I spent some time in the Land of Loss, recently. I joined 24 other souls in a sacred circle, we were present to the sadness, confusion, and emptiness that loss brings. I witnessed their courage as they told the losses that changed their lives. Together, we honored grief’s healing presence and allowed compassion to join the circle. I, once again, marveled at the human capacity to love again, even with loss in the room.
Friends, I am mindful that I’m sharing this with you on Thanksgiving Day 2022. Among you, and in the larger community, there are many who have difficulty feeling thankful today. Some carry Edna St Vincent Millay’s experience, “The absence of their presence is everywhere.” Others are isolated or rejected from family during a time when everyone else is at a warm family table. Some see expectations are not being met, so create their own holiday vibe – an alternative to the narrative on TV. And there are others…without a home, shamed, facing serious illness, incarcerated, hungry, addicted…humans all, yet do not fit into the Norman Rockwell scene that we all imagine.
My message to you is two-fold. First, those of us who carry a loss, of any kind, that is not recognized by others are “disenfranchised.” Our loss, and the subsequent grief, does not have the social support we seek – no cards or casseroles come our way and the loss has no expression. Secondly, our opportunity as the creative, loving adults that we are, is to enfranchise our loss, enfranchise our grief. If a loved one is missing – light a candle in his or her name or use a special bowl for your meal. Bring them into the room. If others are distancing themselves from your love, create new opportunities to express it – write to understand your feelings, commit to those in need for a day/evening, write a “thank you list” and identify the blessings, no matter how small, that are in your life.
Choose Love. As one who’s experienced being disenfranchised, you have learned the painful effects of dismissal, for whatever reason, from another. Choose Love. Add your energy to the plus side of human exchange. Choose Love. Even if its love for the blue sky, popcorn or heat that works. Choose Love. Let your heart participate in and be nourished by this remarkable human capacity. Both given and received, let Love’s flow remind you of your intrinsic worth and your ability to even be thankful.
I write this with a grateful heart. I am thankful for you, dear reader, on this Thanksgiving Day.