A Blessing We Cannot Begin To Fathom

Edvard Munch, “Comfort”

Spiritual Sunday

Knowing that I am in mourning for my friend Rachel Kranz, Sue Schmidt contributed the following essay and poem to today’s blog. Poet Jan Richardson advises those who grieve not to turn to facile rationalizations but to trust to the heart’s “stubborn and persistent pulse.” As she notes in her essay, Sue knew and admired Rachel.

By Sue Schmidt

I offer this post to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. In the past seven months, our family has unexpectedly lost both of my husband’s parents. This morning I attended the funeral of a good friend’s mother, who died from ovarian cancer, as did Robin’s friend Rachel Kranz. Both women were strong, compassionate and courageous. I met Rachel several years ago while responding to one of Robin’s blog posts. Her comments, full of passion and insight, both intrigued and impressed and so I bought her novel, Leaps of Faith, and followed her blogging adventures in poker whenever they were available.

There is no getting around the pain and senselessness of death. At his mother’s memorial dinner, my husband said, “Death makes us realize that things are not as they should be. We say, unequivocally, something is wrong.” And yet, somehow, death is a part of what it means to be human. The joy at a new birth, the deep sorrow at its conclusion – these emotions cannot be separated.

Jan Richardson, a poet and artist who blogs at janrichardson.com, lost her husband suddenly two years ago. As is the case with many artists, the grieving process has woven itself through her art. I hope this gentle blessing finds a home in the hearts of those of us who find our own hearts broken, grieving those whose lives have been intertwined with ours.

A Blessing for the Brokenhearted

By Jan Richardson

There is no remedy for love but to love more.
– Henry David Thoreau

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.

Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.

Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—

as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it

as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still

as if it trusts
that its own stubborn
and persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us
nonetheless.

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