Last Sunday, I heard a 6 minute description of the current living conditions of detained migrant children along the US-Mexico border. I cannot get the words and images out of my mind. Their plight has become a part of my prayer. Their experiences of loss have kindled my own.
We all face the pain of death in our lives, we resist as death steals our loved ones away. But loss does not stop there, it has many forms. Francis Weller’s The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief masterfully names the layers of loss that we carry as human beings, from “everything we love” to the “sorrows of the world.” The Second Gate, as he describes it, is “The Places That Have Not Known Love,” and it is here that my heart is caught when I remember those children.
I have places inside that did not know love. My mother’s car accident, when I was 18 months, created a patched-together upbringing with missing pieces. While they did the best they could, my parents moved into survival mode and everything changed for that little one. We all have such places, of course… little hidden secrets, fears of inadequacy, conscious beliefs based on unconscious pain. Grief’s great gift of healing leads us into these spaces to release the pain and make room for love. This is part of our human journey, part of our story, or as Wes Anzinna put it in a NYT Sunday Magazine article,
“A lot of things had to happen for me to be me.”
I am finding my way. There are many folks who take steps to open their heart to the pain inside, allowing grief’s wisdom to lead them toward healing. Leonard Cohen sings, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” and Scripture reminds us, “Let light shine out of darkness.” Life includes the process of loss, healing and hope.
I leave you with an image, friends, the image of a woman aching after a loved one’s death, courageously saying yes to love’s presence in her heart. Her smile fills the room with her light. At the same time, I hold the image of the children, wrapped in silver plastic. I ache for their places that do not know love. Their story is indeed one of the “sorrows of the world” and I grieve for all of us.
Grateful for your loving hearts,