The Greater the Love the Deeper the Grief

As a celebrant I also have the profound privilege to conducting funerals and memorial ceremonies.  This is a beautiful piece on grief by Julie Yarbrough.

 

The most fundamental truth of grief is this: we grieve because we love. Love and grief are inextricably linked. If we did not love, our hearts would not be broken by death. The greater our love, the deeper and more profound our grief.

Grief is the most equal-opportunity experience in all of life. It is the great leveler of emotions, place, and time. For at some age, at some time, everyone will know the sorrow and pain of grief. Grief is indifferent to our race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. We’re not emotionally insulated from grief because of where we live, how educated we are, or how much money we have or don’t have. Grief doesn’t care whether we’re dressed in a business suit, a blue uniform, a hoodie, a tee shirt or a clergy robe.

The love of grief is passionate — we cherish and memorialize the one lost to us in death. We remember, and will never forget. The love of grief is compassionate — it reaches out, reconciles, restores and builds up. This love is why we endure the suffering of loss and persevere in hope. Despite every evidence to the contrary, love never fails.

When the reality of senseless violence and tragedy overwhelm our individual and collective hearts, grief leaves us reeling, especially as we struggle with the “why?” We want to make sense of it all, yet there are no real answers. What we experience instead is grief, the intuitive response of our mind, our body and our spirit to the death of one we love. And often we find within the love of our grief the best response to life’s worst tragedies. Without fully understanding the “why,” we seek some redemptive value, so that death will not have been in vain. We harness our grief-born love first to change our own heart, then slowly the world. And if not the whole world all at once, we start where we are to influence for good, trusting that our small ripple of love shared with others will one day become an exponential sea change.

If we scrutinize the faces of survivors, friends, colleagues, and loved ones photographed at their moment of most intense grief, we see clearly the inestimable shock and sorrow of personal, individual grief. When we read beyond the headlines, we’re reminded that each life has its own unique story and that the lives of hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people — neighbors, school friends, church communities — are unalterably affected by the untimely death of one they know and love.

We are forever changed by death. Our experience of grief may leave us disillusioned, fearful, and hate-filled. Or grief may leave us convinced of the goodness of life with a greater capacity for love despite the certainty that evil is present in the world.

In the face of intentional violence and death, those of us who are helpless bystanders are forced to stretch, to think and feel beyond ourselves. And so we join hands and hearts with reverence for life and spiritual respect for the mystery of death to grieve in unison each individual soul — the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands and all other relationships of spirit and bond that connect us to one another as divinely created human beings.

Julie Yarbrough is the author of Beyond the Broken Heart, a grief ministry program, Grief Light, and other grief resources. Website: www.beyondthebrokenheart.com 

“We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses
of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The Mystery of Love

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.― Sophocles

The Mystery of Love by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

It is no small thing for me that as a Commonwealth Registered Celebrant I get to walk couples across the threshold of marriage.  It is a great privilege and something that I hold very dear.  To experience over and over again the wonder of love.  The open hearts, the vows, the promises and the values that they choose to build their lives upon.

Each couple, each person so unique, so precious.  Each wedding so incredibly different.  A reflection of the lives and creativity of each couple.  Whether a small private gathering of  8 people or a crowd of 250 people, each is magical and full of wonder in their own special way.

This weekend I conducted five weddings across Melbourne.  Friends looked on in exhaustion but I revelled in the celebration of love and mystery of relationships.  You see I fall in love with each couple.  I grieve a little at the end of each wedding as our journey comes to its rightful conclusion.   I am constantly in awe at the beauty of each soul and the glimpse that I get into the communities of love that surround them.

For many of us marriage encapsulates the mystery of love.  The very nature of a wedding ceremony is about capturing the love essence of each couple and what love means to them.  Two people fell in love which is why they are getting married.  The marriage ceremony is the public demonstration of that love and their commitment to stay in love and to choose love each day over  the course of their lives together.

These two readings by Nicholas Sparks and Anne Morrow talk about love and relationships and what it means.

“NOTEBOOK”

I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten.  But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.

23231509_10154981590451408_7240060498012721988_n

 GIFT FROM THE SEA BY ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH 

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love and of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in the terror of the ebb. We are afraid it will never return.

We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity, when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, not forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.

Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits—islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides of life.

(Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

When you read these pieces one thing is clear.  Love is a mystery and love is a gift.  You can’t own it, it is freely given and must be treasured.  For love to grow it must face the challenges that growth brings.  Love is like the sun and the earth.

Love is like the sun above you and the earth below you. Like the sun  love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

12321182_10209188555298028_6040377826760288175_n

Although not Buddhist, one couple chose to express their vows and promises in an amended version of  Buddhist vows.  These vows acknowledge the transitions, ebb and flow of relationship.  They also encompass community, nature and the understanding that all things belong and that we are part of a larger picture.

Buddhist tradition.

Lisa:  Do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

Lisa: Recognising that the external conditions in life will not always be smooth and that internally your own minds and emotions will sometimes get stuck, do you pledge to see all these circumstances as a challenge to help you grow, to open your hearts, to accept yourselves, and each other; and to generate compassion for others who are suffering?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

Lisa: Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a mystery to us, do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

Lisa: Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other?  To take the loving feelings you have for one another and your vision of each other’s potential and inner beauty, and to radiate this love outwards in an example for all beings?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

In its essence, love is about giving.  It is about growing and it is about Shalom.  It is learning about how to live in peace with your beloved and with everyone around you.  It is understanding that true love gives and gives and keeps on giving.  Marriage in its simplest form is making a public commitment to choose to love, over and over again each day.  Through each ebb and through every high tide.

It is to commit to ‘undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity?’.  It is to radiate love to all beings.  This  is known the gospel of love to those who are followers of the teachings of Christ. Christ teaches us to love everyone the way that we love ourselves.  In a way marriage is but an example of how we should treat every being.

The mystery of love is demonstrated and spoken out loud in the form of a Marriage ritual but love is not exclusive to marriage.  Love is something that we should choose every  day and demonstrate to every soul that we meet.    It is found wherever value is placed upon another soul, where we step outside ourselves and demonstrate compassion and understanding.  We need it more than ever and in every context.  I think it may be impossible to love too much.  In each day that we face on this earth and in every situation,  lets choose love.

On Love

This is an extraordinary poem on love by Thomas Kempis.  Thomas à Kempis (ca. 1380-1471) was a priest, monk and writer.

enduring-love-brooch-1-e1422655206418-520x520

On Love 

Love is a mighty power,

a great and complete good.

Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.

It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders

all bitterness sweet and acceptable.

Nothing is sweeter than love.

 

Nothing stronger,

Nothing higher,

Nothing wider,

Nothing more pleasant,

Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God.

 

Love flies, runs and leaps for joy.

It is free and unrestrained.

Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.

Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil,

attempts things beyond its strength.

 

Love sees nothing as impossible,

for it feels able to achieve all things.

It is strange and effective,

while those who lack love faint and fail.

 

Love is not fickle and sentimental,

nor is it intent on vanities.

Like a living flame and a burning torch,

it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.

 

Poems of Love

Touched by an Angel

by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.

Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

16077093739_92289e6712_o_fotor

I Got Kin

by Hafiz

Plant
So that your own heart
Will grow.

Love
So God will think,

“Ahhhhhh,
I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and
Rolls.”

Sing
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Needs.

Laugh
Because that is the purest
Sound.

Happiness Floats

by Naomi Shihab Nye

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities of coffee cake and ripe peaches, and love even the floor which needs to be swept, the soiled linens and scratched records…..

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit. for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

Mountains landscape on the coast at sunrise - serenity and rose quartz colors.
 Romantic mountain landscape – seaside view and blue hills silhouettes in a fog weather.
The Invitation

by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

 

Featured Image by Liezel Van der Linde

Love……..Love and Chocolate!!

Valentines Day is coming.  Book a Chocolate Tour.   YUMMMM

Great for a Hens Party and Bridal Celebrations.  But of course ……. you can’t go past chocolate for Valentines day.

Jessica Gilchrist – Reigning business owner and director of Chocoholic Tours, Jessica Gilchrist, has pockets full of passion when it comes to trying, testing and tasting all the chocolate discoveries Melbourne has to offer.

3photos_jess

Like a petite and sweet truffle, Jess oozes urban city chic whist sharing Melbourne’s richest chocolates and architectural history!

Jess is a passionate and dynamic entrepreneur and a dear friend.

Last year my girlfriends and I got together and spent an afternoon of indulgence on one of Jess’s Chocoholic tours.

desserttour01

It was an incredible experience.  Not only did we get to indulge in delicious chocolate, we learned so much.  The tour was fun, informative and totally gave us our chocolate fix.  Of course this is a walking tour which means you don’t need to feel guilty at all cause you burn off all the calories. lol….well thats what we told ourselves.

Chocoholic Tours take you on an  exclusive journey through the heart of Magnificent Melbourne while indulging your inner chocoholic. Your senses are bound to run wild and our Chocoholic guide will only encourage you!

destinationChoc01

The allure of our grand city will take on an entirely new depth as your chocolate aficionado leads you on an expedition of discovery through Melbourne’s magical laneways.

On this walking tour you will discover chocolate from Melbourne’s best chocolatiers while offering an insight into our famous laneways and arcade

SPOIL YOURSELF IN THE MONTH OF LOVE

All you need is love and happiness and a little chocolate to fuse them together, right?

To officially welcome the month of love, Chocoholic Tours is proud to introduce the most indulgent Valentine’s Day Chocolate Tour.

KokoBlack_306LR
Koko Black, in the Block Arcade. Photos by Teagan Glenane

Whether you are a newly minted couple or one of many years, Valentine’s Day is a time to stop and simply appreciate the joys of love. In today’s fast-paced world, an afternoon exploring the world of chocolate in Melbourne, the joy of romance and simply being together is a mix rarely experienced.

Chocoholic Tours wishes to invite you and your love to relax, indulge and immerse yourself in the most unforgettable Valentines experience.

Tour departs at 2pm on both Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of February 2016.

It will take you to a variety of unique hidden Chocolate boutiques, including The Adelphi Hotel, Koko Black, Haigh’s Chocolate and the New York Chocolate Bar just to name a few.

With inclusions like a 3 hour guided tour with your own personal chocoholic guide, long stem rose for that special someone on arrival, 8 Valentines themed chocolate tastings, chocolate tart tasting, two wine tastings, bottle of water, a goody bag which includes a ‘I’m a Chocoholic’ badge and map of all the chocolate hot spots in town, special ‘in store’ offers and a delicious afternoon supper to finish your romantic chocolate filled escapade.

Guaranteed to be the most relaxing and indulgent way to celebrate love. This premium one off tour is every chocolate lovers dream.

To check out this Valentines Day special visit the website:

http://www.chocoholictours.com.au/valentine-s-day-chocolate-tour/

This is an experience that you will remember for a lifetime.