There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and time to uproot…. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to be silent and a time to speak…
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Excerpts from the children’s book “Cry, Heart, But Never Break” by Glenn Ringtved
Illustrations by Charlotte Pard
“Some people say Death’s heart is as dead and black as a piece of coal, but that is not true. Beneath his inky cloak, Death’s heart is as red as the most beautiful sunset and beats with a great love of life.”
Death proceeds to tell the children about two girls, Joy and Delight.
“They were bright and sunny and their days were full of happiness. The only shadow was their sense that something was missing. They didn’t know what, but they felt they couldn’t fully enjoy their happiness.”
Death goes on to tell a story of how their lives weren’t balanced until they met and fell in love with Sorrow and Grief. Death tells the children, it is the same with life and death. “What would life be worth if there were no death? Who would enjoy the sun if it never rained? Who would yearn for the day if there were no night?”
“Moments later, the children heard the upstairs window open. Then, in a voice somewhere between a cry and a whisper, Death said, ‘Fly, Soul. Fly, fly away.’ The curtains were blowing in the gentle morning breeze. Looking at the children, Death said quietly, ‘Cry, Heart, but never break. Let your tears of grief and sadness help begin new life.’”
“Ever after, whenever the children opened a window, they would think of their grandmother. And when the breeze caressed their faces, they could feel her touch.”
Especially in Weeping
Especially in weeping
the soul reveals
and through secret pressure
changes sorrow into water.
The first budding of the spirit
is in the tear,
a slow and transparent word.
Then following this elemental alchemy
thought turns itself into substance
as real as a stone or an arm.
And there is nothing uneasy in the liquid
except the mineral
anguish of matter.
Grieving is sacred work. It has the power to take you deep into your Source, where you will have a glimpse of your true home. That is where you find peace.
I had no idea that the gate I would step through
to finally enter this world
would be the space my brother’s body made. He was
a little taller than me: a young man
but grown, himself by then,
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,
rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.
This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
And I’d say, What?
And he’d say, This, sort of looking around.
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.
Don’t Surrender Your Loneliness
Don’t surrender your loneliness
So quickly. Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you.
As few human or divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight.
Has made my eyes so soft.
My voice so tender.
My need of God absolutely clear.
Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly.
The song of the mourner is our invitation to turn our ears and tune our hearts to the great spiritual call of life: being of service to one another.
All beauty of this world is wet with the dew of tears.
After the loss of a loved one, many of us are left with old hurts, unhealed goodbyes, unsaid, love unexpressed. We grieve not only the person but also the hopes, dreams and unfulfilled expectation that we had for and with that person…. Your beloved is within reach–within you–much closer than you think. All that is keeping you from a sense of connection with your deceased loved one is your unused imagination. In the imagination, death does not end a relationship…. It is never too late to reconcile and heal your relationship with a deceased loved one.
Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.
Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life-force…. It is not a state of deadness or emotional flatness. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It resists the demands to remain passive and still. We move in jangled, unsettled and riotous ways when grief takes hold us us. It is truly an emotion of that rises from soul.
Grief and gratitude are kindred souls, each pointing to the beauty of what is transient and given to us by grace.
Patricia Campbell Carlson
No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, “It tastes sweet, does it not?” “You caught me,” grief answered, “and you’ve ruined my business, how can I sell sorrow when you know it’s a blessing?”
When we descend all the way down to the bottom of a loss, and dwell patiently with an open heart, in the darkness and pain, we can bring back up with us the sweetness of life and the exaltation of inner growth. When there is nothing left to lose, we find the true self–the self that is whole, the self that is enough, the self that no longer looks to others for definition, or completion, or anything but companionship on the journey.
Perhaps the biggest paradox is that we can come again to love life even when we are mindful of death. Holding these apparent contradictions at once is a sign of wholeness–or healing–or shalom–words that have the same meaning linguistically. It helps us to love more courageously, to search in every moment for what is holy and eternal, to cherish each day and to cultivate life by caring for ourselves, each other, and the planet.
Rabbi Anne Brener
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.