Here in the northern hemispheres, where the days are getting shorter, temperatures are falling, and the thinning leaf canopies no longer carry us in their beauty, we can’t help but become aware that nature brings things to their ends. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t lament the end of heat, beauty, light, and their comforts. Could it be then that to become ever more human must include the capacity to love things as they’re leaving?
One of my teachers, Stephen Jenkinson teaches that,” to love anything is to love it’s end too”. He’s speaking of the skill of grief.
In today’s episode of The Sahius, I speak about how grief is not depression, or even sadness. It is rather a skill we learn through confronting and embracing what hurts us. In my own life, I’ve come to know grief as my capacity to hold the dissonance between what I have and what I long for. I grew up believing I had to extinguish my longing, that longing somehow meant I had underachieved, or had been denied. Rather than facing that humiliation, I would set my sights on a future that was better; full of what I longed for.
I’ve learned that although longing invites us to stay open to receiving our best possible future, it does not have to include rejecting what is in our present.
Now, by allowing grief in my life, I can accept that almost everything I love is out of reach and my willingness to contend with the ache of that ironically keeps everything I love alive.
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Grief is grace. Our job is to make way for it.
“I praise what it is truly alive, what longs to be burned to death.” The Holy Longing, by J.W. Goethe
May the future you belong to be built on the grief of your longings.