Somehow I Didn’t Punch Him In the Neck

So, remember when I was all lit about about the book When We Were on Fire?

And I invited all of you to read it and join me for a giant book club discussion over lattes and scones at the world’s biggest Starbucks which might just be in my imagination and an ethereal dream?

I’m still pretty fired up about this memoir.

(No pun intended.)  (Okay, yes it was.)  (It always is.)

Addie Zierman has become one of my favorite authors and contemporary theologians, and (…wait for it…) she invited me to write a guest post on her blog, to her audience, for the people who call her well-written and wise.

Today is the debut: Somehow I Didn’t Punch Him In the Neck.

Please go to Addie’s blog, and give yourself the pleasure of a virtual stroll.  Give her some love.

And order her book.

 

Not into my July

July, I have tried to pretend you don’t matter to me.
I’ve made little mention of any of your significance to me. I just wanted to slip through this month, fly under the radar, perhaps pay little attention to the dates and memories and forevers wrapped up in this seventh month of the year.

Yesterday, I received an email from the Melting Pot, inviting me to celebrate my anniversary with them again this year. Thank you, Melting Pot. I do believe it’s been four years since I’ve celebrated my wedding anniversary with you. All your specials and four-courses and cheeses and chocolates can’t make this anniversary anything but a memory.

Hallmark is dressed in red and green, featuring their Keepsake Ornaments. (Really?) I refuse to step into the store, but the colors come right out and make mean faces at me. Please, no. Don’t bring Christmas to my summer. Please. Not into my July.

Sometimes I cannot wrap my mind around all that I have lost.

You Let Me Impose

“SHE DIED ON a Monday during spring break of our senior year. After her funeral, I immediately went back to school because she had begged me to do so. It was the beginning of a new quarter. In most of my classes, we were asked to introduce ourselves and say what we had done over the break. “My name is Cheryl,” I said. “I went to Mexico.”

I lied not to protect myself, but because it would have been rude not to. To express loss on that level is to cross a boundary, to violate personal space, to impose emotion in a nonemotional place.

We did not always treat grief this way. Nearly every culture has a history, and some still have a practice, of mourning rituals, many of which involve changes in the dress or appearance of those in grief. The wearing of black clothing or mourning jewelry, hair cutting, and body sacrification or ritual tattooing all made the grief-stricken immediately visible to the people around them. Although it is true that these practices were sometimes ridiculously restrictive and not always in the best interest of the mourner, it is also true that they gave us something of value. They imposed evidence of loss on a community and forced that community to acknowledge it. If, as a culture, we don’t bear witness to grief, the burden of loss is placed entirely upon the bereaved, while the rest of us avert our eyes and wait for those in mourning to stop being sad, to let go, to move on, to cheer up. And if they don’t — if they have loved too deeply, if they do wake each morning thinking, I cannot continue to live — well, then we pathologize their pain; we call their suffering a disease.

We do not help them: we tell them that they need to get help.”

 

~ Cheryl Strayed

 

Thank you for bearing witness, for not averting your eyes.

You have let me into your personal space,

you have let me cross the boundary and talk about what isn’t talked about,

you have accepted my imposition,

  you have made room for my emotion.

As you have read, you have helped me.

You are a form of active listening.