Songs of Nature

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Holy Work

Day 28

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
—Psalm 43:3

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010Our can-do culture seems to value competence above all else and be deeply suspicious of vulnerability. To express grief, to admit we hurt, is often viewed as unseemly if not downright unacceptable. No wonder we are reluctant to show this part of ourselves! Who wants to be seen as a weakling who just can’t handle it (whatever "it" is)?

But to travel the pilgrim’s journey through the landscapes of grief requires that we admit, at least to ourselves, that we are fundamentally vulnerable. We don’t have it all together and we never will. This path obliges us to face those parts of ourselves that we wish, with all our might, could be avoided. That's why “grief work,” as it is sometimes called, is nothing less than heroic. It is perhaps the most important work we can do.

Why is it so crucial? Because when we make peace with the truth that we are both resilient and fragile, tough and tenderhearted, steadfast and shaky, strong and faint, we are on our way to becoming fully human. When we become honest with ourselves, we can be honest with others; when we accept our own frailties, we can be accepting of others; when we learn to love our imperfect selves, we are able to love others.

The Hebrew Scriptures, in the Book of Isaiah, speaks of the Messiah, the One who will save the people. Of this Messiah it is said, he is a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3 KJV) Strength and leadership, in other words, have something to do with knowing ourselves with all the contradictions that swirl around in our messy and complicated lives.
Keep doing this holy work. You will never be finished. But you are becoming wise and loving. You are becoming radiant.

O God, bring me safely to your holy dwelling place. Amen.