I suspect I am in the same boat as many of you this morning trying to adjust to our Spring Forward time change. The cats are confused, we are trying to figure out our routine this morning. Sometimes change is as mundane as moving the hands of a clock forward. Sometimes it is more monumental like loss and heartbreak.
This morning I got a text from a friend who is struggling with the realization that her sweet dog might be in her final days. I have suffered through that specific change three times in my life. It is so hard! My heart breaks for her today. I have another friend preparing to go out of state for a funeral for the death of her friend’s son, who died in an accident while out of country on a vacation. Two other friends face different struggles each day with their mothers in nursing homes. Another dealing with family addiction issues. Last night when I got home from a fun evening with friends I learned that the Chicago firefighter lost the last two children after his family was trapped in their home in a fire. While working, he arrived on the scene and had to try to resuscitate one of his own children. His entire family, wife and children, gone. All of those situations are tragic, how do we make sense of it? Can we make sense of it?
I just turned toward the window to contemplate the answer to that question – the snow is lightly falling again and a squirrel is happily bouncing around looking for things he buried, probably confiscated from my garden. A saying, part of a famous Zen koan, came to mind, “Chop wood, carry water”. We live life each and every day, the best we can, with as much love as we can give to each other. I can’t offer answers but I can and do offer my prayers.
I don’t mean that as a casual response of acceptance and resignation to the ups and downs of life. We don’t just shrug our shoulders and go on. I think we passionately embrace those moments of sorrow and grief, just as we do the wondrous occasions. As friends, we offer care and love to the other who is experiencing those tumultuous feelings. We understand that we will all go through those trying times and we must love the other as they travel through theirs. This week I read a blog post by Diane Butler Bass, an author and speaker, sharing the Lenten joy of her new puppy and a link to the blog post during the final Advent days of her previous beloved dog. I am sure at the writing of her Advent post she could not imagine the joy that her new puppy would bring. We can’t see it in the moment, we can only experience where we are.
I would recommend listening to Bishop Robert Barron’s homily for the Third Sunday of Lent this week. As Bishop Barron reflects on the Exodus scripture of the Israelites grumbling at Moses on their journey through the desert and the poetic gospel of John recounting the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus at the well, he reminds us that a central paradox of the spiritual life is that grace is a gift, we can’t grasp at it. He summarizes that we grasp at so many things in life to try to be happy and satisfy our longings. A true way to find happiness is to share the graces we have received with one another.
As I again, try to contemplate meaning to each of those situations I shared at the start, I conclude that we can’t grasp at freedom from the difficult moments. Well, we can but it will be futile. They will be part of each of our journeys through life. But, just like our Lenten journey, aware that even the desert blooms in bright flowers after the rain, we look forward to Easter joy.
Image by Zack Dowdy on Unsplash
One thought on “Dealing with change”
I am going to keep in mind that Zen saying, “Chope wood, carry water.” It will remind me that while we can’t control everything that happens, we all can carry on. Thanks for another insightful reflection that is adding to the sacredness of my Lent