One Of my oldest and dearest friends sent me a book called EVERY MOMENT HOLY. It is a book of liturgies for every occasion. It was written by a theologian named Douglas McCelvey. One of the liturgies in this book is a liturgy for the anniversary of a loss. I read and re-read that liturgy several times yesterday. Here are some excerpts: “I have felt its approach in the back of my mind, O Lord, like a burden tilting toward me across the calendar. I have felt its long approach, and now it has arrived. This is the day that marks the anniversary of my loss and waking to it, I must drink again from the stream of a sorrow that cannot be fully remedied in this life. * ** I do not ask that these lingerings of grief be erased, but that the fingers of your grace would work this memory as a baker kneads a dough, till the leaven of rising hope transforms it from within, into a form holding now in that same sorrow the surety of your presence, so that when I look again at that loss, I see you in the deepest gloom of it, weeping with me. * * * Let this loss-hollowed day arrive in years to come as the kindling of a fire in my bones, spurring me to seek in this short life that which is eternal. Let the past wound, and the memory of it, push me to be present with you in ways that I was not before. Do not waste my greatest sorrows, O God, but use them to teach me to live in your presence – fully alive to pain and joy and sorrow and hope – in the places where my shattering and your shaping meet.”
It has taken me a long time to realize that grief; however much it hurts can lead to spiritual growth.
Lynn Jinks is an attorney with Jinks, Crow & Dickson, P.C.