Each October, at our annual Beloved Dead service, I speak the names of our members who have died in the previous year. I keep a log of these names, so can tell you definitively that in the 12 years I have been at Chalice, 50 members have died. If you are someone who knew most of those people, it is a lot of loss to carry.
And you don’t need to have lost so many people in the past decade to feel your share of grief these days. We have lost several congregants recently who were active and engaged in our community, congregants we were used to seeing on Sunday mornings. Sudden death has its own impact on our communal life, and we feel the absence of people who used to be with us.
We talk sometimes at our monthly Elders Lunch about how hard it can be to lose so many friends at this time of life. It is one of the many challenges of getting older.
It is also part of the challenge of being in multigenerational community. The larger our circle of friends and acquaintances, the more love and laughter we have in our lives, certainly. But we also carry more worries for others, we hear more about hardship and injustice, and we mourn more losses.
I encourage you to keep in touch with how you are feeling and to share about that with your friends at Chalice. Surely one of the blessings of being in a community like ours is to be able to name our grief and to share with one another. For those who attended our grief group this past fall, one of the comforts was simply to be with other grieving people, to be able to talk openly about sadness and struggle.
Let me also name that it can feel a challenge in community to not be grieving as others are. It is okay not to have known someone well enough to miss them, and it is also okay to have good things happening in your life even when someone has just died. As we say at our monthly multigenerational service: Our challenge at any gathering is how to honor joy and sorrow together.
I wrote last month about setting a monthly focus, a countercultural practice to help us navigate life in these complex and challenging times. Our focus for February is finding just a few minutes each day to sit quietly, doing nothing. #quiettime #findsomesilence #chaliceuuescondido
This is a good practice any time, but particularly when we have a lot of emotions and information to process. We work hard not to notice our emotions! But they are there, whether we pay attention or not, and they can come bubbling up in some surprising and unwelcome ways. It is kinder to ourselves to make some room to feel what we’re feeling.
And I am here if you want to talk.
To schedule an appointment with Rev. Sharon:
Text or call: 619.871.9959