name and honor our loss. Open to Hope offers online support for all sorts of loss. Thanksgiving could be such a time by lighting a candle, stating what is in our heart and sharing a moment of silence. Even done alone, this acknowledgement moves our silent prayer further on its way into God’s care.

Expression: Journals, collage, house-cleaning or decorating – with intention, any activity can become an expression of our feelings. When we give ourselves permission to voice what’s inside, we enable healing’s tender hand. Poet and teacher Marj Hahne (www.marjhahne.com) is offering a 7 day series, “A Hole in the World: Writing the Elegy,” in December that supports a process of expression, click here if you want to check it out.

Compassion: Our capacity to care for another, to light a candle for their pain, for example, is an essential part of our humanity. Our choice to “suffer with” becomes a part of the healing that we all need… actions, prayer, donations, or small gestures make a difference. At the same time, our efforts of self-compassion are vital to support our grieving or overwhelmed hearts, particularly during the holiday season. I close with Sr Doris Klein’s words, as I offer my deepest gratitude for your place in my  journey.

“We are the only ones who, with God, can truly hear our heart. Yes, we need outside witnesses and supportive others to companion us, but, ultimately, we must sit with ourselves on this dark shore and acknowledge the truths around us. We must be the voice in the night that says, “It’s going to be okay. I will stay here with you. I will not abandon you. I will not go away.”

With a grateful heart, Lisa

 

 

 

Going Forward with Love

Glimmers

Dear Friends,          You’ve been on my mind. Here we are in the last week of October, and the reality of living in America is heating up. How are you doing? I wanted to be in touch before the election, before…

October 25, 2020

The State of Your Heart

Glimmers

Dear Friends,    Officially speaking, my last Glimmer was in September. (If Not Now, Tell me When) Emotionally speaking, what happened? what is it about time? It seems so long ago since we last connected. I hope you are well and safe. I hope…

October 11, 2020

If Not Now, Tell me When

Glimmers

  Dear Friends, You have been on my mind throughout these past weeks.  I hope you’ve found ways to take care of yourself in these uncertain times –  resources to sustain your heart and moments of beauty to remind you of the gift of…

September 1, 2020

Sent to you with Love

Return to the Lake

  Dear Friends – This amazing prayer comes through the ministry of Mercy by the Sea in Madison, CT. It is sent to you, with love, on this day. Through their newsletter, online and in-person programs and retreats, MBTS offers consistent and beautiful reminders of…

August 1, 2020

It’s Not “Just a Number”

Glimmers

  Dear Friends, I never understood what people were referring to when they offer this platitude on the subject of age. “It’s just a number,” they would say and I would wonder, “Yeah, but it’s still the number of years I’ve been alive, right? …

July 30, 2020

Dear God, Please Bless America

Glimmers

Dear Friends,                                                                                     …

July 3, 2020

“The Mountain is Out”

Glimmers

  Dear Friends, My heart aches. Oh, it’s been a glorious June in New England, the temperature has warmed up, roses are lush – birds are happy, and so am I. At the same time, my heart aches as I experience the serious divide…

June 26, 2020

The Web of Loss, The Web of Hope

Glimmers

Dear Friends, My work in grief ministry has given me the opportunity to observe very personal, and at the same time, “universal” responses to loss. And into that mix, I bring my own unique experiences of loss. One thing that is painfully clear, losses…

May 30, 2020

Living Inside of Change

Glimmers

    “So on this meaningful morn, we mourn and we mend.                                                        Like light, we can’t be…

May 19, 2020