Tuesday, May 01, 2012

from the books

I wrote the other day about the books that I have received from my father's library following his death.  As I am going through them, trying to find room for them on the shelves of my office, paging through where papers are sticking out (gosh, I am my father's daughter; so many of my books are like this), I am finding riches beyond his markings of the texts themselves.

Inside the cover of the book Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals: Weaving Together the Human and the Divine by Herbert Anderson and Edward Foley, I found a page with the handwritten note at the top:

(excerpts on grief)

(Why it is in parentheses, I do not know.)

Listen to some of these quotes:

"Lament isn't an animal wail, an inarticulate howl.  Lament notices and attends, savors and delights--details, images, relationships.  Pain entered into, accepted, and owned can become poetry.  It's no less pain, but it's no longer ugly.  Poetry is our most personal use of words; it's our way of entering experience, not just watching it happen to us, and inhabiting it as our home."
~Eugene Peterson

"I am convinced that we should solve many things if we all went out into the streets and uncovered our griefs, which perhaps would prove to be but one sole common grief, and joined together in beweeping them and crying aloud to the heavens and calling upon God.  And this, even though God should hear us not; but He would hear us.  The chiefest sanctity of a temple is that it is a place to which men go to weep in common.... It is not enough to cure the plague: we must learn to weep for it."
~Miguel de Unamuno

"I have lately received such distressing news from the personal lives of almost all of my dearest friends that it would have shaken my whole being, if I did not know that we must all fail, be cheated, die.  You must fail some more, Harvey Bates, so that you can see the futility of all personal striving.  When I thought the other day of the real tragedies that have hit two other of my friends, I wondered how we could get any feeling of dignity, meaning, justification, out of our poor lives.  And I thought we could do it if we could all stand together somewhere in a cool glade, lowering one of those loved ones into a grave, and standing and weeping together like men over our miserable destiny.  And then we would experience the heaviness of it--and this would be the bond that ties us together and to the source of all things.  We would be justified in our weeping and our trembling.  This is true religion for me, and I think at the same time the surest testimony that it is absent in our world today: we cannot weep and tremble together but only pretend that everything is all right."
~Ernest Becker

and finally, this small bit (unattributed) which I think is from a workshop handout, under the topic of "acceptance" (of grief, I presume):

Not as though it never happened,
but as it has become one of the scenes in the tapestry of your life;

Not as though you have no scars,
but as though the wounds have healed;

Not to get over,
but to get beyond your loss.

Because my dad worked so much with families in grief, at times of parishioners' deaths, in preparation for funerals and in providing care after, there is so much on grief, and death, and dying.

It is a gift to me.


1 comment:

Martha Spong said...

More hugs. Hope we can still see each other in June.