Grief shrivels the heart, closing it like a tightly budded rose. And as with a rose, there’s always the risk of getting pricked. But, somewhere inside of grief, I discovered a choice. I could continue to resist or I could allow Love to break open my tightly budded heart despite the risk.
Untended grief can turn sharp and painful, erupting unbidden – by any means necessary – to pierce the conscious and burst the bubble of deception that shrouds those who refuse to allow grief its say.
When no place is allowed for grief, there is no comfort. Only pain. Void, and loss.
Grief will have a voice – whether in a healthy manner such as lament or in the war cry of ‘vengeance is mine and I shall repay.’ While every destructive expression of anger comes with an invitation from the Divine to experience love in that area, the present kumbaya illusion of peace, peace (calls for unity) and “all is well” is unsustainable.
As a woman clothed in Black skin facing all kinds of prejudices and hostilities, I could tell you story after story after story upon which we could sit and grieve. My lived reality is one that does not allow me to be passive or in denial. So I live in a liminal space, betwixt and between, at a threshold of something imaginable but not yet. I live deeply connected to Love and my union with all of creation, still profoundly moved by the crimes against humanity and my body identification. And while I mourn and am deeply grieved when someone chooses violence, exclusion, apathy or hate as their expression of fear and doubt, my own journey with Love allows me to be patient enough to believe that Lovingkindness will one day reach every stony heart.
What I realize is that if I never grieve the injustices against my personhood, I will rob my soul of the necessary path it needs to experience transformational alchemy. And I’ll never be able to integrate what my heart knows to be true: “Liberation is the opportunity for every human, no matter their body, to have unobstructed access to their highest self, for every human to live in radical self-love.”*
Before liberation, we grieve. We acknowledge. We tell the truth. Passivity and denial won’t work here. We have to honor the pain. We cannot rationalize it away, teach it away, philosophize it away, or religion it away.
We have to turn and stare the hairy monster in the face. “Oh, hey. I see your jagged edges, like glass that cut deep. I see the ways in which I have embodied violence against yourself and others.” I was them… I am them.
There is freedom in accepting all of me – every mistake I’ve made, every willful participation with domination, power, and violence. Not as an excuse for my jagged edges, but as an invitation to return to myself. To offer an apology, to make amends. To own the places where I’ve caused harm or been harsh. This is the freedom I’ve found in grief’s discomfort. To stare the naked truth in the face, to see it, hear it, embrace it without collapsing into the ground under the weight of my ugly parts.
This is the beauty of the rose’s fragrance as it unfurls. People are like glorious works of stain glass, a mix of vibrant colors and mosaic complexities. I can’t help but wonder how many times the glassmaker cut himself before he learned to handle the cut pieces with delicacy.
Learning how to handle grief delicately takes patience.
*The Body Is Not An Apology, Sonya Renee Taylor, p. 135.