“Faith means living with uncertainty – feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark.” – Dan Millman
I believe that the human journey is sacred. I believe all of human life – is sacred. There is something holy about my fellow human being, her/his/their story and life journey and my connection to them, our connection to each other. In each story/journey, there is good, evil, beautiful, and ugly. Perhaps it’s the life that we all share on this earth – the fact that, “You are not alone…” is not just some platitude we say when we don’t know what else or what more to say, but that ultimately, in the human experience of things, I am, we are, not alone.
There may be moments and seasons in life where we walk alone, because let’s face it, there are some portions of the journey where we ourselves are the only ones who have been tasked to navigate. Although we are not alone when it comes to various aspects of the human experience, what those look like and how we react or respond to each are unique to each of us.
Lately, I have been thinking of and walking through grief – grief and loss. This season has seemed long and hard. Like many of you, I have grieved many a time before: leaving and then being the one left behind (in the various transitions of life, this is the norm, right?) Death and loss manifest themselves in different ways. When I free associate, the first thing that comes to mind is: “identity/identities and relationship/relationships” . At this very moment, I am grieving the person that I had been, the person that I was and simultaneously embracing the woman I have become and am still becoming.
The more I have been doing that and the deeper I have gone, the “tree” inside my soul has grown new roots and other pre-existing roots have withered away and died. I am always left with a choice: do I regress? Or do I progress, even though I have no clue what the road ahead of me looks like? Those are the questions I have come face-to-face with every time I have come to a crossroad or a new transition point n my life. I ask those questions while holding a mixture of fear, uncertainty, apprehension and excitement in my heart.
As a licensed mental health counselor, one of the questions I have often asked those whom I have journeyed with in a clinical context is, “Who are you and who do you want to be?” I try to live this out in my own life as well – asking myself in every situation, “Alicia, who are you and who do you want to be?” Grief hasn’t made it easy for me to answer either of these questions with much clarity. What is clear to me is that I have changed, and this change is more cemented than it has ever been. Grief has rattled me and shaken me in ways that I never imagined. I have been shaken to the very core of my being, and to be honest – because honesty is my expression of worship during this time, the only confession I can make right now is this: Though I have been shaken to the core of my being, I am still standing. Every day, I am just trying to find my way toward loving, forgiving, helping, advocating, learning, not shutting down or closing myself off from….feeling.
I am utterly uncomfortable with feeling anything (good or bad). Perhaps you, like me, are a feeler and feel deeply, but have spent a good deal of time running from this truth, and in essence running from a part of yourself – a necessary and essential part of who you are. I’m going to say this to you, like I say to myself every day – Allow yourself to feel. Give yourself permission. Maybe others, people or institutions, have stunted or thwarted this in you, but now is the time for you to take it back and own it.
What is your expression of worship during this time in your life? How can you make room/space for it to be celebrated?