Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: lamenting our losses

Unsorted

The feeling I get
Standing before an audience
Knowing all I must do is
Read the words on the page
With grace and clarity

The feeling I got
Sitting in church yesterday
Listening to a young woman
Fill the air with a Brahms Intermezzo
Evoking unexpected grief

Friday’s open mic night was great. I read 5 short poems, saving my favorite two (of the five) for the end. So why did I feel unsorted, out of control and uncertain I was on solid ground? Because of the last two poems. Though different in tone, each was about aging.

One was Life flew south last winter; the second was Feeling pretty. I admire the way George MacDonald writes poems about being an ‘old soul.’ Sometimes I think I’ve been just that all my life.

I’m used to hearing people my age and older describe unexpected aches, pain and grief. Usually health issues, but also loss of friends and family members.

I’m not, however, accustomed to hearing older women and men describing in poetic form their feelings of living with loss and unexpected health issues. Perhaps I’m not looking in the right places.

At any rate, I find writing about this time in my life is comforting and rewarding. Especially when it’s in poetic form. Reading a few of my poems Friday evening was icing on the cake. A vulnerable, somewhat scripted way of sharing pieces of my life with a mixed audience of children, young people and adults.

Then, on Sunday morning the offertory was Brahms Intermezzo in A Major Opus 118. A young woman performed it on the piano, from her heart and memory. She’s a member of our church and studies at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

I know this piece. I’ve played it many times, though not in the last few years. Her performance was magnificent, and I burst into sobs as others around me applauded. It wasn’t just the beauty of her playing. It was knowing that I’ll likely never again play the piano with that kind of freedom and confidence.

I’ve gained much in the last few years. Still, the losses sometimes undo me. Especially when they arrive unexpectedly in beautiful packages such as poems and music that evoke tears of grief and gratitude.

Happy Monday! I pray you’ll be surprised this week by gifts that undo you in a good way.
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 July 2018
Photo found at dancearchives.net

An everyday lament

For dying orchids, catbirds
and other occupants —

Paper-thin creamy petals
of an orchid blossom fold
and bow in death

Scattered feathers and small entrails
of a gray catbird litter the road this morning

Prisoners in and out of cells hang on
by spider-thin threads of hope

Children lost and abandoned
have no get-out-of-jail cards

Women and men found wandering
find few if any life-sustaining options

And that little mouse is now gone
except for its small helpless head

Written after my morning walk, and after discovering the first orchid blossom expired in my kitchen during the night. Likewise the little mouse a few days ago, set upon by a determined predator. You’ll find the rest in the news and in our neighborhoods any day or night of the week.

Not very likable, I admit. Yet our tears for losses great and small are invaluable connections to ourselves, to others, and to our Creator. We are, after all, living on borrowed time within a growing breakdown of human kindness and decency. We don’t have to be persons of a certain faith or even age to see, understand and grieve these daily realities.

Sabbath rest gives time to think not simply about the glories of creation, but about how much we’ve lost and how sad it all is. Our Creator honors our tears and, I believe, weeps with us. Tears of lament aren’t signs of weakness, but signs and sometimes celebrations of small connections we must renew if we want to thrive together.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 July 2018
Image found at blogs.covchurch.org

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