By Anne Harbison
“At every point in the human journey, we find that we have to let go in order to move forward; and letting go means dying a little. In the process we are being created anew, awakened afresh to the source of our being.”
— Kathleen Fischer
That ending may be the death of a family member, friend, or pet. It could mean the ending of a friendship, romantic relationship, or job.
We may grieve the loss of something tangible, like a piece of jewelry or a child’s artwork, or from the loss of something abstract, like youth or a certain way of life.
We can even grieve a future that is no longer possible... a lost opportunity or the next chapter of life that will no longer be what we had imagined.
Grief comes in so many shapes and forms, each one with their own layers of loss. The impact of one significant loss almost always ripples into multiple facets of our lives. The change...
I’ve learned a lot about grief in the past five years. Certainly through my direct experience of mourning of our son’s death, but also through being in community with others grappling with profound loss. Like many searching for solid ground after a crisis, I reached out to counselors, wisdom literature, experts in death and dying, and my community of faith. Although these external resources were vast and valuable, it is the simple insights that guided the day-to-day rebuilding of my life that I want to share with you.
The insights offer don't only apply to tragedy - they relate to navigating loss of any kind, in any type of life crisis. The best definition of grief I’ve heard is from my friend and mentor, John Ross. He explains that we grieve whenever a relationship ends and we weren’t ready to say goodbye. That may mean losing a family member, friend or pet; it could mean the ending of a friendship, romantic relationship or job. Grief can occur...
Post-ponements, rain checks, cancelations. Our lives are full of them. A birthday celebration, or actual birth, you were not able to attend. A graduation ceremony or wedding postponed. A family vacation or work event cancelled. There is not a human on the planet whose daily routines, and major life events, have not been turned upside down.
The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos was associated with actual “clock” time - measurable, consistent segments of time passing. Chronos is the time of day planners, project management deadlines, birthdays and anniversaries recorded on our calendars. Chronos time is the number of days you’ve been home-bound. The number of days your child has been home from school. The number of days that you haven’t been to the hair stylist, gym or coffee shop.
Kairos, on the other head, referred to the meaning of any moment in time. Kairos (the Greek god of Opportunity) reflected the...
I’ve gotten pretty lax with television time in our house during this stay-at-home period. My kids are watching a LOT of Disney (giving me some time for Netflix binges). Frozen’s Let It Go has been on a replay loop in my head for years. Now “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen II is playing right along beside it. If you have to have an ear worm, these empowerment ballads are pretty great.
Yesterday I encouraged you to purposely toggle between the big picture and the immediate need (zoom out, zoom in). Taking the next step without a broader frame of reference (and meaning) can lead you unconsciously down a path you never meant to travel. You may be moving forward, but is it the right direction at the right time for the right purpose? Is the decision, action, conversation you’re having today actually the next right thing?
It’s especially hard to discern the next right thing when that “ zoom-out" horizon...
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