I Need to Give Sorrow Words

I’m participating in an online discussion group with others who are reading ATLAS OF THE HEART* by Brene Brown.

It’s a helpful exercise to map, name and explore emotions so that I can create more meaningful connections to myself and others.

I think I’ve been doing some version of this my whole life. Language matters. Being able to give any emotion-especially the deep pain and sorrow of child loss-matters.

Language is our portal to meaning-making, connection, healing, learning, and self-awareness….

Language shows us that naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power, it gives us the power of understanding and meaning.

Brene Brown, ATLAS OF THE HEART, xxi

The morning Dominic ran ahead to Heaven, after I made the awful phone calls I reached for my journal.  

I knew if I didn’t start spilling the grief onto paper my heart would explode with sorrow.  

Since I learned to hold a pencil I’ve been writing. 

It’s how I sort my thoughts, figure out my feelings and express my heart. 

Read the rest here: Give Sorrow Words.

*Warning: ATLAS OF THE HEART contains language that may offend some folks. I just don’t want anyone to be surprised. ❤

Lenten Reflections: Fasting Isolation, Choosing Community

It’s particularly unfortunate that the term chosen for physically distancing ourselves during the recent pandemic was “social distancing”. Because we are not created to remain socially distant/isolated from other human beings.

The toll shows. Elderly folks stuck behind doors, unable to talk freely and often with others withered away from isolation as often as the virus. It’s become obvious that children have suffered as well.

ALL of us need connection.

It doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a crowd. It doesn’t even have to be in person anymore (although that’s preferable).

As long as we can see one another, read body language, hear tone and bounce conversation back and forth, life-giving connection can happen.

Today, then, fast isolation. Meet a friend for coffee, call a cousin, visit a neighbor, or connect with a colleague. Purpose to link and be linked, to need and be needed, to see and be seen. Refuse to discount your influence, especially in small acts, and intentionally nurture your God-given web of relationships.

Alicia Britt Chole

Those of us who belong to Christ are connected ultimately by His grace, His blood and His Spirit.

We only have to reach out and embrace that connection to be refreshed and renewed. (Even if reaching out is virtual!)

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**

Oh, To Be Understood! What a Blessing.

Today I’ll toss all the random bits and pieces I’ve assembled for this weekend’s retreat into my car and drive away.

I’m always a little nervous until I’m far enough down the road that turning back isn’t a realistic option.

Even though this is the third retreat in the same place with some of the same moms (plus some new ones) I always fret over whether or not the message God gave me is the one that will bless their hearts.

But I have to trust in this as in all things and keep moving.

One thing that is always, always, always a blessing-Every. Single. Time.-is the compassionate companionship of women who, like me, know what it is to bury a child.

I try to encourage every heart that might even think about joining us with this: you can be yourself.

No mask*No filter*No worrying about whether or not your tears will upset the person next to you*No wondering if your questions or queries or doubts will be considered a failure of faith*No need to hide the ugly truth that child loss is awful and time does NOT heal all wounds.

There’s nothing magical about this retreat or these moms.

It’s simply a shared experience, a shared commitment to transparency and a shared trust in the Word of God that makes our time together fruitful, strengthening and restorative.

So if you have an opportunity to join or create a small group in your neck of the woods, centered on the truth of who God is, founded on the principle of transparent sharing and committed to creating a safe space where masks are unnecessary-go for it!

You will never be sorry you did.

Speak, Don’t Stuff

As a counterweight to yesterday’s post, I wanted to share this one.

While I am a huge advocate for not flying off the handle (I repeat that here), I am also an advocate for speaking aloud things that need to be said.

I want to create a safe space where friends and family can share what’s on their hearts without fear of my reaction or recrimination.  ❤

Someone commented the other day on my post, Shadows and Celebrations, that they thought my child’s remark was selfish.

I countered that I didn’t think so. 

Instead, I thought it was honest.

Of course my heart hurts any time I’m unable to meet my family’s expectations, but that doesn’t mean they should refrain from sharing them with me.

One of the things I’m learning in this Valley is that I must make room for observations, for sharing, for venting and for genuine conversation.  It’s the only way any of us are going to survive.

courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen brene brown

I can’t pass judgement on every word spoken.

I needn’t assume responsibility for every unmet expectation.

I don’t have to fix every situation. 

I can’t.

Sometimes we just need to give voice to something.  Because when we name it, when we share it, when we speak it aloud, it often ceases to have power over us.

Secrets drive hearts apart.

Sharing draws them together.

Even when what’s shared is painful.

connection brene brown

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