Saturday, December 3, 2011
A follow up to Time - Part 1
My husband asked me recently what I want for Christmas. My first instinct was to say this: I want my dad. Nope, can’t get that, so on to my next “out there” wish: I want more time. Obviously, I want more time with my dad, but I guess I can lump that in the same category with the first thing – a category that is probably best entitled with one or more curse words, out of frustration and anger and hurt.
As for the time for which I long on a regular basis – there’s just never enough! Time to do more things I need to do, time for more of what I want to do, time to be with the people I want to spend time with. Some days it’s tough even just finding time to try to figure those three things out. Is that another impossible wish? Is constantly feeling like I am running out of time just another one of those weird but commonly experienced parts of grief? I don't remember being quite this obsessed with the concept of - or desperate for - time before my dad went on ahead. Like a lot of things these days, I’m just not sure where this is coming from. I guess I need more time for contemplation, too.
Another grief-centered blogger, Kara L.C. Jones, also known as Mother Henna, recently wrote this in a blog about grief …
The cliche says, "Time heals all wounds." But most bereaved [people] I've worked with over the years don't really find this to be true. It might be closer to the truth to say something like: time gives us the opportunity to look at grief from all sides and integrate what we discover in the exploration of various perspectives.
We can think about this idea creatively. If you were an artist and had an object or model you wanted to work with to create a new piece, what would you do? Well, whether you are sketching, painting, sculpting, or doing photography, you'd probably want to create as much opportunity as possible to explore all possible perspectives on that object or model. You'd want to look at it from all side. Find the best light, best position, a good angle. If you are truly practicing your art, you'll want to see the worst light, most off balance position, and the ugliest angle, too. You'll want to see all the perspectives in between those two extremes also.
Why? Well, it isn't that artists are wasting time. It isn't that they are being difficult to work with or procrastinating on doing the "real" work. It isn't that they are avoiding the "finished" product. Rather they are exercising their skills. They are working their artistic visioning muscles. They are living a practice, not a perfect! And they are getting a handle on the scope of the object or model, finding the edges, integrating an understanding of what they see and how they can create from what they see.
What if we were to do this with grief instead of trying to "get over it" or "heal it" or "get better" as if grief were a germ based sickness we were trying to get rid of?!? What if instead of avoiding the shattering of our hearts, just what if, instead, we were to pour ourselves a cuppa and have a good long look at grief?!? What if we were willing to stand on our heads to look at it upside down? What if we climbed high up on a ladder to look down at it? What if we closed our eyes and used only our fingertips to explore the shape of grief? What if we purposely looked for the best lighting, position, and angle from which to film grief? What if we purposely looked for the worst lighting, most off balance positioning, and the ugliest angle from which to photograph grief? Might we then be finding ways to approach living life after grief in a heart-full way instead of living a life of avoidance? We could be discovering new ways to integrate all that has happened instead of trying to "get over it" with some false hopes of "returning to normal" -- as if it were possible to return to being exactly the person you were before experiencing loss!?! If we take this exploratory path instead, we actively start living a practice of permission, giving ourselves opportunity to look at grief from all sides as a way to begin to integrate all that has happened to us. At the very least, we are approaching grief in an active way instead of sitting back hoping against hope that the cliche is true and time alone will heal all wounds.
Well said, Mother Henna. I’m so glad I found the time to read it.