Jul 25 2011

From Grief to Gratitude

Published by at 4:20 am under An Ongoing Conversation . . .

Even in a down-turned economy $1,000 goes a long way. But sometimes, when the $1,000 are counted in pesos, we Americans can momentary feel shorted.

South of the Boarder it costs around $99 pesos for a sack of dog food, $55 pesos for a meal at Burger King, and $49 pesos for a movie theater ticket. Not so bad considering it takes some $1,000 Zimbabwean to buy a jar of pasta sauce, a pack of diapers, or a small can of coffee –if available.

Our world is full of barter and swaps, not just monetary but social and personal as well. Buy 2 get 1 free, scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, tit for tat. Trying to stay upbeat most of us play along, cutting our losses, hedging our bets, trying to mitigate the results of less-than-best available choices. Our world view, our cultural bias, our education or lack of it, our financial footing –all impact our willingness and/or ability to negotiate.

Not long ago our beautiful redwood trees in front of our home had to be removed. I was distraught and angry at their loss. Only as I became aware of the resultant gift of light did I open my emotions to the future, becoming hopeful, than enthusiastic, even excited. We would look for a red maple tree to plant where the redwoods once stood –an exchange of sorts and much more suitable to the available space.

We found our tree in a small nursery. When we saw the Emperor One, a brilliant red setting it apart from all the other maples, my excitement blossomed into joy. A few days after planting this graceful beauty I was broadsided by feelings of disloyalty.

Was my proclaimed, deeply felt love of nature, fickle? How could I so quickly move from grief to gratitude –seemingly at the expense of our two magnificent giants turned into mere timber? Was I experiencing a kind of moral recession with the value of my emotional currency diminished? Inside my being I heard,

Crimson for crimson, foliage for wood, death of the giants, grief understood.

The gaping wound in my heart, left by the severing of our redwoods and gutting of their table-sized stumps, has been healed by the planting of a radiantly alive, red-leafed tree regally holding sway over the garden beneath its shade.

For me, grief has consistently given way to freshness of life. It is not a betrayal to embrace hope, to reach for possibility, to welcome perspective –and to move to gratitude. One of my favorite quotes is credited to missionary David Livingstone:

I will go anywhere as long as it’s forward.

Yes, I will go anywhere –anywhere! anywhere! –as long as it’s forward!

One response so far

One Response to “From Grief to Gratitude”

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