This morning I woke with the same thoughts I had gone to bed with the last three nights, the suffering and the grace in life. The hand in hand of the awfully beautiful and the beautifully awful. (Roland our hospice nurse had introduced me to that concept.)
Three nights ago, I was thinking about Ferguson, the grieving hearts, the deep suffering and the deep injustices and it wasn't until an image crossed my desk the next morning that I glimpsed some grace.
The next night five hours before bed, I got the phone call that the unspeakably awful, and the tragedy of tragedies had brought the deepest suffering to three that I love and as I pondered that the last 30 hours, I have only been able to think that what was so suddenly ripped from their lives had been preceded by so much love in so much sweetness in so much depth and so much consistency that it could only be defined by grace.
Yesterday when the alarm clock went off and Sweetheart who is long overdue a day off and long overdue a Thanksgiving not cooking for others, got up to cook for not 15 or 25 but 50 and did so for most all day so that we could have the grace of delivering food to the homeless shelter where women and children in the midst of living deep suffering had found a moment of grace and respite and safety. As I packed up the pies, I looked at the boxes with the sweetest of them all where the first and second graders had learned to get the pumpkin out of the pumpkins and bake their first pies and send them to people who needed them more, and the seed of true Thanksgiving had been planted.
When I met my friend to walk into the kitchen and I looked at her beautiful face I thought of the suffering the last few years have brought her and how she had midwifed so many of the dying without any respite to her own heart and how the grace flows out of her eyes. And late in the afternoon as I sat next to my friend of 56 years and held her hand, as she looked me in the eye and we talked of the friendship that had us side by side and the grace within it, I could see the searing agony of her heart. Life is the awfully beautiful and the beautifully awful and grace and suffering walk side by side.
On this day I can only breathe a quiet sigh of gratitude for the light in the dark moments and the dark moments that break our hearts open and make them one day and somehow more beautiful, more compassionate, more full of grace.