Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Loss

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I would suppose when all is said and done,
when priorities are set after much thought,
and yes prayer,
in the end,
the answer arrived at,
sooner for some,
later for others;

is…….

it is love that the heart seeks,
more than mere instinct,
for it is true that our loves can be needy,
we are after all incomplete without others,
our husbands and wives,
our children,
and yes beloved friends.

For some even pets,
for the heart after all is made for love.

Yet our love goes beyond that as well,
we can love deeply,
totally those who are part of our lives,
they fulfill us,
make our lives filled with color,
laughter,
emotions deep and beautiful,
as if at times we can even experience God
in the beloveds smile.

The death of one beloved can never be anticipated,
for when it happens
a deep void opens,
cold when there was once warmth,
now sorrow taking the place of laughter,
where there was once a presence
only deep silence remains;
the world stops for a time,
when a heart broken begins to mourn,
recalling memories now precious,
can yes,
torture,
yet also lead to healing
bringing forth not only tears
but also smiles.

It is not all light and goodness of course,
relationships,
our love,
for we try one another,
can say cruel things
for love makes us vulnerable,
there is no armor for a heart open to another,
so yes there is also pain,
and at times separation and walls.

For armor after seeming betrayal will be fitted,
snug,
giving cold comfort.

Yet below the pain and anger,
the not speaking,
perhaps even felt hatred;
love rest,
and when the one separated from dies,
only love remains,
and true sorrow and regret come to birth,
complicating the process,
for self ramifications can be the worst suffering of all,
the ‘what if-s and the if only-s’,
can make the mourning harder to bear.

So yes mourning leads to deep inner turmoil,
anger,
rage,
confusion,
also deep longings,
the painful memories of times past;

Also what was beautiful;
the smiles remembered,
odd habits lovingly relived and pondered,
ways of speaking and humorous moments,
can even bring forth laughter,
yes memories bring forth both suffering and comfort,
it is a roller coaster ride
and we each do it in own unique way,
some take longer than others,
there is no time limit.

For some rage at the loss of the beloved,
even rage and anger that is directed towards them,
for abandonment another wound appearing
and needs to be expressed,
so the deeper enduring love can emerge,
the armor now archaic
needs to be put aside.

All emotions we experience are simply that,
they are needed,
good,
have to be expressed in some fashion
for mourning to do its needed work,
to express ourselves
in whatever way needed,
for that is simply how we are built.

For a time we are awake,
we come face to face with temporality,
seeing what was once buried,
that grief and loss,
death,
are an integral part of life,
and perhaps for a time
we experience the true preciousness
of those loved ones we still have,
seeing them truly,
not taking them for granted,
perhaps even fearful of further abandonment;
all of this is important,
and most of all it keeps our hearts open.

Yes the greatest task of all,
for our hearts are made when all is said and done,
for love after all.

Where is God in all this?

Why being infinite love
God is with you
in your suffering,
for no matter how angry you may be,
even if you rage at God,

(Which can be needed and healthy)
no matter how lonely,
in that most painful place,
perhaps the place you fear the most;
that is where God is.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery

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