“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” ~ Joseph Campbell
“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.” ~ Joseph Campbell
We experienced a death in our family early Easter morning. Needless to say all of us who knew her have been deeply affected by this untimely event. I don’t want to give more details than that. But I would venture to say, everyone who reads this understands grief on one level or another.
I’ve felt two ways about grief and loss throughout my life. I don’t know exactly how I developed this point of view, but when a loved one dies, or I’ve lost a job, or the ending of a relationship, I do feel broken hearted. At the same time, there is a part of me that knows something else or something better is coming just over the horizon. My sister reminded me this week of the idea that there is always a gift in a death.
I do like to look for the gift in any seemingly devastating situation. For one thing life would be so boring if nothing ever changed. Can you imagine going to work everyday and doing exactly the same thing over and over again? They make horror movies about situations like that. Human beings are not robots and as much as we would love to avoid the pain of loss and sorrow, the world is not set up that way. I believe we are meant to deal with the pain rather than stuff or mask it with some substance. Denying grief and pain only makes it grow.
I try to embrace change when I feel it coming if I can. Sometimes bad things happen that are a shock, but even in those kinds of situations, I allow myself to feel the pain and sorrow so they lessen and I can look for the gift.
Most of the time in my family, the death of a loved one brings us all closer together. I feel that’s what will happen this time too. We were all together last summer, now we get to be together again to embrace and remember the good times.
This death in our family has made me think of events in the wider world. The human race has gone through so much turmoil in recent years. So much hatred, greed, lies, the pandemic, tragic deaths and events have worn us out. Lots of people are shell shocked. When I feel that way it’s hard to see how the human race can change course and make things better.
Everything is in such a tangle. But how do you unravel tangled threads? You loosen the knot, you pull out one strand at a time until eventually, the threads are straight again. Looking for the gift in shocking and tragic situations is kind of like that. I don’t try to untangle all the threads, only the ones I can affect and trust that other people will untangle their own threads.
Another thing I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to help someone else, to just be there for them. My paternal grandfather was not well known to me, but I discovered he was a great man. I only met him a couple of time before his untimely death a few months after our summer visit. I was 9. Years later I attended the church sponsored college in Lamoni, Iowa about an hour and half south of Des Moines, where my grandparents lived when he died. At homecoming I met the parent of one of my fellow students. When she heard my name she asked, “Are you related to Jim Sage?” I told her he was my grandfather. “Oh, I have to tell you a story about him,” and she proceeded to tell me about a time when there was a death in her family and my grandfather came to their house, along with many other church members. But unlike the others, he didn’t say much. He just sat silently, weeping and holding them until the initial grief had passed. “That was the best ministry anyone could have given us at that time,” the woman said with tears in her eyes. I had tears in my eyes too. I never forgot that story. Sometimes the best gift we can give is offering empathy and connection to someone who needs it. We benefit by the love and caring that passes from us to them as much as they do.
The events of these past few years have confirmed one thing to me, love is much stronger than the hatred and all the other negative things that humans do that they think will protect them. There is evidence, if you look for it, that a shift in thinking away from the negative toward love and caring for each other is happening. Thank heavens!
I’m just planting seeds here. It’s hard to give up the familiar ways of doing things; the idea that life is hard and then you die. I’m with Joseph Campbell, and so many other teachers of recent years who say that love and joy are our natural states. I believe that to find joy in the sorrow is my purpose here on this planet at this time. So, when the family gathers to honor our lost member, I want to just sit with my family, to cry, and listen to all the great stories about her. It’s weird to say, but that will be a blessed and joyous time.
Welcome new followers. I hope everything in your life is going well. If not, I hope you have a great support system to help you through the rough times.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2023
The Space Between Time
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, after the last few years, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me
Story-Power on Patreon
I’m so passionate about stories that I created the Story-Power podcast and Patreon communities so I’d have an excuse to talk story with other story lovers. If you’re passionate about stories too, and want to talk about what you’ve learned from your favorites, come join me at patreon.com/StoryPower.
Saving the World One Story at a Time
The world is in such chaos right now that sometimes we need to get a perspective on what’s happening. I designed this course on Ûdemy for people who are looking for a way to get a better understanding about what it means to be a human being. Stories are one great way to walk in the shoes of the characters, connect with them emotionally and learn from their mistakes. Then taking what you’ve learned and use it out in the real world. It’s learning in a fun way! If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, I hope to see you in class.
If you are a podcaster, or have a message or fantastic product you want to share with the world, I encourage you to check out PodMatch. Use the affiliate link and tell them, Lucinda sent you. Then contact me so we can set up a Story-Power chat.