The years pass and the lines seem to etch themselves more deeply into my face. Age brings wisdom, and a firm trade off between inexperienced beauty and intelligent grace. In addition to wisdom, age also brings a deep knowledge of one’s own mortality. Every decision becomes even more important and the some days become now or never.
Wisdom and the understanding of our fierce ability to love, becomes a deep-rooted presence. Fierce love for our parents, for our extended family, for our children and for our friends. Fierce love for those who have lost children or suffer in a way they never should have to suffer. We learn that the price for our ability to fiercely love is grief. Yes. Grief is the price we pay for love.
After September 11, 2001, Queen Elizabeth II sent the following message to New York and to our nation:
But nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love.
The truth of this statement is overwhelming. Think about a time when you have grieved. Perhaps it was when you were at a funeral and experienced the heart wrenching pain of mourning your loved one. You did not shed tears because they have experienced death. There are plenty of believers in heaven and redemption to negate that mourning is equated with the fact that someone has died. No. As humans, we shed our tears because we have loved and we have loved fiercely. We mourn and grieve over the voice we won’t hear again, the stories that will no longer be told at the family dinner table and the laughter that will no longer bubble out of hearts when we are with our loved one. We grieve for our own loss and the hole that is left in our hearts.
We grieve and we pay this price of love. It has been a price that humans have been paying since the dawn of man.
It’s possible that you are grieving at this moment. Maybe you have lost someone. Perhaps you grieve for a marriage, for someone who is sick or for the pain of another. You grieve because you have loved. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving.
Perhaps I am naive but I believe that after your tears have dried, it is time to stand up and love again. It is time to help others learn from your experience, to be the love that you have been given. This is how we honor that which we have lost. This is what it means to be human. We become better, we live better lives because of that love.