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Come into the tender place

For the average Joe, Josephine, or Jo Jo, it can be a difficult and challenging endeavor to sit down, settle in, and enter the quiet place of prayer or meditation.


For the average grieving mother or grandmother, it’s pretty much impossible to enter that quiet place.

Now I’m not talking about the tried-and-true daily survival devotionals or the prayer rituals that we rely on for comfort and peace. I’m not even talking about the “help me!” distress calls that elicit supernatural aid in seconds flat. These are important and necessary resources for many grieving mothers and grandmothers. What I’m referring to is the deep space, the tender place, where the grief meets the grace, where the grit and grime rise, where the well of tears is bottomless and rising - and then - something shifts, and the integration begins to take hold.

Why would going to this place be almost impossible, you ask? (Since I’ve painted such a rosy picture.) Because as soon as we sit down to get quiet, we literally want to jump out of our skin and escape from our very selves. This is too uncomfortable. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. We just sit there, us and our broken psyches full of hot tears and raw emotions. Way worse than a cat on a hot tin roof.


And, to make it all the more dicey, sometimes our child shows up in the tender place, or the God we’re upset with, or the regrets we try to push down, or the fears that raise their monster heads - or other things even more complicated and terrible begin to surface. After all, the depths can bring forth real and searing pain.

So what shall we do in this six-of-one, half-dozen-of-the-other dilemma? We could ditch and numb and run and hide, and get sick or sicker. Or we could show up. Just show up and sit up and shut up and suck it up and let the thoughts be the thoughts and try not to ignore the thoughts or to force away the thoughts or to quiet the thoughts or even to rid ourselves of the thoughts. For it is when we realize that we are not our thoughts that the real journey has begun. But we'll go through cases of kleenex before we get there. Which is okay of course, because to where else would we go? There is only One who has the words of eternal life, and we meet that One under our thoughts and inside our hearts. That One with the still small voice...waiting...


Want to be brave? Try this. Try to show up and sit in this. Start with 30 seconds. That would be successful and I’m not being sarcastic. It doesn’t matter if it’s not peaceful. It will rarely be peaceful, not for a good long while, until you sit in it long enough that it can all ooze up and out.


My dear kindred sister warrior mothers and grandmothers (and the friends who are listening in), this cannot be done by your own strength, or by force. Believe me, I’ve tried. It is only by the Spirit that this can be accomplished.


Plus (and this is an important point so please listen up) this isn’t your battle to fight - and the best news is that it’s already been won anyway. Trust this. Be brave and show up and sit in it and try to remember that your beloved deceased child or grandchild is waiting for you in heaven. Honestly. You just have to sit through, and cry through, and sometimes freak out through, and definitely go through - this marvelous unfolding - in the tender place, even if it doesn’t feel very marvelous at all. Not at all.


There will be joy in the morning. No guarantees for what morning, but there will be a morning. In the meantime, don't forget the kleenex.



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