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Meeting for Grieving

Meeting for worship was quite an experience for me today.

Of course, Judy Harrow's death was on my mind. I felt a poignancy to giving two Quaker elders their ride to meeting today--I was so conscious that what I cannot do for one elder, I am comforted to be able to do for another, so that even carpooling felt like an act of remembrance.

Then, as I sat down, and just as I felt myself give way to sadness, one friend left her usual place and walked across the room to sit beside me, took my hand, and gave me a hug. I was reminded that I was not alone in my sadness, but with yet another of my spiritual tribes. It felt as though my grief brought Judy into the room with me, that it made a link, not a division in my worlds.

And John and Mary Ellen were there. I had hoped they would be. John and Mary Ellen were caretakers at Woolman Hill back in the days when NELCOG used to meet there, and the fond memories go both ways; they remember their Pagans with love, just as they--and Woolman Hill--are remembered by them.  And I thought of how Judy had known and cared for them, and I thought about how they, like me, remember Judy. So that was another way I was not alone.

And then message after message spoke to grief. So many members of our meeting have been carrying losses. It was one of those times when not only are the messages threaded, but they seem as though they have been prompted by Spirit just for my benefit. I'm sure that's not true--at least, that it is not true only for me--but the messages spoke to right to my heart, again and again.

I sat in that meeting room, and I thought about all the communities, in all the long millenia of human time--of long-vanished communities, waiting for spring through endless gray winters, huddled around fires in long houses made of stone, or mud brick, roofed with straw or wood or mammoth bones.  It felt like that, to be with my people--one of my peoples.  It felt very old, this gathering together against cold and dark and sadness, watching generations come and go.  I thought of my life as just another in the long, long chain of lives going back as far as time... it it felt good to me, to think this way. 

When I got a little teary-eyed, Sara was right there.

And at rise of meeting, the children and Young Friends came in, and Abby sat down next to me on the floor, and leaned her head against me for a hug. So I guess she got the memo, too: friends of all ages, were circled there to hold me, to hold one another, in the Light.

And when it was time to give my name, I rose, and I spoke of Judy, my friend, the Wiccan teacher, who had just died.

I named her gifts to me, and her connections to our meeting--and I saw Mary Ellen smiling at the memories of visits years ago.  I thanked my meeting for holding me in love as I sat with my grief over the loss of a friend.

I am reminded: our hearts and our circles are always larger than we know.


{{{{{All of you}}}}}
Cat C-B said…
Ah, Michael.


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