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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sharing the Air We Breathe

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE how impossible some lives are right now. Some will be suffering acute torment of loved ones lost, or the impending loss, or disease, disorder and struggle will characterise the outlook.

There’s one thing we all have in common. It’s the common propensity to fall foul of tortuous circumstances.

This air we breathe—whether we live in San Francisco or Sydney, Durban or Des Moines—is saturated with the same levels of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide, yet we breathe myriad forms of situational spiritual reality. As we live and breathe, we exist through life in “seasons,” some of which are ho-hum, some are easy and blissful to bear, but others are not anything like the former two. Some seasons are so unbearable we don’t know if we can (or want to) go another day.

I had a season like this several years ago now. It lasted longer than I thought it would (or even should). Yet, it was. Grief at the highest level always teaches us things; that’s always part of its purpose. We become better people for it, if we’ll not be bent out of shape by it. Though in the very midst of it we can’t see a way through.

And when we’ve been touched by something so stark as the affliction of the profoundest grief we can see finally the depth to life—a depth that many people either see (touched by these circumstances) or they don’t see (and are therefore not “blessed” in this way). The eyes of our heart are opened as such.

If your life is etched in a sense of tragedy this very day you sit and read this, my heart, with many other hearts, goes out to you—so does God’s.

We share something, you and I. We are gifted with life together for such a time as this. We are connected, though we so often don’t know it. What connects us right now is compassion and empathy—and the human condition which grieves. Reading some interaction over a social networking site recently I saw two separate individuals going through the most tormented grief. In a flash I was back in my own, but the sting has long left. The loving heartrending empathy, though, stays.

The best thing, having gotten through our own grief—at times several months or even years afterward—is we’re touched in an instant to the pain of another.

And it might seem peculiar to say this, but all major grief leaves us with a sort of ‘muscle memory’ of that time of shrill despair, which is brought flooding back in an instant—though it becomes bearable and intrinsically part of us.

Somehow this is (or becomes) okay—even something we willingly “carry.” It defines us in the loveliest of ways.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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