by Chaplain Julia Rajtar, MAPS, BCC
Being a bereaved, in a pandemic year, where nothing has been “normal” is waring. We are not only grieving and trying to adjust to a death, the pain of which is upending our daily lives, we are also surrounded by collective grieving. The personal losses we feel are further compounded by the reality of the world around us, causing us to feel like a toddler learning to walk.
Hope Shoes in Your Grief Journey
While learning to walk again, one pair of shoes to try on for this new year includes Hope. Hope is about empowering ourselves to face the toughest of times, emerging as a survivor, not victim. It is something beyond, something which we hold onto for reassurance about the future. It includes the ability to bounce back and involves a belief that our current situation will get better. Hope consists of an intentionality to make a choice. It is not a wish, nor does it preclude disaster from happening, life happens around us.
Grace Shoes in Your Grief Journey
Try on Grace for a second pair of shoes into the new year. Grace, has many definitions including: a way of movement, a courteous goodwill, or to honor or credit to someone or something by one’s presence. Definitions from Oxford Languages. Annually, at this time of the year, we make resolutions, that can be hard to uphold, especially when we are grieving. Rather than making a resolution, maybe we could give ourselves a little grace. Make space for what that internal voice is teaching us. Make room for a little kindness within, there is enough bleakness in the world. This year, it can be enough to tune into rediscovering the beauty of who we really are. Consider, this year, giving ourselves grace enough to rediscover and define ourselves.
What is our grief teaching us, not just about mourning, but also about living? Grace to rediscover, can appear in many forms. Try getting outdoors, consider creating art, create community as you can. How can we create a sense of community in these physically distancing times? Walking with a friend can create community. Meeting outdoors, perhaps outside our cars, at an appropriate distance, somewhat regularly, can help. Writing letters, keeping a journal, being part of a support group, zooming or facetime with others helps us stay connected.
This New Year
This new year, what is it we want to hope for? What is the intentional choice we make toward hope for this new year? Where in our lives will we seek grace? What do we want to rediscover about ourselves, the beauty that lies within? This new year, try on the shoes of hope and grace. See how they fit. Test them out for a while. Whatever your shoes, even if we feel like a toddler, keep walking.
Ojo, Tessy, CEO; The Diana Award, Taps Talk: The Power of Hope, April 21, 2020, https://www.taps.org/tapstalks/2020/power-of-hope
Erin Jacobson, Creating Space and Rediscovering Ourselves in the New Year, TAPS Magazine, Winter 2020, p. 24-25. Creating Space and Rediscovering Ourselves in the New Year https://www.taps.org/magazine/2020/winter