Loss & Hope

“Loss remakes you.”

(Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman)

Lately I’ve been noticing a desire within myself to carve out intentional space to grieve. It’s beginning to feel imperative that I find and incorporate rituals&rhythms that honor the fullness of my humanity, and a part of that fullness is the constant encounter with loss. From the loss of sleep from scrolling way too long on Instagram to the loss of dreams/friendships/experiences, it’s everywhere: to experience loss is to be human.

Día de Muertos altars in Mexico City that honor the lives of those who no longer reside in the mortal realm.

Loss reminds me that I am a living, breathing being with hopes&dreams&desires, and so it makes sense that I’m craving a healthier relationship with it these days. Because the truth is, when I refuse to acknowledge the losses I experience, my hopes easily become misplaced. In my stubbornness and aversion to pain, I perpetuate my own hurt as I repeat patterns and revisit old relationships&places&experiences, seeking something that is no longer there (and perhaps never was).

I so desperately desire to invisibilize my losses that my hope becomes based in alternate realities that steamroll over the truth that “there is no going back to a former condition”(Hartman). When I refuse to reckon with the realness of rejection and disappointment, I become disembodied from the fullness of my human experience and begin to live out of a place that is not based in the reality of the here and now. Because what is real is disappointment. What is here and now is heartache. Amidst all the wonderful and amazing things in life, loss is just as real.

Las sombrillas de Guatapé, Colombia.

Over time, even if I don’t want to acknowledge the losses I’m experiencing, my body refuses to play along with the lie, and I begin waking up with tightness in my chest and dull headaches that never seem to leave… My body forces me to reckon with what is real. Yet when I finally find the courage to honor my pain and allow space for the discomfort, something healing and holy begins to happen.

When I let myself cry, and feel–truly feel–the sourness of sorrow, it is here where I experience a depth of liberation that only comes from a commitment to truths that are real and raw. It is here where I learn how to listen to my body and its sensations and learn how to be honest with mySelf and others. It is here where I can be whole. It is here where I can heal. It is here where I encounter a whole and holy hope. 

And so I pray:

Dear Divine Love,

May I find grace&space for the disappointments and losses that accompany being honest about the experiences/relationships/communities that once were and no longer are, for the things I once hoped for and are no longer possible.

May I find grace&space for a hope that is healthy and whole, for a hope that is not afraid to make space for heartache and disappointment.  

May I remember I can be both sad AND hopeful. May I remember that my dedication to making space to grieve my losses does not preclude my ability to dream, hope for, or build a better future for myself and others; I can simultaneously be disappointed and believe there is something even greater. 

May I remember that acknowledging my losses enables me to more clearly articulate what I hope for and desire. May I take the time to engage in practices of lament and mourning that will help me let go of the people, places, and experiences that don’t have the capacity to hold space for the fullness of who I am, and instead, may I place my energy towards the people&communities that are capable of delighting in the fullness of who I am.

And as I recognize loss, may I do so in a way that strives to maintain a sense of love&connection&openness for the remaking that stems from the losses, believing that it is in&through these losses that I enter into the Holy of Holies–the sacred place where G*d resides and meets me with the Truth that I am Loved, I am Holy, I am Whole, and I am enough.  

Amen.

Questions to Consider…

  • How are our losses remaking us? 
  • If acknowledging our losses allows us to place our hope in realistic&healthy things, where are we placing our hope these days?
  • How can we make more space to name and grieve the losses we experience on a regular basis?

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