14 brave souls gather to grieve
a band of brothers daring to admit and touch the essential pain we each carry
wounded warriors coming to council to lick our wounds
in the private lair of men
we smudge each other with sage to purify and set our resolve
followed by a whiffing of sweet grass to invite in some softness
– the gentleness needed
we may be destroyed but we don’t have to destroy.
our stories shared, we hold space and gaze with kind eyes
the burnt plant smell drowned out now by the pungent perfume of compassion
in a world that would have us by-pass our pain and medicate or distract us from our wounds,
the hurt yurt offers a taste of the real medicine – the gift of each other
we brave hunters spend the afternoon finding our own places to stalk our grief on the 40 acres of rugged western land
there are steep cliffs to fall from and dangerous currents that could take us to doom
the solace of fierce landscapes helps the brave warriors to face the true danger – ourselves.
it’s come to this.
this really is happening.
we really came here.
and we’ll either grieve – or die.
it is a matter of life or death
the stories we’ve relied on have run their course
ignoring our pain or drinking it away isn’t working
our respective coping techniques – no longer serve and do more harm than good.
i descend a steep jagged ravine
passing spiky cacti, gnarled juniper, and sharp dried moss covered granite that would just as soon cut you as have you admire it
to arrive upon the river basin
barefoot and vulnerable i fjord the current heading upstream toward the falls that i know will cover my tears
and i cry…
torrential buckets of tears
like the tsunami that took hundreds of indonesian lives i cry
like noah’s flood i cry
but there’s no ark to save me and even if there were i’d have to board it alone
– not having a mate.
which brings me to the heart of my grief
i don’t just grieve the loss of a woman who i really thought Great Spirit had brought to me,
after 12 years divorced [a different woman], i grieve my dreams of remarrying as a gift to my son so that at least one of his parents might model a healthy relationship before he heads off to college.
that timeline – unreasonably short.
i grieve the loss of a dream
i grieve the death of an agenda
i give up my need to have a life-partner
i release the roger that needs to have someone in his life in order to be happy, content, or whole
I rise in my power knowing that I’m enough.
we return to the hurt yurt to engage in ritual
bathed in a shower of drumming,
we take turns entering a carpeted circle
touching the waters of our ancestors souls
mourning in mass,
the cries of 14 not-so-lone wolves bellow out across the canyon
Ahhh… ahh haaa haaa noo! Noo!
OHHH! ohh oh oh ah ha ah ah ah ah ah…..
we give it away
we give it all away
we grieve what was
we grieve what we had
we grieve the illusions
we grieve to live
thank God for men’s labor pains of love.
– roger wolsey, April 8, 2017
Offered as a reminder that when things die, new life can happen. The transition hurts. We hurt because we loved. Our hurt is a sign of our strength and our capacity to really love. We can love again. We can hurt again. We are strong. We are lovers.
Blessings on our journeys.
Rev. Roger Wolsey is a United Methodist pastor and author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity