by Rev. Ruth Barnhart
“It is human to grieve…” says Ernest Holmes. He goes on to say that though we miss our loved ones, a true sense of the continuity of life will rob our grief of hopelessness. But for me, before I offer the consolation of hope in spiritual truths, I encourage people to linger, to really feel the tenderness and love of their hearts. Just as it is natural to grieve, it is natural that we have grief in our lives. Our times of grief seem to offer, in our vulnerability, an opportunity to come home to ourselves in a new and clearer way. And further still, our tender hearts allow for the possibility to experience the sweet embrace of Life or Spirit, closer than we may have known before. It is one thing to know the Divine lives with us in our happy times, but to experience this when our hearts and lives feel broken, is to find a strength and assuredness beyond compare. It is not so much that the Divine is closer to us in our pain, but more that our barriers and distractions are stripped away, and we become more available in our hearts. This, in turn, deepens our faith, that we may go forward into our ongoing lives with a greater certainty. To know that God’s goodness lives in all our experiences is to be set free to live more fully, in the recognition of the preciousness of life in each moment. Recently, in a session with a grieving widow, at the end of our time, the woman told me that she was aware that the time spent with her husband, while he was sick and moving toward his death, was the best and most intimate time they had. This speaks volumes about the gift that can be found in grief.