I spent this past weekend in Houston with family mourning the passing of my Uncle Mike.
I haven't really sorted out all the emotions I'm feeling yet. These kinds of family events are a mixed bag of emotions. I'm sad because he's gone and because his family is hurting so much at the same time, I'm grateful and happy I got to see my cousins after 13 years. I'll miss talking with my uncle this year and hearing him wish me Merry Christmas.
Today would have been my Dad's 81st birthday. Later today, my mom and I will go put flowers and a wreath on his grave to remember him. Being with this particular part of my family, made me realize just how much he's missed too.
This year, as I'm intentionally practicing advent, I've become much more aware of what it means to wait. Waiting is painful and exciting at the same time. Another mixed bag of emotions.
As Christams Eve and Day approaches, it makes me more aware of the loved ones that are no longer here to celebrate with us. It makes me sad while at the same time happy I'm waiting to welcome home those who still are.
This year, be aware of those around you that may be grieving a loss.
Offer them some comfort and hope.
From the writings of the late John O'Donohue, poet and scholar, in Eternal Echoes:
May you know that absence is full of tender presence and
that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.
May the absences in your life be full of eternal echo.
May you sense around you the secret Elsewhere which
holds the presences that have left your life.
May you be generous in your embrace of loss.
May the sore well of grief turn into a well of seamless
May your compassion reach out to the ones we never hear
from and may you have the courage to speak out for
the exclueded ones.
May you become the gracious and passionate subject of
your own life.
May you not disrespect your mystery through brittle
words of false belonging.
May you be embraced by God in whom dawn and twilight
are one, and may your belonging inhabit its deepest
dreams within the shelter of the Great Belonging.