grief, light and love




Grief, light and love may be a part of your holiday season. Although we picture the ideal peace and joy of the season, many of us experience grief as well.

The reasons for grieving are varied. I do not need to enumerate them here. Each of us know what causes us heartbreak, sadness, and grief.

Recently I was unexpectedly struck by grief. This sadness was precipitated by the realization that it has been ten years since I spent the holidays with my daughter. Years are gone. The love is not lost though.

Aeschylus wrote:

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

As I sat … in tears … I once again realized that grief had struck. Grief is like that. It comes and goes. Grief has a life of its own. The intensity may lessen over time. Sometimes we need to revisit hurts and losses of our past to process them further. This revisiting can be surprisingly healing.

Bittersweet is a word someone used to describe the loss of a parent after a few years. The memories do not hurt so much. The memories became bittersweet and eventually more joy-filled.

Be gentle with yourself if you find yourself experiencing grief due to a recent loss or to one that occurred years ago. Cry. Reach out to someone you trust to share your thoughts and emotions. Write in your journal. Pray. Meditate. Take a walk in nature. Do something for yourself.

In Boulder, Colorado, there is a star of light on Flagstaff Mountain that is lit during the holiday season. As I wait for public transportation, I can see the star. It is a comforting presence. The star makes me smile. Light. Light exists in the darkness. When we are suffering, it may be hard to recognize that light and love exist in our world.

The Advent season in the Christian religion is a season of hope. A star or light is designated with symbolism in many religions or spiritual philosophies. As Christmas approaches, I am taking this opportunity to share a few ideas of light and love from various perspectives. One of my favorite methods to convey thoughts or emotions is through the quotations of others. These ideas of different individuals may resonated with you personally in a unique way.

“There are two ways of spreading light; 

to be the candle

or to be the mirror that reflects it.”

— Edith Wharton

For those who have suffered due to injustice (especially if you spoke of the truth and you were not believed), remember these words ….

“If there was a little more light and truth in the world through one human being, his life has had meaning.”

 — Alfred Delp

For those of you who are filled with compassion and love for others …

“If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.”

– Buddha

I recently discovered an article in the Charlotte Observer titled, “Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad party together in heaven”. The title brings me joy. Lawrence Toppman writes about an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition is titled, “Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven” To read Toppman’s article, see:

Hazrat Inayat Khan stated:

“Love is the essence of all religion, mysticism, and philosophy.”

As an evolving Catholic with Sufi leanings, Christmas still has special meaning to me on a religious and spiritual level. I am intrigued with the mystical aspect of spirituality, including within Catholicism. I believe most of us, whether religious or not, eventually find a way to connect with the Universe, with the Divine, with Light and Love.

Merry Christmas!

May you and yours be blessed with Light and Love today & always!!