Be Not Afraid to Grieve

Spirit of Life, Source of all aid:
now is a time of lamentation.

It seems the whole world is on fire.
The smoke hurts our eyes and our lungs,
making it hard to breathe.

Ash falls on every surface,
the gray and white powder all that remains
of innumerable beings who once were alive.

Help us know that our grief and our pain
are the appropriate response
to what is happening here.

If we are weighed down by misery
and can hardly move our limbs
we are experiencing the normal reaction
to catastrophic loss,
which is what this is.

It is appropriate to feel pain
because we are part
of the body that is burning.
Our body is burning
and it hurts.

The First Peoples in this place
knew how to use fire
for its proper function:
Renewer of Life.
Each year when it began to rain,
the people painted with the fire stick
lightly, gently, lovingly,
and they managed these dry hills and forests
for every kind of being under the sun.

Trees, birds, elk, shrubs, flowers, mushrooms, deer:
all were part of the great interwoven circles of life
and all flourished with the gentle use of fire.

But when the whites came and took away the lands
they didn’t learn how to care for them
and fire went from Renewer of Life
to Destroyer of All Things
and this is the cost of believing
Nature is something outside ourselves
and all beings exist to serve us:
we are burning ourselves alive.

And so we must grieve.
There is no other way through this mess.

We have to let ourselves feel this pain
because it arises from our interbeing
with all that is;
it arises from our love.

Only when we know in our bones
how deeply we inter-are with this world,
and how passionately we love it,
can we change how we act
from now on.

Spirit of Life, Source of all aid:
help us be not afraid to grieve.

Blessed be.