EASTER SCHEDULE

SUN, April 17: EASTER

  • SUNRISE WORSHIP 
    5:45am • End of Presidential Drive off Tin Mine Rd, Jackson
    • in-person & live-streaming to FB [weather-permitting])
    • Sunrise = 5:58am
    • Donuts & Coffee @ service provided by deacons
  • EASTER SUNDAY WORSHIP with Flowering of the Cross
    10:30am • JCC (in-person & zoom)
    • Zoom link and password required. Contact jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org
    • JCC Virtual Choral Anthem: Easter Song
    • Guest musician: Dominique Dodge, Harp
    • Flowering the Cross
    • Alan Labrie’s last day as organist
  • EASTER EGG HUNT
    11:30-2pm • JCC Campus and around the village loop (part of Jackson-wide egg hunt sponsored by Chamber)

Reflections on Holy Friday: last seven words

1. Forgiveness, 2. Salvation, 3. Relationship, 4. Abandonment, 5. Distress, 6. Triumph and 7. Reunion.

  1. Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.
  2. Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
  3. John 19:26–27: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.
  4. Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34: My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
  5. John 19:28: I thirst.
  6. John 19:30: It is finished.
  7. Luke 23:46: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

MUSIC BASED on CHRIST’S LAST SEVEN WORDS:

PRAYERS and COMMENTARY BASED on LAST SEVEN WORDS

PRAYER about FORGIVENESS

Forgive me that I have not loved enough. Forgive me so that I can love you and others, no matter what their sins may be. Forgive me that I have not fully believed in the possibility and power of forgiveness. Forgive me so that I can forgive— others and myself. Amen.
—Maren Tirabassi and Joan Jordan Grant

FORGIVE

If I develop bad feelings toward those who make me suffer, this will only destroy my own peace of mind. But if I forgive, my mind becomes calm. — Dalai Lama

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Rev Dr Martin Luther King

What I refuse to forgive continues to harm me. It consumes my heart, poisons my mind, drains my energies and cements my soul. — Sr. Joan Chiitster

Well, probably the most radical part … is that it begins with kindness to yourself in the same measure with which you would be very, very kind to others. Sort of automatically — especially women — [we] are outgoingly warm and friendly to other people because we were raised to believe that this was where our value lay. And yet with ourselves, men and women both, we tend to be harsh. And we tend to be easily exasperated with ourselves.
    So, the radical part of kindness is about stroking your own shoulder and stopping the bad self-talk. And that’s where my belief in healing — both ourselves and our families and the world — begins, is that we put our own oxygen masks on first.
    I mean, the hardest work we do is forgiveness. But for me, it’s easier to forgive someone I just abhor, than it is to forgive myself some of the time. I am so exasperated, and kind of stunned by how disappointingly I behave. Eventually, I forgive everyone, because there’s that old saying that “not forgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for the rat to die.” And we’re the one who suffers from holding onto resentments and staying clenched up, and bitter. — Anne Lamott… I read this, which is at the very heart of [Viktor] Frankl’s teaching: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Each moment is a choice. No matter how frustrating or boring or constraining or painful or oppressive our experience, we can always choose how we respond. And I finally begin to understand that I, too, have a choice. This realization will change my life…
    The choice to accept myself as I am: human, imperfect. And the choice to be responsible for my own happiness. To forgive my flaws and reclaim my innocence. To stop asking why I deserved to survive. To function as well as I can, to commit myself to serve others, to do everything in my power to honor my parents, to see to it that they did not die in vain. To do my best, in my limited capacity, so future generations don’t experience what I did. To be useful, to be used up, to survive and to thrive so I can use every moment to make the world a better place. And to finally, finally stop running from the past. To do everything possible to redeem it, and then let it go. I can make the choice that all of us can make. I can’t ever change the past. But there is a life I can save: It is mine. The one I am living right now, this precious moment…
    And to the vast campus of death that consumed my parents and so very many others, to the … horror that still had something sacred to teach me about how to live—that I was victimized but I’m not a victim, that I was hurt but not broken, that the soul never dies, that meaning and purpose can come from deep in the heart of what hurts us the most—I utter my final words. Goodbye, I say. And, Thank you. Thank you for life, and for the ability to finally accept the life that is. — Dr Edith Eger (Holocaust survivor)

To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger. However, when I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person. A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator. If you can find it in yourself to forgive, then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator. — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him. — CS Lewis

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. — CS Lewis

… Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Jesus always seems to be pairing God’s forgiveness of us with our forgiveness of others. But why? Why is he always pairing them together? I kind of always thought that it was a way of guilting us into forgiving others … Our human culture would say that evil is fought through justice and might. The way we combat evil is by making sure that people get what they have coming to them. An eye for an eye. You attack me and I’ll attack you. Fair is fair. … Because it would seem that when we are sinned against, when someone else harms us, that we are in some way linked to that sin, connected to that mistreatment like a chain through which we absorb it. And we know that our anger, fear, or resentment doesn’t free us at all…it keeps us chained. And evil persists. Sin abounds. Brokenness prevails… But Richard Rohr reminds us that we can tell a lot by what a person does with their suffering: do they transmit it or do they transform it? So while it’s true that God may not prevent evil, and we may never fully understand why… God does have a way of combating evil. It’s not punishment and it’s not retaliation, fear, or anger. It’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is God’s way of combating evil. Of course this offends our impulse for justice or retaliation. But that’s the God revealed in Jesus. Like it or not, this is what we see at the cross. At Calvary, God allows our human system of scape-goating, fear, and retaliation to play its natural course, which ends as it always does: in the suffering of God. And then in turn, God shows us God’s system by not even lifting a finger to condemn those who put him on the cross, but instead proclaims, of all things, forgiveness… But the problem with this is: doesn’t forgiving a sin against us, or an evil done to many, come perilously close to saying that what they did was okay? Isn’t forgiving over and over just the thing that keeps battered women battered? … I thought that maybe forgiveness is actually the opposite of saying that what someone has done is okay…it’s saying it’s so not okay that I am not going to absorb it any more. I simply won’t be tied to it. … That’s why we need to forgive. Because we can’t be bound to that kind of evil. Lest it find the evil in our own hearts and make its home there.—Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber

PRAYER about SALVATION

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. — Thomas Merton

SALVATION

I used to think that being saved from my sins meant being saved from hell. Salvation was something that kicked in after death, like a gift that had “Do not open until eternity” on the tag…It was something that happened once but applied for all eternity—once saved, always saved. 
     … Jesus came to offer more than just salvation from hell. I realized this when I encountered Jesus the radical rabbi and reexamined my life in light of his teachings. When I imagined what it would be like to give generously without wondering what is in it for me, to give up my grudges and learn to diffuse hatred with love, to stop judging other people once and for all, to care for the poor and seek out the downtrodden, to finally believe that stuff can’t make me happy, to give up my urge to gossip and manipulate, to worry less about what other people think, to refuse to retaliate no matter the cost, to be capable of forgiving to the point of death, to live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loved, one word came to my mind: liberation.
      Following Jesus would mean liberation from my bitterness, my worry, my self-righteousness, my prejudice, my selfishness, my materialism, and my misplaced loyalties. Following Jesus would mean salvation from my sin.
      What I’m trying to say is that while I still believe Jesus died to save us from our sins, I’m beginning to think that Jesus also lived to save us from our sins. the apostle Paul put it more eloquently in his letter to the church in Rome when he said, ‘For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to hi m through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10).
     If it’s starting to sound like I believe in works-based salvation , it’s because I do. While I don’t for a second think that we can earn God’s grace by checking off a to-do list, I do believe that there is liberation in obedience. When we live like Jesus, when we take his teachings seriously and apply them to life, we don’t have to wait until we die to experience freedom from sin. We experience it every day as each step of faith and every good work loosens the chains of sin around our feet. It’s hard, and it’s something that I fail at most of the time, but it’s something I’ve experienced in little fits and starts along the way, enough to know that it’s worth it. Jesus promised that his yoke will be light, because he carries most of the load.  — Rachel Held Evans

God’s grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings. My failings hurt me and others and even the planet, and God’s grace to me is that my brokenness is not the final word … it’s that God makes beautiful things out of even my own shit. Grace isn’t about God creating humans and flawed beings and then acting all hurt when we inevitably fail and then stepping in like the hero to grant us grace – like saying, “Oh, it’s OK, I’ll be the good guy and forgive you.” It’s God saying, “I love the world too much to let your sin define you and be the final word. I am a God who makes all things new. —Rev  Nadia Bolz-Weber

However we imagine the intent of the question, Jesus’ answer is disquieting. The way to salvation – and we should keep in mind that the word we translate as “saved” also means “to be made whole” and “to be healed” – is narrow, challenging, not a given. Beyond that, oddly, Jesus doesn’t say a lot. Strive to enter by the narrow way. That’s about it…. What, then, is the narrow way? I suppose that if, at this point… we still need to ask, we probably aren’t on it. Because from beginning to end Jesus is on the side of the down and out, the dispossessed, the poor, the sick, those in need… So does this mean that only the poor will experience salvation/healing/wholeness? Or only the poor and those who side with them?
    I also think it might be worthwhile hearing that, to Jesus, the narrow way – the way God invites us to walk given all the other options that are available to us – is to care for those around us, to be generous with what we have, to recognize that blessing is always given to be shared, and to look out especially for those in need.
    So perhaps the best way to address the question of salvation is to resist the urge to see it as a place or goal or prize but instead to reclaim the larger meaning of the word and hear it as both command and invitation to seize salvation, healing, and wholeness right now by joining ourselves to those around us and living into the kingdom and community of God that Jesus proclaims.
    Perhaps the best way to deal with the question of salvation, that is, is to stop worrying about it and instead simply live as those people who are already saved by the grace of God and therefore free to share all that we have and are with those around us. — Rev. David Lose

So we are called to love both Jesus and Christ. You can begin with either Jesus or Christ, but eventually it is easiest to love both. Too many Christians have started and stopped with Jesus, never knowing the universal Christ. Many non-Christians have started with loving the Christ by another name. I have met Hindus, Muslims, and Jews who live in this hidden mystery of oneness; and I have met many Roman Catholics and Protestants who are running away from the Christ Mystery, as either practical materialists or pious spiritualists.
    Tertullian (160–225), who is called “the father of Western theology,” rightly taught that “the flesh is the hinge of salvation” (Caro salutis est cardo). [1] The incarnation of flesh and Spirit is Christianity’s most important contribution to spirituality, and this is the meaning of “The Christ,” although you do not need to name it as such.
    Now “the world, life and death, the present and the future are all your servants, for you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23). Full salvation is finally universal belonging and universal connecting. Our Christian word for that is “heaven.” This is why Jesus can say to a man dying in time, “This day you are with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The Christ is now, here, everywhere, and always.— Richard Rohr

… Scripture is very clear about the place of work in human life. The Book of Genesis is explicit: we were put into the Garden “to till and to keep it.” We work to complete the work of God in the world. Work, then, may be the most sanctifying thing we do.
     The implications of a spirituality of work in a world such as ours are clear, it seems. Work is my gift to the world. It is my social fruitfulness. It ties me to my neighbor and binds me to the future.
     Work is the way I am saved from total self-centeredness. It gives me a reason to exist that is larger than myself. It makes me part of possibility. It gives me hope. Martin Luther wrote: “If I knew that the world would end tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today.”
     Work gives me a place in salvation. It helps redeem the world from sin. It enables creation to go on creating. It brings us all one step closer to what the reign of God is meant to be. 
     
Finally, work is the way we really live in solidarity with the poor of the world. Work is our commitment not to live off others, not to sponge, not to shirk, not to cheat.
     Work is our sign that God goes on working in the world through us. It is the very stuff of divine ambition. And it will never be over. The philosopher wrote, “Do you want a test to know if your work in life is over? If you are still alive, it isn’t.” God needs us to complete God’s work. Now. — Sr. Joan Chittister

PRAYER for RELATIONSHIP

Please Call Me By My True Names
— Thich Nhat Hanh

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow—
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am also the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up
and the door of my heart
could be left open,
the door of compassion.

RELATIONSHIP

Only holiness will call people to listen now. And the work of holiness is not about perfection or niceness; it is about belonging, that sense of being in the Presence and through the quality of that belonging, the mild magnetic of implicating others in the Presence. This is not about forging a relationship with a distant God but about the realization that we are already within God.
― John O’Donohue 

It seems that this YHWH who is uncovering and showing Godself in the Bible desires not just images or ideas, but even persons with whom God can be in very concrete and intimate relationship. God is creating, quite literally, some friends for God! Jesus became the full representation of one who accepted and lived that friendship. In fact, he never seemed to doubt it. That must be at the core of our imitation of Jesus, and exactly how we become “partners in his triumph” — Fr. Richard Rohr

The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can’t, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us. Most especially in the Eucharist and in the stranger. ― Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber

One of the most destructive mistakes we Christians make is to prioritize shared beliefs over shared relationship, which is deeply ironic considering we worship a God who would rather die than lose relationship with us. — Rachel Held Evans

Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. — Dalai Lama

But the gospel doesn’t need a coalition devoted to keeping the wrong people out. It needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors, and shouting, “Welcome! There’s bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk.” This isn’t a kingdom for the worthy; it’s a kingdom for the hungry. — Rachel Held Evans

PRAYER of ABANDONMENT

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen. — Thomas Merton

ABANDONMENT

Who hasn’t said, “Don’t you care?” Who hasn’t experienced death or isolation or chaos or anxiety or just simple raw human pain and not felt that God was by all appearances lazily sleeping through it? Surely if God cared about me, God would change my life circumstances to suit my preferences—or maybe God could have kept the tragic, painful thing from happening in the first place.
     When we are fearful or angry we feel as though God has abandoned us, or at least fallen asleep on a comfy cushion…. When storms arise and people die and we suffer and our friends abandon us, we assume God has fallen down on the job. Again. —Rev Nadia Bolz-WeberWe have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us. We have fulfilled the danger of this by making our personal pride and greed the standard of our behavior toward the world – to the incalculable disadvantage of the world and every living thing in it. And now, perhaps very close to too late, our great error has become clear. It is not only our own creativity – our own capacity for life – that is stifled by our arrogant assumption; the creation itself is stifled.
     We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it. We must learn to cooperate in its processes, and to yield to its limits. But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it. — Wendell Berry

The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But transformation more often happens not when something new begins but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart—disruption and chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is not working anymore. The mystics use many words to describe this chaos: fire, darkness, death, emptiness, abandonment, trial, the Evil One. Whatever it is, it does not feel good and it does not feel like God. We will do anything to keep the old thing from falling apart.
    This is when we need patience, guidance, and the freedom to let go instead of tightening our controls and certitudes. Perhaps Jesus is describing this phenomenon when he says, “It is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14). Not accidentally, he mentions this narrow road right after teaching the Golden Rule. Jesus knows how much letting go it takes to “treat others as you would like them to treat you” (7:12).
   …. In the moments of insecurity and crisis, “shoulds” and “oughts” don’t really help; they just increase the shame, guilt, pressure, and likelihood of backsliding. It’s the deep “yeses” that carry you through. Focusing on something you absolutely believe in, that you’re committed to, will help you wait it out.— Fr. Richard Rohr

When the people of God abandoned the covenant of love and fidelity, drawn as we are by the appeal of shallow, empty pleasures, God removed every possible obstruction to the covenant by being faithful for us, by becoming like us and subjecting Himself to the very worst within us, loving us all the way to the cross and all the way out of the grave. — Rachel Held Evans

I am on the Deathbed; Go, rest your head on a pillow, leave me alone;
leave me ruined, exhausted from the journey of this night,
writhing in a wave of passion till the dawn.
Either stay and be forgiving,
or, if you like, be cruel and leave.
Flee from me, away from trouble;
take the path of safety, far from this danger.
We have crept into this corner of grief,
turning the water wheel with a flow of tears.
While a tyrant with a heart of flint slays,
and no one says, “Prepare to pay the blood money.”
Faith in the king comes easily in lovely times,
but be faithful now and endure, pale lover.
No cure exists for this pain but to die,
So why should I say, “Cure this pain”?
In a dream last night I saw
an ancient one in the garden of love,
beckoning with his hand, saying, “Come here.”
On this path, Love is the emerald,
the beautiful green that wards off dragons
Enough, I am losing myself.
If you are a man of learning,
read something classic
a history of the human struggle
and don’t settle for mediocre verse.

— Rumi

POEM about DISTRESS

When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of distress and anxiety.
If I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, without pain.
From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me.
There is a great secret in this for anyone who can grasp it. — Rumi

DISTRESS

Weeping is a very life-giving thing. It wizens the soul of the individual and it sounds alarms in society. The Book of Ecclesiastes may be nowhere more correct than here. There is definitely a time for weeping. If we do not weep on the personal level, we shall never understand other human beings. — Sr. Joan Chittister

… Transformation occurs only when we remember, breath by breath, year after year, to move toward our emotional distress without condemning or justifying our experience. — Pema Chodron

The beauty and strangeness of the world may fill the eyes with its cordial refreshment. Equally it may offer the heart a dish of terror. On one side is radiance; on another is the abyss. — Mary Oliver

Everything in life teaches us something about what it is to be human until, if we are listening and learning all our lives, we ourselves become everything we can possibly be. We begin the search for fullness of life at a very early age. We choose heroes, icons of what we ourselves would like to become
     All the heroes of my early life were people of action. I valued explorers, presidents, civil rights activists, suffragettes, friends and family members who were brave enough, decisive enough, strong enough to make things happen. It was only as I got older and people I loved began to die that I discovered the lesson, the courage of calm… In each of those situations a kind of chaos infected the world. Yet, at the same time, each of them brought with it a new kind of insight. No doubt about it: the lesson I learned from death was the lesson of calm. After all, what use was flailing and raging when life went inevitably on? Or, as the case may be, would not go on at all.
    The problem, of course, lies in learning to determine when calm is courageous and when chaos is holy. When is acceptance holy and chaos madness; when is chaos holy and acceptance weakness? Maybe we never know. But that’s not important. What is important is to keep asking the question and to develop the ability to be both resolutely calm and courageously holy as the situation demands.— Sr. Joan Chittister

In Search of Belief

I believe that Jesus Christ,
the unique son of God,
is the face of God
on earth
in whom we see best
the divine justice,
divine mercy,
and divine compassion
to which we are all called.

Through Christ
we become new people,
called beyond
the consequences
of our brokenness
and lifted to the fullness of life.

By the power
of the Holy Spirit
he was born
of the woman Mary,
pure in soul
and single-hearted—
a sign to the ages
of the exalted place
of womankind
in the divine plan
of human salvation.

He grew as we grow
through all the stages of life.
He lived as we live
prey to the pressures of evil
and intent on the good.

He broke no bonds
with the world
to which he was bound.
He sinned not.
He never strayed
from the mind of God.

He showed us the Way,
lived it for us,
suffered from it,
and died because of it
so that we might live
with new heart, new mind,
and new strength
despite all the death
to which
we are daily subjected.

edited from “A Creed,” In Search of Belief by Joan Chittister

PRAYER FOR WHAT WE COULD HAVE BEEN

O thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being. We humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbor as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive, we love our friends and hate our enemies, we go the first mile but dare not travel the second, we forgive but dare not to forget. And so as we look within ourselves we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives us the history of an eternal revolt against thee. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know thy will. Give us the courage to do thy will. Give us the devotion to love thy will. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray. Amen. — Rev Dr Martin Luther King

TRIUMPH

I’d like to quickly make a case that we have experienced way too much death and grief and loss to skip holy week. … because people were going from the triumphant “Hosanna” of Palm Sunday to the glorious “He is Risen” of Easter Sunday without ever going through the horrifying “Crucify him!” of Good Friday.  — Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. ― Albert Camus 

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow. ― Thomas Paine 

Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory. ― John Steinbeck

I believe the second coming of Christ is the triumph of love. We should always strive for the grand resurrection, but really it is given as a gift. — Fr Richard Rohr

The Christian is called, with the grace of God invoked in prayer, to a sometimes heroic commitment. In this he or she is sustained by the virtue of fortitude, whereby — as Gregory the Great teaches — one can actually “love the difficulties of this world for the sake of eternal rewards.” — Pope John Paul II

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

 Mary Oliver

REUNION

More than anything else — more than our obedience, more than our hard work, more than keeping the law — more than anything God wants to be with us. God wants the family to be together, relationships restored and whole. — Rev Louise Westfall

The life of a good man who has died belongs to the people who cared about him, and ought to, and maybe itself is as much comfort as ought to be asked or offered. And surely the talk of reunion in Heaven is thin comfort to people who need each other here as much as we do. I ain’t saying I don’t believe there’s a Heaven. I surely do hope there is. That would pay off a lot of mortgages. But I do say it ain’t easy to believe. And even while I hope for it, I’ve got to admit I’d rather go to Port William.
– Wendell Berry (fictional character’s voice)

The sun has come. The mist has gone. We see in the distance… our long way home. I was always yours to have. You were always mine. We have loved each other in and out of time. When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor I had always loved you more. You freed your braids… gave your hair to the breeze. It hummed like a hive of honey bees. I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there… Mmmm… God how I love your hair. You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance. Lost, injured, hurt by chance. I screamed to the heavens… loudly screamed… Trying to change our nightmares into dreams… The sun has come. The mist has gone. We see in the distance our long way home. I was always yours to have. You were always mine. We have loved each other in and out in and out, in and out of time.  — attributed to Maya Angelou

With God, death is never the end of the story. — Rachel Held Evans

Do any of us really understand it? I think anyone who claims certainty on what happens after we die is to some degree pretending, because we can’t know, but we can have hope. We can hope in resurrection, we can hope in some form of reunion with those we love. We can hope that memories live on. — Jeff Chu

Reflections on journeys: asking for help, and the entry into Passion Week

The imperative “Hosanna!” means “Save us now!” — Minoo Kim

We have a shared destiny, a shared responsibility to save the world from those who attempt to destroy it. — Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

There are many different kinds of power. True power comes from serving and helping others.— Dalai Lama

We need enlightenment, not just individually but collectively, to save the planet. We need to awaken ourselves. We need to practice mindfulness if we want to have a future, if we want to save ourselves and the planet. — Thich Nhat Hanh

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you. — Mother Teresa

Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It’s one of the bravest things you can do. And it can save your life. — Lily Collins

It may sound paradoxical, but strength comes from vulnerability. You have to ask the question to get the answer, even though asking the question means you didn’t know. —  Majid Kazmi

You can always give something, even if it is only kindness. — Anne Frank

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. — Barbara De Angelis

SONGS about ‘HOSANNA’ (Save Us):

SONGS about ASKING FOR or GIVING HELP:

BLESSING of PALMS — Jan Richardson

This blessing can be heard coming
from a long way off.

This blessing is making its steady way
up the road toward you.

This blessing blooms in the throats of women,
springs from the hearts of men,
tumbles out of the mouths of children.

This blessing is stitched into
the seams of the cloaks
that line the road,
etched into the branches
that trace the path,
echoes in the breathing
of the willing colt,
the click of the donkey’s hoof
against the stones.

Something is rising beneath this blessing.
Something will try to drown it out.

But this blessing cannot be turned back,
cannot be made to still its voice,
cannot cease to sing its praise
of the One who comes along the way it makes.

PALM SUNDAY: A Detail of the Stoy
— Maren Tirabassi

First, untie the donkey
the one that’s standing at the gate
waiting to be untied —

from some sorrow
or some guilt,
from somebody else’s judgment –
too young for the ride, or too old,
too much tattoo ink on the skin,
parkinsons in the hands,
pregnant in the belly.

First, untie the donkey,
the one that’s standing at the gate
waiting to be untied –

from some abusive relationship
or some really intricate
self-made knots,
because what binds
always pretends to be a blessing.

This is just the donkey God wants
for the ride –
this burro with no documents,
or others not-yet-ridden
because they are –
gender-queer, recovery-thin,
on-the-spectrum.

So, first untie the donkey –
this one –
the one who needs a parade,
the one willing to carry both joy
and the premonition of cross,

the one embracing
a day of song and danger,
fetlock deep in palms,
and a life that will echo … Hosanna.

PRAYERS ASKING to RECEIVE or OFFER HELP

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. Amen. — St Teresa of Avila

I prayed for change, so I changed my mind. I prayed for guidance and learned to trust myself. I prayed for happiness and realized I am not my ego. I prayed for peace and learned to accept others unconditionally. I prayed for abundance and realized my doubt kept it out. I prayed for wealth and realized it is my health. I prayed for a miracle and realized I am the miracle. I prayed for a soul mate and realized I am the One. I prayed for love and realized it’s always knocking, but I have to allow it in. — Rumi

His Holiness Dalai Lama’s DAILY PRAYER
Excerpt from Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.
May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil, or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.
May the blind see forms
And the deaf hear sounds,
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.
May the naked find clothing,
The hungry find food;
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks.
May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy;
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness, and prosperity.
May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests;
May all medicines be effective
And wholesome prayers bear fruit.
May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May they never occur again.
May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed;
May the powerless find power,
And may people think of benefiting each other.
For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world.

Most Gracious and all wise God; Before whose face the generations rise and fall; Thou in whom we live, and move, and have our being. We thank thee for all of thy good and gracious gifts, for life and for health; for food and for raiment; for the beauties of nature and the love of human nature. We come before thee painfully aware of our inadequecies and shortcomings. We realize that we stand surrounded with the mountains of love and we deliberately dwell in the valley of hate. We stand amid the forces of truth and deliberately lie; We are forever offered the high road and yet we choose to travel the low road. For these sins O God forgive. Break the spell of that which blinds our minds. Purify our hearts that we may see thee. O God in these turbulent day when fear and doubt are mounting high give us broad visions, penetrating eys, and power of endurance. Help us to work with rewed vigor for a warless world, for a better distribution of wealth, and for a brotherhood that transcends race or color. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray. Amen. — Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Try this prayer [following]… Yes, I borrowed the language from Princess Leia. Truth is truth! But seriously, our need is not for manna … but for Emmanuel. — Porter Case Taylor : “THIS DAY IS MY DARKEST HOUR. HELP ME LORD. YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE.”

Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life.  Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far off goals.  Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength.  Deliver us from the fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world.  Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them.  Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of the world made new. — Eleanor Roosevelt

O Lord, my God you are my refuge and my strength. You are my ever-present help in times of trouble. When it seems like my world is crumbling around me and I am thrown around by the storms of my life, take away my fear. When I am weak, you are my strength. When I am vulnerable, you are my refuge. When I cry for help, you will answer. Remind me Lord that you are always with me, you will never leave or forsake me. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. — from Connectus.com

May we realize that this earth is sacred and live accordingly.
May the suffering arising from oppression, hatred, and fear be righted and remedied.
May all those in the grips of insecurity be released to the safety of understanding.
May those weighed down by grief be given over to compassion.
May those lost in delusion find relief in the path of wisdom.
May all wounds to forests, rivers, deserts, oceans, all wounds to the earth be witnessed and healed through our right action.
May we work for the ending of suffering from consumerism, the climate catastrophe, war, economic disparity, racism, sexual violence, and the abuse of children.
May those in refugee camps and prisons find their way home, with our support.
May those who are alone or abandoned by friends and family, and those who are unsheltered find a safe and loving harbor in community.
May we have deep time in practice with each other and in the solitudes, to be taught by sangha and by silence, so that we have the courage and equanimity to be a source of love and wisdom for all beings.
May we all have the health, wisdom, and energy to serve in the years ahead.
May all awaken and awaken others.
— Roshi Joan Halifax

O God, make for me a light in my heart, a light in my ears, a light in my eyes, a light in my hair, a light in my skin’s surface, a light in my flesh, a light in my blood, a light in front of me, a light behind me, a light below me, a light above me, a light from my right (side), and a light from my left (side). O God, increase for me a light, give me a light, and make me a light– O Light of Light in Your (Infinite) Compassion! O Most Merciful of those who are merciful!. — Rumi

Lord, you are closer to me than my own breath, nearer to me than my
hands and feet. Amen. — St Teresa of Avila

Universal Prayer
 Sri Swami Sivananda

O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love!
Salutations and prostrations unto Thee.
Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.
Thou art Satchidananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute).
Thou art the Indweller of all beings.

Grant us an understanding heart,
Equal vision, balanced mind,
Faith, devotion and wisdom.
Grant us inner spiritual strength
To resist temptations and to control the mind.
Free us from egoism, lust, greed, hatred, anger and jealousy.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues.

Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us ever remember Thee.
Let us ever sing Thy glories.
Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.
Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

Let Us Be United
— Rig Veda

Let us be united;
Let us speak in harmony;
Let our minds apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer,
Common be the end of our assembly;
Common be our resolution;
Common be our deliberations.
Alike be our feelings;
Unified be our hearts;
Common be our intentions;
Perfect be our unity.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate or The Lorica  (excerpt)
(see notes on full text: https://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/st-patricks-breastplate.html)


I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding …

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every [person[ who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
of the Lord of creation.

HOSANNA: Asking for Help, Crying Out “Save Us”

Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help. — Brené Brown.

Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain. — Robert A. Cook

When a person’s down in the world, I think an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching. —  Edward Bulwer-Lytton

You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want. —  Zig Ziglar

When we feel weak, we drop our heads on the shoulders of others. Don’t get mad when someone does that…Be honored. For that person trusted you enough to, even if subtly, ask you for help. — Lori Goodwin

If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones. — John Steinbeck

When you’re too religious, you tend to point your finger to judge instead of extending your hand to help. —Steve Maraboli

Life provides ample opportunity to test our mettle. When circumstances call for it, let’s give ourselves a break and ask for help. — Gina Greenlee

Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful. —  Ric OcasekBeing first to ask for help in a friendship takes courage and humility. — Afton Rorvik

Take the risk to ask for whatever you need and want. If someone says no, you will not lose anything. If someone says yes, you have a lot to gain. — Abhishek Ratna

However, if you find you can’t help yourself, there’s no shame in asking others for help. Sometimes asking for help is just as heroic as giving it. — Chris Colfer

In our communion with God, we are so busy presenting our problems, asking for help, seeking relief that we leave no moments of silence to listen for God’s answers. — Alice Hegan Rice

The only mistake you can make is not asking for help. — Sandeep Jauhar

There is no shame in asking for help; it is one the most courageous things you’ll ever do and will lead to greater connection with those around you. — Laura Lane

Sometimes the loudest cries for help are silent. — Harlan Coben

There’s freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing that you won’t be able to save or rescue your daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you’ve reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin, because when you’re still in the state of trying to fix the unfixable, everything bad is engaged: the chatter of your mind, the tension of your physiology, all the trunks and wheel-ons you carry from the past. It’s exhausting, crazy-making. — Anne Lamott

GIVING HELP

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. —  Audrey Hepburn

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. — Dalai Lama

Nothing makes one feel so strong as a call for help. — Pope Paul VI

I believe the world is one big family, and we need to help each other. — Jet Li

Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way. — Swami Vivekananda

The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, having bestowed all he has on others, he has yet more; having given all he has to others, he is richer still. — Lao Tzu

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. —Muhammad Ali

He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it. — Dante Alighieri

Hail to the man who went through life always helping others, knowing no fear, and to whom aggressiveness and resentment are alien. Such is the stuff of which the great moral leaders are made. — Albert Einstein

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, What’s in it for me? — Brian Tracy

Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. — Andre Agassi

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. —Ronald Reagan

I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. — Charles de Lint

Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. — Princess Diana

You’ve heard it said that when all else fails, follow instructions. So we breathe, try to slow down and pay attention, try to love and help God’s other children, and – hardest of all, at least to me – learn to love our depressing, hilarious, mostly decent selves. We get thirsty people water, read to the very young and old, and listen to the sad. We pick up litter and try to leave the world a slightly better place for our stay here. Those are the basic instructions, to which I can add only: Amen. ― Anne Lamott

Asking for help is courageous — Command Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Mazzone, 6th Air Mobility WIngm, Air Force
 In the 1990s it was not uncommon for an Airman to hear the phrase “Suck it up!” It was also rare to find the supervisor who would encourage Airmen to seek help to work through mental health concerns … We have the opportunity to break the cycle. Are you up for the challenge?

In 2004, a technical sergeant found himself sitting in a corner of a darkened room in the back of his house, sobbing. He was alone, and his life had just fallen out from under his feet. For over 30 hours he sat there, cried there and slept there. He didn’t eat and he didn’t drink. He simply stared at the emptiness in front of him, wondering how this had happened. How had his life gone from seemingly normal to quiet chaos in less than a day? He didn’t know how to ask for help.

He was in no condition to dissect his situation, as he lacked rational thought and had just sustained fresh, deep emotional wounds. Sitting in that corner, he challenged his faith, asking how his God could allow something so wicked to occur. He challenged himself, wondering if he didn’t do enough to keep this from happening. The phone rang as he sat there. He thought about unplugging it, but it was too far away. He wondered about “making the pain go away,” but instead he rolled over to fall asleep yet again. This time he awoke to the sound of his name being yelled in his own house. He never cried out “I’m back here; please help me!”

When they found him, he was a wreck. His legs were weak and he didn’t want to move. He just wanted his life back … he wanted his family back. He wanted things to be the way they were before, even though he knew that was not possible. One person walked him to the living room couch. Another got him some water. They sat there in silence with him, waiting patiently, hoping he would say something. He was ashamed and didn’t speak. He couldn’t stomach the thought of people knowing about this, even if they were his friends. He felt they wouldn’t be able to do anything for him, and he never asked them to find someone who could help.

One of them contacted the first sergeant, who arrived soon after. Together, they started doing things for him … simple things. They turned on the shower, they got him clean clothes, they made him a bowl of cereal and they drove him to see his commander. He sat in the office, his commander making the time to listen to nothing being said, only the sobs of a broken man. Finally, he was asked if he would like to see a chaplain or someone from Mental Health.

I said “no,” because I was scared and because that’s the way I was raised in the Air Force. I was taught that seeking help was a sign of weakness, that it hurt careers and it could negatively impact the mission. My commander didn’t force me. Instead he made a deal with me. He made me promise to answer the door no matter what time there was a knock, and to answer the phone at any hour. He pulled me from the flight schedule to ensure my personal safety and the safety of my fellow crewmates. He knew my passion for history and instructed me to begin a research project for the unit. All the while, he reminded me constantly of my options to speak with someone, and that it was a path back to wellness. After weeks of not smiling and busy work meant to keep my mind occupied, I finally told someone I was ready to talk.

There was no pause. I was immediately driven the 15 miles to our supporting hospital, and met with someone who wanted only to learn about what happened to make me go through the pain I felt. She gained my trust, assuring me that these steps to heal myself were courageous. It took time, but I worked through it. It took friends who legitimately cared about me and did whatever was needed. It took a command team to let me know it was okay to expose my wounds, since that was the only way to heal them. It took more time, but I was finally back in the air, doing what I loved, safely. It took a lot of people doing a lot of things at just the right time to make sure I was cared for. They never let me feel as though I was on my own. It also took a patient and loving God to wait for me to come back, and to show me there is a purpose for everything.

… We should be inspiring our Airmen and conditioning them to seek whatever help they need in order to succeed personally and professionally. Healthy Airmen accomplish the mission efficiently, and with pride. Full link: https://www.afmc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/804148/commentary-asking-for-help-is-courageous/

How to Politely Ask for Help When You Really Need It: 7 Steps — Erica Krull (excerpt), full link: https://www.joincake.com/blog/ask-for-help/

Step 1: Take the Risk of Asking : People often don’t ask for help because they assume the person they ask might say “no.” The fear of rejection is strong, and nearly every human worries about this to some degree. Asking for help can be uncomfortable, and people want to avoid the embarrassment of rejection, so they say nothing. But several research studies have shown … People generally like to see themselves as useful and are often willing to take action when asked. That social pressure alone drives people to say, “how can I help,” even if they would hesitate for other reasons. …

Step 2: Clarify What Kind of Help You Need : Before you ask for help, clarify what you need. Knowing this can determine who you ask and what you need them to do. Think about your problem and decide what missing part matters the most. … Write down what you need so you can say it clearly. Make sure your list is simple and accurate so it’s easier to get the right kind of help.

Step 3: Be Thoughtful About Who to Ask : Once you know what kind of help you need, consider who to ask. Keep in mind you may need to speak to a few different people before you get the help you need.

  • Consider what kind of information you need. Do you need to speak to a professional? Or can a friend or family member help?
  • … pick someone that may have some knowledge and start there.
  • You may need to approach someone you’ve never met before … gather your courage and prepare to ask.

Step 4: Be Thoughtful About How to Ask: How you ask for help makes a big difference, so think about how you’d like someone to approach you. Use the following tips to improve your chances of getting a “yes”: 

  • Avoid making your request sound like a demand …
  • Appeal to them with kindness and humility …  show your vulnerability in some way….
  • Show trust and respect – Show a willingness to listen and learn …
  • Be considerate of timing – … avoid asking…at the last minute or odd times of the day … ask about a good time to talk.

Step 5: Be Specific: Use news-gathering questions to get more specific about what you need to ask.

  • Who – Who needs help? Clarify if it’s only you or if others are involved.
  • How – How will their actions help you? Explain what you have tried already and where you fall short.
  • Why – Why did you choose them to help you? Mention their expertise, a referral, or your personal connection.
  • Where – Where do you need to have help? Narrow down the part that you need help with, or a physical location if that applies.
  • When – When do you need help? State a deadline, if you have one.
  • What – What is your specific need? Spell out what you want in plain language.

Step 6: “Can You Help Me?”

Ending your request with this question is another way to show your vulnerability … Even if the other person isn’t able to help … They might suggest different ways of getting assistance or other people to ask.Step 7: Give Help to Others 

Make a habit of offering your time and talents to others…

BLESSED IS the ONE
For Palm Sunday

— Jan Richardson

Blessed is the One
who comes to us
by the way of love
poured out with abandon.

Blessed is the One
who walks toward us
by the way of grace
that holds us fast.

Blessed is the One
who calls us to follow
in the way of blessing,
in the path of joy.

HOSANNA COMMENTARY

… tongue-speak, hosanna, holy, the kind of clarion call that would make Maya Angelou hoot and James Baldwin holler. — Robert Jones Jr.  

It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.  — Fyodor Dostoyevsky

We should never forget that Jesus was executed in the name of “freedom and justice” … But the cross shames the ancient deception that freedom and justice can be attained by killing. The crowd believes this pernicious lie, but Christ never does. The Passover crowd shouted, “Hosanna!” (” Save now!”) until it realized that Jesus wouldn’t save them by killing their enemies; then it shouted, “Crucify him!” Jesus refused to be a messiah after the model of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Judah Maccabeus, William Wallace, or George Washington – and the crowd despises him for it. The crowd loves their violent heroes. The crowd is predisposed to believe in the idea that “freedom and justice” can be achieved by violence. — Brian Zahnd

I have never seen the swing from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify!” more graphically evoked than in the virtually insane way the crowd goes berserk when the  toreador makes an adroit turn, and they immediately follow this with insane howling and whistling when some mishap occurs. The momentary character of this mass mood goes so far that they applaud for the bull and against the toreador if, for example, the latter proves to be cowardly and quite understandably his courage fails him for a moment. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I have never been given these words in this way before. This small piece of gospel, three parts hosanna, two parts testimony, one part lamentation. — David Levithan

I do not know much about God and prayer, but I have come to believe, over the past twenty-five years, that there’s something to be said about keeping prayer simple. Help. Thanks. Wow. You may in fact be wondering what I even mean when I use the word “prayer.” It’s certainly not what TV Christians mean. It’s not for display purposes, like plastic sushi or neon. Prayer is private, even when we pray with others. It is communication from the heart to that which surpasses understanding. Let’s say it is communication from one’s heart to God. ― Anne Lamott

SAVE US: Commentary

Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers. — Simon Sinek 

In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. — Carl Sagan

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. — John F. Kennedy

With our love, we could save the world. — George Harrison

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. — John Muir

If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us. —David Suzuki

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t. — Audre Lord

Music will save the world. — Pablo Casals

We need to save the Arctic not because of the polar bears, and not because it is the most beautiful place in the world, but because our very survival depends upon it.— Lewis Gordon Pugh

The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery? — W.E.B. Dubois

I learned that I can’t save the world, but I can help a child at a time. — Afeni Shakur

Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives. — Tony Robbins

There are good people who are dealt a bad hand by fate, and bad people who live long, comfortable, privileged lives. A small twist of fate can save or end a life; random chance is a permanent, powerful player in each of our lives, and in human history as well. — Jeff Greenfield

If you want what you’re saying heard, then take your time and say it so that the listener will actually hear it. You might save somebody’s life. Your own, first. — Maya Angelou

The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does. — Allen Ginsberg

Mental health can improve overall well-being and prevent other illnesses. And since mental health problems have a serious economic impact on vulnerable communities, making them a priority can save lives and markedly improve people’s quality of life. — Vikram Patel

There is no person that love cannot heal; there is no soul that love cannot save. — Carlos Santana

I don’t believe our works save us, but I believe they follow us into heaven and bring glory to God. — Max Lucado

Bullying is killing our kids. Being different is killing our kids and the kids who are bullying are dying inside. We have to save our kids whether they are bullied or they are bullying. They are all in pain. — Cat Cora

It’s not new that architecture can profoundly affect a place, sometimes transform it. Architecture and any art can transform a person, even save someone. — Frank Gehry

But where do we even start on the daily walk of restoration and awakening? We start where we are. We find God in our human lives, and that includes the suffering. I get thirsty people glasses of water, even if that thirsty person is just me. My friend Tom goes through the neighborhood and picks up litter, knowing there will be just as much tomorrow. We visit those shut-ins whom a higher power seems to have entrusted to our care – various relatives, often aging and possibly annoying, or stricken friends from our church communities, people in jails or mental institutions who might be related to us, who benefit from hearing our own resurrection stories. My personal belief is that God looks through Her Rolodex when She has a certain kind of desperate person in Her care, and assigns that person to some screwed-up soul like you or me, and makes it hard for us to ignore that person’s suffering, so we show up even when it is extremely inconvenient or just awful to be there. ― Anne Lamott

HELP: 4 Tips to Ask for (and Get) Help — Jeffrey Davis, Psychology Today (excerpt)

1. Be concise and specific. Asking for and offering help can only be productive under one crucial condition: clear communication. Try to communicate your request as clearly and concisely as possible. There is no need to over-explain: simply describe what the task is, why it matters, and how the person you’re asking can contribute. Try to be as specific as possible so they know exactly what it is they will need to do and can accurately judge how much time and energy the task will take.

Furthermore, be willing to negotiate. Let them decide how much support they can offer and try to find a mutually beneficial solution.

2. Don’t apologize. Don’t apologize for asking for help. No one gets excited about a task that the asker feels the need to apologize for. We all need help sometimes and it’s nothing to be ashamed of—but apologizing makes it seem like you’re doing something wrong by asking and casts the task at hand in a negative light.

On that note, don’t minimize your need with phrases like “I hate to ask…” or “It’s just a small thing.” This suggests that their assistance is trivial and takes the joyous sense of accomplishment out of helping. After all, how am I supposed to feel if you “hate to ask” for my assistance? Similarly, don’t ask them to do you a favor. This can make people feel obliged to say yes.

3. Make it personal, not transactional. Don’t ask for help over email or text. Though it’s easier to send a written request, it’s also a lot easier to say no to one. Try to speak face to face or call. Studies show that face-to-face requests are 34 times more successful!

Make your request more personal by explaining why the person’s skills or expertise make them uniquely suited to this task. This casts them as a helpful person and not just another person you can resort to for help. Studies show that when people are asked to “be a generous donor”—rather than simply asked to donate—they are more likely to say yes and donate larger sums.

Finally, don’t emphasize reciprocity. While we tend to think that sweetening the deal with the promise of a returned favor is a good strategy, this kind of language makes your request feel transactional. People don’t like feeling indebted to others, and others are more likely to help you if you show genuine appreciation for their aid rather than assign their efforts a monetary value.

4. Follow up with results. Beyond expressing your gratitude, you should follow up with the helper to share the tangible results of their aid. As much as we’d like to think that acts of generosity are their own reward, the reality is that people long to feel effective. We want to feel that the work we do and the help we give matters. Take the time to show the people who help you why their support not only matters to you, but how it makes a larger impact on your life, work, or community.

5 Ways to Get Better at Asking for Help — Wayne Baker, Harvard Business Review (excerpt), full link: https://hbr.org/2014/12/5-ways-to-get-better-at-asking-for-help)

It seems like leaders are always lamenting the lack of cooperation and collaboration in their organizations. … the culprit isn’t their … unwillingness to give others a hand — it’s the fact that most people simply don’t, or won’t, ask for help.

Why? First, asking for help is often perceived as a sign of weakness or ignorance, implying that someone can’t get their work done on their own. A second common barrier is nervousness about incurring social debts or obligations — ”What do I owe this person now?”

Third, and for American workers in particular, personal values can get in the way. Self-reliance is one of the 10 core values that I recently documented in four national surveys, and while it’s an admirable trait, it’s also self-limiting. In today’s organizations, you can’t be successful if you don’t ask for what you need.

So how can you make asking for help easier? …

1. Earn responses to your requests by generously helping others in the first place. By building a positive reputation as someone who helps others; others will then want to help you — even those you haven’t directly helped …The desire to repay help appears to be hard-wired in the human species, as neuroscientists have shown … and the norm of reciprocity is so powerful that you can generally expect help if you’ve helped others. This also yields a psychological benefit for those wary of reaching out —it’s much easier to reconcile asking for help when you yourself have been helpful.

2. Know what you want to ask. This sounds elementary, but I’ve observed many people struggling with the task of coming up with a request. A common refrain is this: “I’ve always wanted to be in a room with knowledgeable, well-connected people and be able to ask for anything. But I can’t think of a thing!” Here’s something you can do to prepare for this situation: Focus on a current project and write down your goals for it. Take the most important goal and list the action steps and resources needed to achieve it — materials, information, data, or advice. You’ll then have a series of needs that you can frame as questions, using the SMART request methodology outlined below …

3. Ask SMARTly. Many requests are so poorly worded that it’s difficult to respond. A well-formulated request is SMART: Specific, Meaningful (why you need it), Action-oriented (ask for something to be done), Real(authentic, not made up), and Time-bound (when you need it). A SMART request is easier to respond to than one that is misses one or more of the five criteria.

4. Don’t assume you know who and what people know.Underestimating the willingness of others to help is a common mistake … The fact is, you never know what people know or how they can help until you ask … Even if those you ask can’t help you directly, they can tap their personal and professional networks. Until you ask, you don’t know who other people know…

5. Create a culture where asking for help is encouraged. Make it easy to ask for and give help by setting the tone, norms, and practices in your work environment. Industrial design firm IDEO has strong norms that motivate asking for and giving help … in this culture of helping designers are coached from the get-go to expect that they will need help and to ask for it. Watching others give and get help reinforces norms and creates a feeling of psychological safety. IDEO’s leaders model behaviors by asking for and giving help.

Reflections on journeys: letting go, weeping, and rising again

That even as we grieved, we grew,
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
— Amanda Gorman (excerpt of poem)


To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ― Pema Chödrön


Your life is an occasion. Rise to it. — Suzanne Weyn


The ultimate relationship we can have is with someone who is dying. Here we are often brought to grief, whether we know it or not. Grief can seem like an unbearable experience. But for those of us who have entered the broken world of loss and sorrow, we realize that in the fractured landscape of grief we can find the pieces of our life that we ourselves have forgotten. — Joan Halifax

SONGS about CRYING:

BLESSING for the DAILINESS of GRIEF — Jan Richardson

Sorry I am to say it,
but it is here, most likely,
you will know the rending
most deeply.

It will take your breath away,
how the grieving waits for you
in the most ordinary moments.

It will wake
with your waking.

It will sit itself down
with you at the table,
inhabiting the precise shape
of the emptiness across from you.

It will walk down the street with you
in the form of
no hand reaching out
to take yours.

It will stand alongside you
in every conversation,
nearly unbearable
in its silence
that fairly screams.

It will brush its teeth
with you at night
and climb into bed with you
when finally you let go
of this day.

Even as it goes always with you,
it will still manage
to startle you with its presence,
causing you to weep
when you enter the empty kitchen
in the morning,
when you spread fresh sheets
on the bed you shared,
when you walk out through the door
alone
and pass back through it
likewise.

It is here you will know it best—
in the moments that made up
the rhythm of your days,
that fashioned the litany of your life,
the togethering
you will never know
in the same way again.

But I will tell you it is here, too,
that your solace lies.
It will wait for you in those same moments
that stun you with their sorrow.

I cannot tell you how,
but it will not cease to carry you
in the cadence that has forever altered
but whose echo will persist
with a stubbornness that will surprise you,
bearing you along, breathing with you still
through the terrible and exquisite
ordinary days.

IN BLACKWATER WOODS
— Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes
to let it go,
to let it go.

STILL I RISE— Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

TO WEEP or NOT to WEEP: Strength & Vulnerability

Weeping can be classified as either a sign of weakness or a sign of strength by what you do after the weeping. ― Ikechukwu Izuakor

It’s ok to let sadness control you. To let all frustration out. To scream, weep, be quiet. It’s ok to be human. To learn, grow & start again.― Nitya Prakash 

Grief is an opportunity to offer empathy by honouring brokenness to support healing. — Amy Price

Maybe this was now normal … Maybe every now and then he simply wept. Not in pain or sadness. The tears were just overwhelming memories, rendered into water, seeping out. ― Louise Penny

“Surely this youth will not serve our ends,” said I, “for he weeps.”
The old woman smiled.
“Past tears are present strength,” said she.
― George MacDonald

I will not say: Do not weep; for not all tears are an evil. ― J.R.R. Tolkien

To weep is to make less the depth of grief. — William Shakespeare

Man, I’ve always cried too easily. I cry when I’m happy or sad. I cry when I’m angry. I cry because I’m crying. It’s weak. It’s the opposite of warrior. ― Sherman Alexie

He utterly honored his sorrow, gave in to it with such deep and boundless weeping that it seemed as I stood there he was the bravest man I had ever known. ― Kathleen Collins

Weeping is terrible for the complexion … ‘but it is very good for the heart. ― Anita Diamant

If Yeshua wept, who am I not to? ― Wayne Gerard Trotman 

Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself. — Khalil Gibran

Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand. — Baruch Spinoza

He who fears to weep, should learn to be kind to those who weep. — Abu Bakr

Those who weep recover more quickly than those who smile. — Jean Giraudoux

Boys don’t cry. But they do. We do. I do. I weep all the time. — Matt Haig

I do not weep: I loathe tears, for they are a sign of slavery. — Max Beckmann

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. … On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. … When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.
― Pema Chödrön

TEARS: The Measure of Love 

Babies cry at birth because it is the first time they experience separation from love. ― Kamand Kojouri 

The greater are our affections the deeper are our afflictions, and the more we love the more we have to weep. ― J.C. Ryle

A man need not be ashamed of moist eyes when he gazes on the face of some loved one who is far away. It’s human. It shows a kindly heart, an impressionable mind. ― Dick Donovan

Among men and women, those in love do not always announce themselves with declarations and vows. But they are the ones who weep when you’re gone. Who miss you every single night, especially when the sky is so deep and beautiful, and the ground so very cold. — Alice Hoffman

Soon I was weeping—for the reservists who put their entire lives on hold when called to duty, for the military mothers who had to keep their families together all alone, for the parents, spouses, sons, and daughters who were beset with worry, for Mike, and for the soldiers who would never come home. I only meant to buy a shower curtain, and now, quite unexpectedly, right when I least wanted it, months of pent-up loneliness, fear, and frustration were pouring out in an endless churn of hot, silent tears. ― Lily Burana

Life is full of grief, to exactly the degree we allow ourselves to love other people. — Orson Scott Card

So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.  — E.A. Bucchianeri

On WEEPING

Weeping is not the same thing as crying. It takes your whole body to weep, and when it’s over, you feel like you don’t have any bones left to hold you up. ― Sarah Ockler
 We have become
a place of long weeping
A house of scattered feathers
There is no home for us
between earth and sky.
—From Collected Lamentations
from the Night of Knives
― Rebecca Roanhorse

… for a minute the four castaways did nothing but weep, letting their tears run down their faces and into the sea, which some have said is nothing but a library of all tears in history. ― Lemony Snicket
 She wept a river of tears
holy water, sent to soften
the sharp edges of sorrow
a gentle hollowing out,
carving new chambers in her heart
a hallowed vessel
for holding sacred,
the tears of others…― Kate Mullane Robertson 
There is a certain pleasure in weeping. ― Ovid 
 Like flocks of small dark birds,
hidden parts of the self weep.
― Ruth Stone
She might have wept then, had not the sky begun to do it for her. ― George R.R. Martin

Weeping is the sacred washing of the soul in the depths of spirit.― Lailah Gifty Akita

My life has become a dismal sigh fettered by pangs of grief and anguished weeping. ― Richelle E. Goodrich

The sorrow of great and small losses is a river that runs in the underground of all of our lives. When it breaks to the surface, we might feel as though only “I” know this pain. Yet grief is a universal experience, touching caregivers, dying people and, if we look deeply, all of us. — Joan Halifax

Tears— Maya Angelou
Tears
The crystal rags
Viscous tatters
Of a worn-through soul
Moans
Deep swan song
Blue farewell
Of a dying dream.

PASSAGES: Into Life, Toward Death & Through Rebirth
We are not born
with tears.
Your first dozen cries  
are dry.
It takes some time  
for the world to arrive
and salt the eyes.
― Kevin Young Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep. — Carl Sandburg
There are no happy endings,
endings are the saddest part.
So just give me a happy middle
and a very happy start.
— Shel Silverstein

No one ever comes back from the dead, no one ever enters the world without weeping; no one is ever asked when he wishes to enter life, no one is ever asked when he wishes to leave. ― Søren Kierkegaard

I weep fer the livin’. I weep fer the dead. I weep fer the yet to be born.― Moira Young

The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride. ― Pema Chödrön

When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home. — Tecumseh

Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning; for I still live, as I pass to and fro through the mouths of men. — Quintus Ennius Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
― Mary Elizabeth Frye 
 In Judaism, it is taught that there are three stages of grief to be endured. First there is weeping, for we all must weep for what we have lost. Second comes silence, for in the silence we understand solace, beauty, and comfort from something greater than ourselves. Third comes singing, for in singing we pour out our hearts and regain our voice. ― Judy Collins

The eyes, cleansed by weeping, have obtained a clearer vision of life’s profound mystery and beneficent discipline. ― F. W. Boreham  Dear lovely Death
That taketh all things under wing—
Never to kill—
Only to change
Into some other thing
This suffering flesh,
To make it either more or less,
But not again the same—
Dear lovely Death,
Change is thy other name.
—Langston Hughes

OTHER REASONS to CRY
I went inside my heart
to see how it was.
Something there makes me hear
the whole world weeping.
― Rumi 
 Suffering is traumatic and awful and we get angry and we shake our fists at the heavens and we vent and rage and weep. But in the process we discover a new tomorrow, one we never would have imagined otherwise. — Rob Bell

Weep not that the world changes – did it keep a stable, changeless state, it were cause indeed to weep. — William Cullen Bryant

One cannot weep for the entire world, it is beyond human strength. One must choose. — Jean Anouilh

I expect nothing of man, and disown the race. The only folly is expecting what is never attained; man is most contemptible when compared with his own pretensions. It is better to laugh at man from outside the universe, than to weep for him within. ― H. P. Lovecraft 

Why not admit that it is not our paramount duty to weep with all those who are weeping, to suffer with all who are sad, to expose our heart to the passer-by for him to caress or stab? Tears and suffering and wounds are helpful to us only when they do not discourage our life. ― Maurice Maeterlinck

One by one, drops fell from her eyes like they were on an assembly line – gather, fall, slide…gather, fall, slide…each one commemorating something she had lost. Hope. Faith. Confidence. Pride. Security. Trust. Independence. Joy. Beauty. Freedom. Innocence. ― Lisi Harrison

Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive. ― Haruki Murakami
 

Some say the ocean roars,
I hear it ever weeping.
Weep, ocean, weep for those gone before.
Weep, O sea, for the open graves that fill your shore.
― Craig Froman

I never heard weeping like that before or after; not from a child, nor a man wounded in the palm, nor a tortured man, nor a girl dragged off to slavery from a taken city. If you heard the woman you most hate in the world weep so, you would go to comfort her. You would fight your way through fire and spears to reach her. And I knew who wept, and what had been done to her, and who had done it. ― C.S. Lewis

GRIEF  Barbara Crooker
is a river you wade in
until you get to the other side.But I am here,
stuck in the middle,
water parting
around my ankles,
moving downstream
over the flat rocks.
I’m not able to lift a foot,move on. Instead,
I’m going to stay herein the shallows with my sorrow, nurture it
like a cranky baby,
rock it in my arms.I don’t want it to grow up,
go to school, get married.It’s mine. Yes,
the October sunlight wraps me
in its yellow shawl,
and the air is sweet
as a golden Tokay.
On the other side,there are apples,
grapes, walnuts,and the rocks
are warm from the sun.
But I’m going to stand here,growing colder, until every inch
of my skin is numb.
I can’t cross over.
Then you really will be gone.

WE RISE (excerpt) — Amanda Gorman
… These women who stand up,
knowing the wind
Not by where it is,
but where it is blowing,
Leading worlds
not by how society is
But where change is going.
We all leap forward
when one woman tries,
When she defies
with her rallying cries.
Here lies, but
does not rest, the best
Of tested women
who call us all to rise,
Speaking the truth
in this finest hour:
That to their own power,
every single woman is entitled.
But it’s how they empower
Others that makes
women’s voices so vital

BLESSING for FALLING into a NEW LAYER of GRIEF
— Jan Richardson

You thought you had hit every layer possible,
that you had found the far limit
of your sorrow, of your grief.

Now the world falls from beneath your feet
all over again, as if the wound
were opening for the first time,
only now with an ache you recognize as ancient.

Here is the time for kindness—
your own, to yourself—
as you fall and fall,
as you land hard in this layer
that lies deeper than
you ever imagined you could go.

Think of it as a secret room—
this space that has opened before you,
that has opened inside you,
though it may look sharp in every corner
and sinister no matter where you turn.

Think of it as a hidden chamber in your heart
where you can stay as long as you need,
where you will find provision you never wanted
but on which your life will now depend.

I want to tell you there is treasure
even here—
that the sharp lines that so match your scars
will lead to solace;
that this space that feels so foreign
will become for you a shelter.

So let yourself fall.
It will not be the last time,
but do not let this be cause for fear.

These are the rooms around which your
new home will grow— the home of your heart,
the home of your life that welcomes you
with such completeness,
opening and opening and
opening itself to you,
no part of you turned away.

SYMPTOMS OF & CONTRIBUTORS to INTENSITY of GRIEF — Patricia Johnson

Although grieving is an individual experience, there are symptoms many people share after suffering personal loss:

  • Feels physically drained
  • Can’t sleep at night
  • Forgetful and unable to think clearly
  • Noticeable change in appetite
  • Physical distress such as chest pains, headaches or nausea
  • Stays extremely busy to avoid thinking about his or her grief
  • Eats, drinks watches television, etc. excessively
  • Participates in harmful activities
  • Senses or dreams about the deceased
  • Becomes withdrawn, lonely and apathetic
  • Frequent sighing and crying

… The intensity of grief may relate to the following factors:

  • Whether the death was sudden or expected
  • Your feelings about the person who died
  • Your personality, family background, coping style and life experience
  • Your belief system and view on death
  • How those around you react and support you

On GRIEF

Grief is a journey, often perilous and without clear direction. The experience of grieving cannot be ordered or categorized, hurried or controlled, pushed aside or ignored indefinitely. It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love. It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.— Molly  Fumia

To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness. — Erich Fromm

Grieving is not a disease. It is a necessity that follows no linear pattern. … shifts the perspective that grief is an illness that needs to be treated, fixed, or cured. Instead, it empowers individuals to open themselves up to allow the normal and natural responses to loss … giving themselves permission to grieve … helping … to navigate through and thrive in their own personal sense of new normalcy.— Dora Carpenter

We all face loss, and perhaps can accept it as a gift, albeit for most us, a terrible one … To deny grief is to rob ourselves of the heavy stones that will eventually be the ballast for the two great accumulations of wisdom and compassion. — Joan Halifax

The first noble truth of the Buddha is that when we feel suffering, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. What a relief. Finally somebody told the truth. Suffering is part of life, and we don’t have to feel it’s happening because we personally made the wrong move. In reality, however, when we feel suffering, we think that something is wrong. ― Pema Chödrön

Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope. — Elizabeth Gilbert 

Grief’s pain is raw, chronic, unremitting, and cumulative, and we become isolated. Negative thoughts are etched below consciousness. There is no respite from the things we can’t unsee. — Amy Price

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to. — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

RESPONDING to GRIEF 

Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end. That’s the given. How you respond to those losses, what you make of what’s left, that’s the part you have to make up as you go. — Katharine Weber

We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world — the company of those who have known suffering. — Helen Keller

… nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know …nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. but what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. if we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. it just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves. ― Pema Chödrön

There is value in that Igbo way, that African way, of grappling with grief: that performative, expressive mourning, where you take every call and you tell and retell the story of what happened, where isolation is anathema and ‘stop crying’ a refrain. But I am not ready.  — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

But community is a powerful and healing thing… in general only people who were compassionately and patiently supported thrived. They also grieved their losses, but they were empowered to invest in something outside themselves …. Many recovered people paid this forward by helping others. One way we can help is by feeling the other person’s needs without judgment.
       This is the practice of “radical empathy” that US journalist Isabel Wilkerson describes as: “putting in the work to educate oneself and to listen with a humble heart to understand another’s experience from their perspective, not as we imagine we would feel. Radical empathy is not about you and what you think you would do in a situation you have never been in and perhaps never will. It is the kindred connection from a place of deep knowing that opens your spirit to the pain of another as they perceive it. — Amy Price

CONNECTED EXPRESSIONS: Laughter, Anger & Sorrow 

It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either. — Golda Meir

You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept. ― Kahlil Gibran

The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. — Samuel Beckett

I hasten to laugh at everything, for fear of being obliged to weep. — Pierre Beaumarchais

I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them. — Baruch Spinoza

Anger was better than weeping. ― Sophie Page

I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife. — Zora Neale Hurston

I want to feel passion, I want to feel pain. I want to weep at the sound of your name. Come make me laugh, come make me cry… just make me feel alive. — Joey Lauren Adams

We neither laugh alone, nor weep alone, why then should we pray alone? — Anna Letitia Barbauld
You think I’ll weep?
No, I’ll not weep.
Storm and tempest.
I have full cause of weeping,
but this heart
Shall break into
a hundred thousand flaws,
Or e’re I’ll weep.
—O Fool, I shall go mad.
― William Shakespeare, King Lear 

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
― Kahlil Gibran 

If I’m sad and feel like crying, I come to the swimming pool because if I cried at home, I’d cry and cry and be depressed for three days and three nights and then I couldn’t stand it and I’d swallow a load of sleeping pills. Or drive east to the sea and just keep going straight into the water. Or walk off the edge of a cliff. So, I come here instead where there’s so much water already I can weep in peace.  ― Xiaolu Guo

Anyone who has learned the Quran and holds it lovingly in his heart will ‘value his nights when people are asleep, his days when people are given to excess, his grief when people are joyful, his weeping when people laugh, his silence when people chatter and his humility when people are arrogant’. In other words every moment of life will be precious to him, and he should therefore be ‘gentle’, never harsh nor quarrelsome, ‘nor one who makes a clamour in the market nor one who is quick to anger’. ― Ibn Mas’ud 

You would not cry if you knew that by looking deeply into the rain you would still see the cloud. ― Thich Nhat Hanh

RESURRECTION & REBIRTH

And all I can think of is “Do I think it so possible that God can raise the dead that I am willing to see that possibility even in the person who’s hurt me or who I’ve written off so completely. Can I believe it so possible that God can raise the dead that I am willing to see it in even the most despicable parts of myself that I’ve written off completely? — Nadia Bolz-Weber

There’s no beginning and no end. You don’t need to wait until the total dissolution of this body to continue—you continue in every moment. Suppose I transmit my energy to hundreds of people; then they continue me. If you look at them and you see me, well, you have seen me. If you think that I am only this [points to himself], then you have not seen me. But when you see me in my speech and my actions, you see that they continue me. — Thich Nhat Hahn

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
— TS Eliot, Four Quarters

RISING

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. — Oliver Goldsmith, incorrectly attributed to Confucius, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Vince Lombardi, Nelson Mandela

Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death. — Arthur Schopenhauer

A rising tide doesn’t raise people who don’t have a boat. We have to build the boat for them. We have to give them the basic infrastructure to rise with the tide. — Rahul Gandhi

I had many friends to help me to fall; but as to rising again, I was so much left to myself, that I wonder now I was not always on the ground. I praise God for His mercy; for it was He only Who stretched out His hand to me. May He be blessed for ever! Amen. — St Teresa of Avila

It is true that we are made of dust. And the world is also made of dust. But the dust has motes rising. — Muhammad Iqbal 

I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold, my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising, my feet will give way. — St Jerome

We rise by lifting others. ― Robert Ingersoll 

Hate brings me to my knees, love gets me on my feet. — Andre Agassi

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up. — Jesse Jackson

You were made to soar, to crash to earth, then to rise and soar again. — Alfred Wainwright

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