Songs of Nature

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Communion of Grievers

Day 27

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


I am poured out like water... —Psalm 22:14a

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010Mary’s death was sudden and unexpected. She woke up feeling “funny” and before the day was over, before a doctor had seen her, before her husband and children could decide what to do, she died. She was a young woman and beautiful. Talented, generous, beloved. There were no health problems that anyone was aware of. It was shocking. Unbelievable. How could this be?

I sat in the packed church two days later trying to make sense of what had happened. The service was a “celebration of life,” but the mood was incredulous and almost unbearably sad. Mary and I were not close friends, and yet I found myself, along with everyone else, overcome with grief. Each element of the service—the hymns and readings, the priest’s affirming words—contributed to a palpable outpouring of love. The ache of loss stayed with me all that day and into the days beyond.

There is a deep well within each of us. Every loss we undergo—every death, every vanished dream, every relationship that ends in bitterness or disappointment—all of it finds its way into that hidden and silent place. Even losses we have long since “gotten over” remain there. Within our souls; within our very bodies. We can go along for years with little or no awareness that we carry a lifetime of sorrows. But when a new loss occurs, old pain resurfaces. Not in the piercing way it was experienced in the beginning; it is more likely to feel like a vague homesickness, a longing for the place where once upon a time we were whole.

Could it be that the well within each human heart is somehow connected to every other? Can we imagine the sorrows we carry as simply our share of one Great Sorrow at the heart of the universe within God’s one, great, throbbing heart?

To imagine such a thing may be a useless exercise right now. But over the years I have found that it helps me to envision that I can, through my own grieving, somehow contribute to the healing of all broken hearts. 

O God, receive my prayers for all who are broken-hearted. Amen.