Thursday, July 11, 2013

good company

I'm a newcomer to Glennon Doyle Melton and her blog Momastery.  A friend on Facebook shared one of her blog posts and it resonated for me.  Her book,Carry On, Warrior, is essentially a collection from the blog, with a few new pieces added as well.  I expect it's a great place to start catching up on who Glennon is and what Momastery is all about.

I'm about 60 pages in (288 pages total) and here's what stays with me - Glennon is good company for this work of family and life.  I'm not certain that a book is the best medium for her style of writing but her perspective, humor, and faith are welcomed.  Her commitment to being open and kind encourages me, nudges me, to be live an open and kind life too.  She holds a Christian faith that allows for her own discernment and discovery.  She seems not to be solely bound to the rules and mores of religious authority.  I appreciate that.

This is probably my favorite quote from the book:
I learned that in these disasters, all we can do is tell our In Case of Emergencies that their grief is real, and if it lasts forever, then we will grieve with them forever.
As far as I was able to tell during those two years, there was nothing else worth saying. It was not going to be all right, ever. Everything doesn’t happen for a decent reason. I was Sister’s In Case of Emergency and I couldn’t fix her emergency. I couldn’t do anything at all except feed her, hold her when she cried, pray angry prayers, keep showing up, and hope that time and my home and presence would offer healing.
I learned the truth of this approach to grief & comfort in the early days (years?) grieving the loss of my father.  I was comforted most by the friends who came over to just be with us.  And those well intended platitudes about the better place that dad was in or that it all happens for a reason just landed clanking and empty in my ears and on my heart.  I remember in particular that my beloved Miss G was able to fly home from college for a few days and hang out with our family.  We did ordinary things, like clean the kitchen from all the food that people kept bringing us.  We did these things together, in good company.

In the years since dad's passing, I've been near for other friends and their grief.  I hope that I've practiced what I've felt to be true.  I hope that I've given more time to showing up, bearing witness, living as good company, and grieving with them than the other things.

Life offers, holds, brings, is, a lot of grief.  Both from the blatant disasters and the subtle disintegrations.  I'm still grieving the birth of a child I didn't plan on, even though he's become the son I love dearly and fiercely.  I'm grieving all the advantages and opportunities that I've thrown away.  I'm grieving the independence I had a single child-free woman.  I grieve lost friendships and old lovers.  I think the same kinds of comfort apply to all of these kinds of grief.  It's the comfort of time and good company of friends who are just with us through it, who just keep showing up with us.

These days of job and motherhood are often lonely for me.  It's difficult to coordinate schedules to see people, once I get beyond the difficulty of reaching out in the first place.  So I sometimes grieve alone, which feels incomplete somehow, like maybe grief needs a witness to be truly met and healed.  Sometimes I stuff the grief or put it on hold.  And sometimes I find comfort in a book that comes alongside me like a friend would and says, "Yeah, me too."  For me, Carry On, Warrior is one of those books.  

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