As we reflect on last Sunday’s Blue Christmas Service, I hope these words from The Rev. Becca Stevens – an Episcopal priest who has helped thousands of women in need of healing from physical, emotional and spiritual wounding through an amazing group called Thistle Farms – help shed light and hope and help:
Let’s be honest… Sometimes the holidays are hard. Trauma, abuse, dysfunction, and loss can be magnified in a season where we are implored to be cheerful. We hear you, Thistle Farmers, and we want you to know that we light a candle for you every single day. We know despair. We know loneliness. We know desperation. We also know that everyone needs help sometimes. We also know, beyond any possibility of doubt, that #LoveHeals.
Love Heals. Remember and hold on to that.
Also, here is a classic C. S. Lewis insight for the daily challenge of living… in this broken world with its sorrows and losses, and with its invitations to bring love, healing and comfort to the darkness and brokenness. As always, he says so well that which you know to be true as soon as it’s articulated… and he speaks that truth in love and gentleness. I hope it is balm for you, as it is for me. Blessings, Beloved.
Excerpt from a letter from C. S. Lewis, 3 December 1959, to Sir Henry Willink, whose wife had just died:
On bereavement and grieving.
I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt one, those who keep silence hurt more. They help to increase the sense of general isolation which makes a sort of fringe to the sorrow itself. You know what cogent reason I have to feel with you: but I can feel for you too. I know that what you are facing must be worse than what I must shortly face myself, because your happiness has lasted so much longer and is therefore so much more intertwined with your whole life. As Scott said in like case, ‘What am I to do with that daily portion of my thoughts which has for so many years been hers?’
People talk as if grief were just a feeling—as if it weren’t the continually renewed shock of setting out again and again on familiar roads and being brought up short by the grim frontier post that now blocks them. I, to be sure, believe there is something beyond it: but the moment one tries to use that as a consolation (that is not its function) the belief crumbles. It is quite useless knocking at the door of Heaven for earthly comfort: it’s not the sort of comfort they supply there.
You are probably very exhausted physically. Hug that and all the little indulgences to which it entitles you. I think it is tiny little things which (next to the very greatest things) help most at such a time. I have myself twice known, after a loss, a strange excited (but utterly un-spooky) sense of the person’s presence all about me. It may be a pure hallucination. But the fact that it always goes off after a few weeks proves nothing either way.