Posts Tagged grief

Some Unspoken Words Need to be Said by Michael Norton


One of the more difficult things about the holiday season is something that impacts so many people is grieving the loss of someone who is no longer with us. And for those of us who have lost someone where a particular holiday meant so much to our family, it doesn’t matter if it was many years ago or just recently, the pain may ease, but it never truly goes away. And you know what? That’s a good thing as it stirs beautiful and loving memories that we want to hold onto forever.

This came up during a few conversations and email exchanges that I had over the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. And during two of those conversations those that I was speaking with shared that their biggest regret was not having the chance to clear the air about a misunderstanding or grievance, or more importantly, their pain was coming from the fact that during their last visit together, whether in person or by phone, they missed the opportunity to tell them that they loved them. And for both individuals, it was weighing heavy upon their hearts.

Are some things better left unsaid? I believe so. We all have heard the expression, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s absolutely true, if what we are about to say is coming from a place of anger or if we are simply trying to stir up trouble. It’s different if there are things we need to say, especially if it’s something others need to hear, even though they may not want to hear it. The problem is this, if we miss an opportunity to share information that could help someone, but we lack the courage to confront them, they may not be able to address or fix what they do not know.

I love this quote by Audre Lorde, “When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So, it is better to speak.” Some words are better left unspoken, until they are not.

Each one of us can probably think of a time when we forgot to say something or wish we had said something. Good or bad, right or wrong, we then get mad at ourselves for not having had the courage to speak up, or we promise ourselves we will speak up next time. Hoping that there will indeed be a next time.

As we are right here in the middle of the holiday season, and as some of us are experiencing grief and the loss of a loved one who will not be celebrating with the family this year, may we lovingly remember them. And if we think we forgot to say “I love you” one last time, or that we were sorry, or anything else where we might have regrets, I encourage us not to focus on that one last time where we may have missed it, instead focus on all the times it was said and heard.

May we use this as a reminder for all those that are still with us and who we love so very much. May another day pass by where we forget or lack the courage to share with others just how grateful we are for having them in our lives, how much we love them, how much we appreciate all they do, and that they have been forgiven for any foolishness that may have come between us.

How about you, are there people you will miss this holiday season? Can you remember all the times that you did share with them just how special they were to you and how much you cared for them and loved them? Is there someone that needs to hear and know that you do care for them and love them, and maybe even forgive them? I would love to hear your story at, and when we can say the words that need to be spoken, it really will be a better than good life.

*Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.

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The Urgency of Joy by Aurelia Davila

In the wake of Uvalde, I am filled with a grief so deep it touches on other aching parts of my heart. Like the part that dreads sending my own kid to school each day, come this fall. But also the part that has yet to fully process what it means to live in a world with Covid or to comprehend what we’ve all been through these last two years because of it. 

The grief of all that has been lost to the families of Uvalde and Buffalo and Laguna Woods and Tulsa (and, and, and!) is too much. The grief that nothing seems to be happening to change future circumstances is more than a person can bear. It brings up a hopelessness that threatens to overtake us. Yet, we are familiar with this hopelessness because we have known it many times in recent years.

I want to suggest (with great urgency!) that one of our responses to all of this might be the cultivation of joy.

We’ve heard it said, “You’ve got to put on your own oxygen mask first before you can put on the person’s next to you.” This metaphor can help us prioritize a care for self that is necessary if we are to make sustainable contributions to the collective.

Cultivating our own joy is not meant to be selfish work. We are not ignoring the needs of the world around us. Instead, we are beginning to understand that we can actively care without carrying every single load, every single time. We put on our own oxygen mask first so that our much needed participation in the work of heaven on earth is not in vain.

This is also not meant to be easy work. In fact, this both/and posture is the road less traveled. It is the harder way. Peeling back the layers of shame and guilt we experience when we choose to prioritize our own care is no easy feat. After all, many of us have been indoctrinated to deny ourselves to the point of physical, spiritual, and emotional neglect.

But if we deny ourselves, how will we care for anything or anyone outside ourselves? This is not the well we were meant to draw from! As bearers of God’s own image, as Divine temples, we must learn to include the work of nurturing our own bodies, spirits, and healing.

So we put on our own oxygen mask first—not as an act of disregard for all that is playing out in these times, but as an act of radical love and care for all of creation. When we do it, we witness a metaphorical breath of fresh air that flows up and out of us, expanding our capacity for hope, peacemaking, and compassion. Energizing us. Fueling our ability to face the realities of the world. To care without carrying to our own detriment.

We put on our own oxygen mask first, and what’s more, what if joy is the oxygen mask? What if our joy is a key ingredient to our collective liberation? Our desire to love, our urge to serve, our inclination to give and propensity to make significant change is not sustainable without first tending to our own inner landscape.

May this reminder compel us to make the necessary adjustments right here, right now via our spiritual practices, of which joy should be a part.

Like any other spiritual practice, with joy, we are signing up for a lifetime of never quite arriving. We are committing to the necessary work of holding joy in tension with grief, lament, rage, etc. We are consistently giving ourselves grace and compassion.

We are cultivating the love and care we perceive is needed out there, within ourselves. We are reflecting our hopes for the world within our own bodies. We are practicing joy again and again, and in doing so, we are increasing our capacity to recognize and experience it daily. Again, none of this is in place of our outer work, but rather, in addition to it.

So—attention to anyone who will listen!

If you spot an opportunity for joy in these times, take it. Consider joy, in all its shapes and sizes, a Spirit-nudge. A challenge to be accepted. Unapologetically and fervently grab hold of it. Because I am convinced that joy is our ticket. Joy is the life preserver we desperately need. Joy can be our salvation, pulling us out of our throes of fear, panic, and hopelessness.

As we continue in our liberation work, in which we use our bodies and voices to actively usher in heaven on earth, may we remember: joy is not just a bonus. It’s not just a whim. Joy is our oxygen mask, it is urgent to our thriving, and we cannot do without it in these times.

Aurelia Dávila Pratt is the lead pastor of Peace of Christ Church in Round Rock, Texas, and cohost of the Nuance Tea Podcast where she is redefining what it means to be a clergywoman of color. Her book, A Brown Girl’s Epiphany, is available for pre-order now! Learn more at

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I AM A REBOUNDER (From grief to joy) by Rev. Paul Stouffer*


David, the Psalmist said: “For my life is spent with sorrow.” Psalm 31:10

Both he and I needed a new Holy Spirit tomorrow.

The dictionary says that to rebound means to spring back from the force of impact.

I am writing my family and friends to inform them that this is not a play-act.

I have great pleasure in announcing on the second anniversary of the passing of my beloved,

I am now a believer, rebounder, and I am rebounding by the goodness of God; all of us awaiting our reunion in Heaven above.

August 16, 2016

Paul Stouffer

*Paul and I met at Mars Hill College as undergraduates. We have been friends for all of these years. He and his wife, Peggy, spent years as missionaries.

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Console – Key 46

            Be there for those who are distressed, lonely, forgotten. Words are often not necessary. Sometimes just being there is enough. At times of trouble people want your presence not your presents. Money and material things can not heal hurt or sorrow, but love can, friendship can, thoughtfulness can. Be 100% present. Do not be distracted by anything but be fully focused on the one who needs you. Do not pretend that you know what he or she is going through or that you understand his or her feelings. Each one of us experiences pain in different ways. Don’t say, “It’s God’s will.” You do not know the mind of God. Our role is just to be there.

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