Listening is both a skill and an art. It also can be a crazy idea. At least, I find it difficult to listen at times.
As I continue to decide what to write each day, ideas line up to get their turn in the limelight of my mind, and hopefully to be heard, and possibly to become a blog post. Often these crazy ideas become personal experiences, before I share them. That happened today.
I woke up to a gray, overcast day. I felt overwhelmed. The gray day plus my feelings nagged at me all day.
I pushed through my feelings, and enjoyed breakfast with our younger son. We solved all the problems of the film, theater and creative world. The highlight of our conversation was when he told me who the Last Jedi was going to be. (It was pretty obvious, but I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.) After breakfast I ran some errands, then went to my afternoon job, then returned home. I had more things to do, but I didn’t really want to do them.
Yesterday, I had cleaned our family room and rearranged the furniture. Rearranging furniture is another crazy practice of mine. And I’ve often wondered why I do it, besides the obvious reason of “how else am I supposed to vacuum under the couch and chairs?” reason. Rearranging furniture feeds my need for making mundane chores into a creative outlet.
But as I struggled with feeling tired and sort of sad today, I listened more closely to why I rearranged the furniture. Through listening to my inner angst, I became aware that I was actually grieving the change of seasons. In “The Language of Letting Go” Melody Beattie explains that “the process of adapting to change and loss takes energy.” Changing the furniture signals for me a changing of the seasons. I didn’t realize that I was grieving, but the change of seasons often brings a sadness to my soul. It may sound crazy, but I believe every transition is a small grief. And griefs were made to be mourned. But just as listening is an acquired skill, and often rushed through because of the pace of life, so grief often gets little attention. At least it does in my life.
When tragic events pile up around me, I tend to get busier and ignore the grief. Not only was I sad about the seasonal shift, but feelings of concern, angst and helplessness, in light of the recent national tragedies, finally caught up with my emotional wellness.
Beattie lists what happens when we are in a state of grief, “We may need more rest, more sleep, more comfort. We may be more needy and have less to give. It is okay to accept ourselves, and our changed needs during times of grief, stress and change.” Changed needs! That’s what was going on, not only was moving furniture around my way of dealing with grief, it was a practical way to signify my “changed needs.” As the season cools down, I want to move indoors for my quiet reflective times. I like the family room to feel inviting and restful. I imagined having family over for dinner, and playing dominoes or cards after a meal. Or gathering friends to listen to music or to watch a movie. Changing around my living space comforted me in a way that I didn’t expect. I felt invited to rest in the freshness of the arrangement, to allow myself time to think, to read and to grieve.
How do you deal with grief? Do you allow yourself time to mourn? What “changed needs” are you experiencing in this season of life? Are you fighting them or embracing them?
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 NIV)