The Last Star + Presence
What a funny world we live in. I just wrote about being “content” on life and then life threw me a curve ball. I am happy with, figuratively and literally, where we are (even if that “means” camping in our current money pit). But then the death came in and mixed my sensitive ways all up.
I love living this glorious life. I truly think my past-life ancestors were explorers. Exploring feeds and fuels my soul. Or nomads, but whatever they were there is some adventure-finding stuff in me.
I’ll probably only be left with photos of monkeys and bears + friends and kids + lots n lots of solo hikes at my funeral, but that’s really okay with me. That is me.
But then damn Brené Brown has to use her words to throw my confidence and contentment for a goddamn loop.
Someone super special to me just passed away and once again… I am away. This happened with both of Dustin’s grandparents. We waited and waited for the news of his grandmother and even pushed a vacation w/ friends. We are 10 hours into the drive and we get the call that she has passed. We couldn’t afford to all leave the vacation (bc we just paid for it all) and fly to MO. Does Dustin go alone? Then the same incident happens when leaving MO visiting is grandfather. One day he was chatting with Will and by the next morning he was in the hospital. They didn’t know how long. Could this be like grandma and last for weeks? We had no idea. And of course on our drive back to TX, he passes.
And now this. AJ passes away the day my parents arrive in CO. They came up a week early. Why in the world would this timing keep happening?
Because… back to damn Brené (have you guys read, Braving the Wilderness)?
She talks about being at a funeral in a small town in Texas and how funerals are “one of the most powerful examples of collective pain”. Guess what else she goes on to say? “When I asked participants to identify three to five specific behaviors that their friends, family, and colleagues do that raise their level of trust with them, funerals always emerged in the top three responses. Funerals matter. Showing up to them matters. And funerals matter not just to the people grieving, but to everyone who is there. When I asked The collective pain (and sometimes joy) we experience when gathering in any way to celebrate the end of a life is perhaps one of the most powerful experiences of inextricable connection. Death, loss, and grief are the great equalizers.
“Only holiness will call people to listen now. And the work of holiness is not about perfection or niceness; it is about belonging, that sense of being in the Presence and through the quality of that belonging, the mild magnetic of implicating others in the Presence. This is not about forging a relationship with a distant God but about the realization that we are already within God.”— John O’Donohue (Chapter Six: Hold Hands. With Strangers)
I, like Brené’s aunt Betty, do not want a funeral. I do want my people near and far to come and party (and not a pot-luck, please cater that baby so nobody has to stress about food or clean… take the $ from my life insurance pot if you need to).
PLEASE NOTE: I DESPISE POTLUCKS
Back to Betty… I too just want to celebrate! I want you to chat about the fun and love we shared together. If you cannot make it, I want you to chime in live or with hashtags or photos and lots of coffee and bubbly! I want you all to chat about how amazing your life is “of all times right now”. I want you to promise to look after my 2 kids and hubs! I want you to celebrate knowing that I’ll always be looking after you all (insert: evil laugh bc you know I’ll so love watching after you).
Brené mentions, “An experience of collective pain does not deliver us from grief or sadness; it is a ministry of presence. These moments remind us that we are not alone in our darkness and that our broken heart is connected to every heart that has known pain since the beginning of time.”
My contented heart is conflicted. Am I selfish for feeling like I need to be there for funerals or am I not ministering my presence for that individual and that is selfish?
I did jolt out of bed early in this morning and see the above star. It made me smile. I smiled because I knew it was AJ telling me it was all going to be okay. Life is complicated enough and it doesn’t need to be pilled up with guilt of always being “away”. I do, however, recognize that I have a lot to improve on. I owe so many people gifts (simply because I get overwhelmed on finding the perfect thing and I suck at online shopping). It takes me forever to respond to social media and then it overwhelms me, but gollee do I love you. My love for you people is so hardcore.
I hope you can honor the place where I find peace; forgive me for all my faults; and truly love me just as I am. And I hope that I will always be a light in your life for you to find your way, your peace, your contentment and your happiness. Just look up. Look for the Last Star and I’ll help you find the way.