Tuesday of the 5th week of Eastertide
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, ‘Letters to a Young Poet’.
The quote above is one of my favourites in addressing anxiety and grief, and dealing with uncertainty. As our world today is struck with pandemic, economic and social crises and uncertainties, this is truly a cause for grief for many of us. This could take the form of loss of income, jobs, relationships, lives, and even, a general loss of one’s identity and place in relation to the world. Who am I now when I cannot be assured of safety, security, and trust between communities?
The first Easter must have been a devastating experience for the early disciples and the first Apostles as they confronted the painful crucifixion of their beloved friend and teacher. I imagine myself living through this and experiencing the untimely, cruel and illogical death of someone I love dearly. What grief, what sorrow, what pain and confusion that might feel like.
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” ~ Jamie Anderson.
And indeed, the early disciples grieved much. We are told they were bereft. The two disciples were so blinded by sorrow and questions that they could not perceive it was Jesus their Lord who walked beside them on the road to Emmaus.
If you are experiencing many losses in your lives right this moment, I wish to say that you are not alone. As the questions are tumbling around in your head and beating inside your chest now, you have a Lord who sees and empathises. You have a cloud of witnesses in the disciples and saints who have suffered much and journey with you.
The Holy Spirit is the ever-present gift from God to the disciples then. And a gift to you now, imparting His ever-abiding peace. A peace that surpasses all understanding and a peace that will never fail nor fade. As Psalms 36:5-7 reminds us:
“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord . How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”
May you find shelter in the shadow of the Holy Spirit’s wings. May the peace of God settle beside you and accompany whatever grief and questions you are living with right now — even if the questions you pose only resound as echoes. Even if it seems you are tumbling about, remember that you can choose to free-fall into His faithfulness. He’s got you.
(Today’s Oxygen by Debbie Loo)
Prayer: I pray for all who grief the many losses they experienced in life. Be it a fresh wound or a dull aching sorrow that never seems to depart. May you seek shelter in communion and friendship with the Holy Spirit.
Thanksgiving: Thank you God for your gift of the Holy Spirit who continues to dwell patiently beside me and holds me ever-so-gently as I struggle and feel alone. I sense her Peace, I know You are always here with me.