Good Work, and the Gift of Grief

Gratitude List:
1. A purposeful work life.  Even when it feels overwhelming, the hard work is all to the greater purpose of developing confident and thoughtful communicators.  And even that has its own greater purpose, which is to help nurture this group of soon-to-be-adults into a deeper knowledge of how they will belong to the world, how they will make their lives their own. This is a privilege that fills my heart.
2. Grandparents who help to take care of the children while I get some of the extra work done.  A safe and caring and fun place to be, to make memories.
3. The hello part of the hello-and-goodbye cycle
4. Rain and mist
5. I don’t know quite how to word it, or how to express why I am grateful for it, but there’s something about grief that grabs my gratitude at the moment.  I just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, and it triggered some deep grieving for me.  Like the main character in that book, my own (now many years past) grief over pregnancy losses is bound up somehow with the grief over lost species and the panic I feel about environmental loss.  During the brief months of my first pregnancy, we celebrated the tender and fragile hope that perhaps the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was not actually extinct, but making a life in the swamps of Arkansas.  My hopes for the survival of the Ivory-Bill and the monarch butterfly and the several species of African rhinoceros crumble less precipitously than did my dreams of that first pregnancy.  Still, the grief settles in a similar place within me.  Like my friend Natasha, who spent a large part of a year of intentional grieving (The Year of Black Clothing) for all the environmental and human costs of our modern way of living, I want to give the grieving space inside me, let it do the work that it has appeared to do.  Whatever that may be.

May we walk in Beauty!

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