Thursday, August 30, 2012

Waves of Grief

A gray day at the beach from this summer on the island...

The rain came down in sheets this afternoon, a rare occasion in our state. In the Midwest we experienced heavy showers regularly, but here the clouds seem much more prone to spit—for days—rather than pour generously.

And while the sun shined with a seeming grand finale of summer for the past few days, the rain seems somehow more fitting. Grief is in the air these days, and I find myself prone to tears over the brokenness I am surrounded with: students, friends, acquaintances, neighbors. Everyone has a story, and a glimpse into the details of private lives often leaves me speechless. I am grateful for the trust that I can delicately treasure the truth of the circumstance, even as it leaves me silently grieving for hours and days beyond the conversation.

The other night I went walking with a friend through wooded trails that nearly connect our neighborhoods. As we crossed a bridge over a major road that was blocked with ambulances and fire trucks, we couldn’t help but speculate about the nature of the accident; all signs seemed to point to a pedestrian being hit, which was later confirmed in the newspaper. Who was I, in that moment, but a pedestrian out for a walk?

There have been many occasions where friends and their loved ones have crossed paths with friends of mine in the hospital, and I always find comfort in knowing they were cared for by those I love, in ways I would never be able to help. But even as my medical skills are lacking I know from experience that sharing a burden can be just as therapeutic as any medical care. Sometimes it is the greatest gift you can receive.

These are the days when heaven is what I long for, when we will finally be at peace.

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