My journey recently has taken a side road, more like a cul de sac with grief. My grandma passed away in early September. It was somewhat surprising and somewhat expected but neither of these truths make the grief more or less painful. Grief is a part of the journey where invitations abound to re-enter mainstream but sometimes it is best to just be. Grief will do work only it can do. It is in the being with grief the Spirit guides the journey to greater wholeness.
A way the Spirit guides us through grief is through inviting us to remember experiences we had with the one we love and miss.
My grandma Dee’s experience of God was continually growing deep roots in intimacy, vulnerability and honesty even as a 96-year-old. While she had a deep conviction and belief in a faithful God, she also wondered if what she looked forward to, would happen. Her openness to share her desire and her doubt was an invitation to me to lean into my humanity, where desire and doubt co-exist.
A couple of weeks before she passed, I had felt the pull, the need & desire to visit grandma and grandpa for a night before going up to Lost Lake to breath, aka a night camping off grid. During my visit, it became clear that I needed to stay an extra night with them and not go camping. Desire and doubt existed in this moment, I was unsure how my desire to breath would be met and yet it was. My grandma was very appreciative of me staying another night, but she insisted that I go on a hike.
“Go get the clarity you need; you are carrying a lot” she said.
So, I raced up to walk around the lake and breath in deeply the Divine who meets me in nature. As I began to walk, I marveled at how life and death were intertwined in the forest around the lake. It was silently loud; I could not ignore it’s whispers. The innocence of life was budding, playful and pushing forth. The deep dark lines of harsh seasons treachery seemed to be paused for me to take notice that they were in the process of decay.
There was a tangible peace where paradox thrived in the forest around the lake. Everything fit, all things had their place, they all had a purpose to fulfill. Death was not ushered out too quickly and new life took its time to come into its fullness. What a beautiful invitation this walk was.
It reminded me of a moment when my grandma shared what she anticipated to experience when she left this earth. She said she was looking forward to “walking right next to Jesus, not in front of him or behind him. Nope, I’m going to be right next to him.”
She desired to be close to her Jesus, side by side, walking with him. As her body was failing, she was noticing an invitation to be by his side. I noticed the joy and playfulness she was anticipating in the tone of her voice. Joy of life was intertwined with a body decaying more rapidly than I wanted to notice.
I am deeply honored that I was chosen to be my grandma’s granddaughter. While I am not blood related to her, she chose to open up so much of her heart, life, joy, wisdom, pain & struggle to me. She invited me in many ways to grieve well by being Christ incarnate to me. As she was open, vulnerable and grace filled toward me, she invited me to grow in being open, vulnerable and grace filled toward her and others. She taught me to embrace my desires and my doubts, trusting in the faithfulness of the Divine who radically loves me and my humanness.
I believe God, who is abundantly loving, communes with my grandma in the walk she always wanted with Jesus. They’re exchanging “you betcha’s!” and “goody goody gum drops!” as they walk, skip and run side by side.
We are always walking with the Divine while with grief or not. Sometimes we are given opportunities to notice we are doing so. And in our moments of noticing may we grasp that the Divine saturates life, death and everything in between. Divine is gazing upon us with a radical love that welcomes all our desires and our doubts, in life and in death.
I invite you to take a moment to reflect on what you read.
What did you notice?
Where was there resonance?
Where was there resistance?
Audre is a Spiritual Companioning Editor who is passionate about helping writers, authors, bloggers, pastors and spiritual directors lean in to their call to write words the world needs to hear. She holds in high esteem what wants to be said and what needs to be said. She believes it takes writer and editor leaning into the Spirit to hear clearly the words the Divine has called the writer to share. As the three sojourn together, the writer’s voice is strengthened, their writing craft is honed and their reader will hear the words they have been longing to hear at just the right time.
Audre founded Saturated Grace, LLC in response to her call to be a Spiritual Director. She provides spiritual companionship and hosts Saturated Grace Groups. She sees the world through the lens of being an autistic person who mothers nuerodivergent children.