“Loss is felt many times. First for what is now gone, second for what was before, and then endlessly for everything that might’ve been.” — Austin Walker
Our ministry theme for October is grief. Grief is uncomfortable, heart-wrenching, devastating… and inescapable. It’s part of the human condition, and as the Rev. James Luther Adams told us, “Church is where we practice what it means to be human.” Here, in this community that gathers by choice, is where we are called to help each other confront and move through our grief.
One of the most important things we must remember, in our physical and virtual spaces we create with each other, is that grief comes for many different things and manifests in many different ways. It follows its own timeline, has no patience for your convenience, and often comes in waves that make us feel like we haven’t healed even the tiniest bit. Moving through grief with each other is a way for us to live into our shared values of compassion, grace, and love.
One of Unitarian Universalism’s biggest struggles, across congregations, regions, and countries, is that we don’t spend enough time working on our emotional intelligence, especially around pain and suffering. You will be tempted, this month, to retreat into intellectualism and academic theory around grief in order to protect your heart. I would invite you to explore that resistance. In the words of my beloved colleague, the Rev. Jake Morrill,
“I hope you’ll do more than theorize. I hope you’ll share stories. I hope you’ll be in touch with the part of you now that’s experiencing grief. Grief in your relationships, and grief applied in a broader context—for democracy and for our earth under assault. Find a way to connect with that grief, and you’ll find a way this month to connect with love itself.”
In gratitude and faith,
The Rev. Meghann Robern