Grief: I Grant You Permission to Be Fully Human

Grief.

There is not a wrong way nor a right way to fully grieve.

I do believe, however, that many of us were taught that it’s not okay to grieve.

Not truly.

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Years ago, I attended a group therapy workshop. The goal: to fully grieve a loss. Each person in attendance was dealing with loss. Some death. Others, health. Divorce. Job.

The loss of a dream.

Each of us will deal with loss throughout our lifetime.

Each of us will grieve in our own way.

Some public. Some private.

The workshop taught me the importance of fully grieving loss. For the first time, I was granted permission to feel loss deeply, profoundly.

To breath it in and let it go.

Grief has many stages. There are no rules one must follow in order to grieve. It is, however, important to feel each stage deeply.

Fully.

Entirely.

If we don’t allow ourselves to fully grieve loss, pieces of our heart and soul will become stuck in process. Perhaps anger will take root or bitterness will plant itself ever so slightly into our being.

Grief. 

We must feel it,

live it,

embrace it.

Breath it in and let it go.

Each stage, thoroughly acknowledged and worked through.

Anger. Denial. Isolation. Bargaining. Deep Sorrow and Depression. Acceptance.

There is no right or wrong order to the grieving process. Yet, each feeling that corresponds is entirely okay. Some will describe their process as a roller coaster. Others, a circle. Most will feel the stages several times through, perhaps backtracking through certain stages again and again.

I’m not sure we entirely heal from loss. I think loss leaves a forever scar. And at the most unexpected moment, the pain will rise again.

I’ve experienced grief.

Unexpectedly.

In the grocery store. In my car. While listening to a song that evokes a memory.

My initial response is to hide my grief behind sunglasses. Or to run to the nearest restroom until the tears stop flowing.

What would happen if we allowed each other to grieve fully?

No restrictions, nor rules.

What would happen if we stop making grief awkward while embracing each other’s process?

What if in the midst of grief, we hold each other’s hearts near?

What if we allow each other space to grieve uniquely and without judgement?

A smile. A touch. A whisper of, “I’m sorry, I’m here. If you need me.”

No words trying to make grief better, but rather, hearts that become a safe space.

For grief.

Can we do this for each other?

Can we allow each other to be fully human?

To feel.

I think this. Might be love. Amplified.

Grief.

Let’s allow it. Embrace it. Breath it in. Feel it thoroughly. Let it go.

And grant permission to each other to fully grieve as well.

I’m still working through my own loss. Losses.

Breathing it in. Letting it go.

Granting myself permission to thoroughly experience the entire process. Granting others permission and a safe space to do the same.

Grief: A process that reminds us, we are human.

We are all more alike than different.

In the midst, to the core, somehow… I see love.

 

 

 

Love Your Neighbor

Portland Tragedy Reminds Us: Who is Our Neighbor?

Over the weekend, 3 men were stabbed in Portland while stepping in to protect two teenage girls. Sadly, two of the men died and one is in critical condition but expected to recover. One of the girls was wearing a hijab. This all happened during a commute on a Portland light rail train.  The story is described in more detail here.

Love Your Neighbor

Who is our neighbor?

The Portland event hits close to home for me and my boys. The girls targeted are my middle son’s age. A very large percentage of students at my son’s school wear a hijab. In fact, one of the reasons we chose the school that he attends is so that he is immersed in culture. We want him to get to know people. We believe that it is important to meet people, hear their stories, try to understand hearts.

We believe that we are family.

We believe that every person is a child of God. We believe that humanity – all of humanity –  is created by God. Therefore, we are ALL brothers and sisters, regardless of the labels placed upon us by others or ourselves. My son’s school includes all religions and cultures. Not only do we embrace this, but we absolutely LOVE the diversity.

  What happened in Portland can just as easily happen in my hometown: San Diego. It can happen at my son’s school. It can happen in the surrounding areas.  It can happen with my son and his friends.  And I’m left wondering, would San Diegans step in as these men did?

Would someone step in for my son and his friends if this were to happen to them?

Would I step in, as these men did for someone in need of help? Would I step in, for anyone, for that matter- or simply do the easy thing and ignore? Pretend that I don’t see it and that if it’s not happening to me, it’s none of my business.

The Portland event reminds me of an ancient story I grew up reading,  a parable I was taught over and over again – In the story, many people passed by a dieing man of a different religion/culture, only one was willing to step in and show love.

The stories many of us grew up reading seem like a no brainer, until they come to life.

Would we pass “the others” by or will we stop seeing “others” and start seeing brothers. Sisters.

We are all more alike than we are different.

We are all created by the same God. We are all loved by the Father. And in this incredibly sad and unfortunate event, love wins. Love always wins. In death, love stands out the most. There is no us and them. There is only we. Love. Family.

Our very existence is to love. To be love. To show love.

Who is my neighbor?

And last, dare I ask:

Who will love the ones who hate? How do we do this, while keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe?

*It’s important to remember, this was not just an event, a circumstance, something that happened somewhere else. This entire tragedy is about lives. People’s lives, families, hearts have been deeply effected. Many are hurting and I don’t take that lightly. This is about them, us, all of us. We are family.

Politics Schmolitics: Where’s the Love?

Are we so intent on being right, that we are willing to hurt the hearts of others?

I don’t want to be right if being right takes the place of showing love, forgiveness, grace.

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Are we so determined to win at all costs, that we are willing to destroy our own peace of mind?

At what point to we put down the dagger and determine to win with love?

True Love.

The truth is: love wins.

Love always wins.

But I think that too often, we forget what love is.

Love is gentle, kind, keeps no records of wrong.

Love is not jealous or boastful.

Love seeks to honor everybody.

Love is not easily angered.

Love perseveres, gently.

I am still learning this love thing. It’s a process. But I’ll choose love over and over and over again. And I do believe our souls recognize beautiful love. Authentic love. True love. We see it, feel it, hear it, seek it.

What is love to you? Are you actively pursuing it? Are you allowing love to pursue you?

Look up. Look around you. Look at the child beside you. The butterflies that fly by you. The birds that sing to you and the ocean that roars to a harmonious beat. Do you feels love’s embrace? Smile with me, love’s got you.

Love wins. Love always wins.

Offense: Be Gone! This is Freedom Season

Today I allowed myself to be hurt and offended.

I knew immediately what God was asking me to do.

“Invite me into the broken place. The hurt. The fear. Invite me into the place you need healing. Daughter. You are mine. I love you. Ask. And it is done.”

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Often, the place of offense is the point where we need deep healing.

Offense causes us to want to hit back. To want to hurt others where we’ve been hurt. But there can be no offense where there is healing. God is inviting us into a place of stillness with him. The Bible says ‘be still and know’… The original hebrew root for be still is also Let Go.

God is good. All the time.

To all of us. ALL. And he works in each of us. EACH.

He is calling us out of offense and into healing.

The opposite of offense includes words such as joy, pleasing, happiness, love, cheering, pleasure… all life affirming and life giving words for ourselves and others.

This is why it’s time to be free and to walk in freedom! When we are free, others will be free. Can you relate?  

This is freedom season

For ALL of us. We are family. Children of God. We are learning how to be brothers and sisters:

Forgiven & healed!

We are sons & daughters of the same Father. We are called to live powerfully with love and in humility. We are called to allow others the same.

What we are freely given, we freely give!

ALL ♡ Honor God ♡ Honor others ♡ Privately & publicly ♡ Offense has no place in our lives. We are free! 

The time is now. This is Freedom Season!