Love Born of Torrential Grief
By MaryBeth Scalice
[Note: Over 1,000 homes were destroyed just before New Year’s as a fire swept through an area in Colorado that included the home of MaryBeth’s son and family. See the before-and-after aerial photos from his neighborhood, below. MaryBeth wrote this shortly thereafter.]
It is not just the recent burning of Superior, Colorado that brings me to grief. My children are fine. We had a series of miracles that left their house standing in the midst of ash and ruin, untouched, undamaged.
That image reminds me of my personal life, a house in the midst of a burning world, a human being so blessed by miracles that she appears unscathed but for the deeper feelings of loss and sorrow that can’t be reconciled. Those who burned are also me. Those with Covid are also me. Those who are hungry are also me. Trees, and birds and deer, every creature, every creation is also me.
I cannot wrap my head around the loss but the heart cracks open. I am invited to enter the feared and wild world of the hidden psyche. This is the tomb of all losses, all deaths, the guilt and shame of parts of me rejected, denied. I feign some normalcy, but inside, a woman dressed in black mourns and cries and calls back to life what she hid and squelched, dimming her own capacity to offer the world Her light.
To be human is to struggle with sorrow, to suffer, to feel pain. Daring to have a practice that brings you to face your grief is spiritual work. Cleansing the soul and waking the numb heart is necessary for those who desire awakening, joy, peace.
To touch our wounds, to speak of guilt, to share feelings in the presence of compassionate others is essential to connecting with our souls and our soul kin. Soul kin are everyone, within and without. Daring to face our darkness together brings a kind of communion and bonding in God that supersedes every party and festivity. It leads to the greater celebration of each other and the sweetest lightness of being.
We are carrying so much now. Transformation is impeded by denial. Fear, grief, disappointment and broken-heartedness are the norms of light workers at this time.
Spiritual devotees also experience trauma, perhaps more so than those who bypass the call.
My poetry is a mindful practice of looking in, listening, feeling, and embracing as best I can, the whole divine-broken human being. It is daily bread in the midst of daily loss. It is a reverent approach to healing that reveals a golden lining beyond the shadow. The power and purpose and meaning of love is born from self-intimacy, and specifically, grief.
The primal cry of the child separated from love is the call of the Christ from the cross. We acknowledge all we believed forsaken. God hears, God grieves. God Loves and we are resurrected.
When grief finally comes,
it has a holy face,
not light, not beaming
but eyes of sorrow glint
with embers slowly dying.
It is an ashen face of devastation.
Some idol is reduced to rubble
unable to ignite,
to burn on nothing,
Grief is torrential
like rain all over the world;
a downpour that makes it
hard to see or breathe.
A house collapses.
A city washes away.
All that we thought was ours
buried in the mud . . .
I thought I understood
what He meant,
when He said,
You build your lives
on foundations of clay.
I didn’t. I don’t . . .
For a while, the denial
keeps us jogging,
Until steady damage
breaks the heart apart;
the earth herself
qu-aches with pain,
and choice appears:
life or annihilation.
There is something between
the courage to live
and the fear of dying.
Could it be acceptance?
I’d like to try that way but
it is a way of not trying.
I leave the safety of normal,
greeting the overwhelmed,
the anxious, the unbearable,
depressed and deprived;
(How many selves has my psyche?)
feeling the traumatic gravitas of ghosts,
seeing and hearing and mourning my loss.
Is it sick, my longing to open the tombs?
Or a true experience of intimacy,
the exquisite, what is it(?), beauty(?),
of meeting oneself with nothing but
raw faith in I-know-not-what.
The tremolo of a Voice
thought to be compassion,
fades into silence,
suspended in black,
as a world-moan rises,
the sanctified bellow
of merging voices,
creature and human,
elemental and alien,
wild and tame,
spirit and flesh;
a song begun in the bowels of the planet
received and repeated by legions of angels;
all lips pursed, our bellies opened,
hearts liquified in pooled vibration . . .
MaryBeth Scalice, M.A., Ed.D., views her life as a living-breathing
poem of God. Many years ago, her heart opened, her listening deepened,
the breath fell away, and divine union was realized. MaryBeth is
a counselor, writer, and teacher trained in humanistic and transpersonal
psychology. Her work integrates psychology with spirituality,
offering transformational heart-centered therapies for health and
self-realization. She created the Foundation of Open Hearts, and in
2019 published Write, Beloved, Write.
The Worst Thing We Ever Did
By Chelan Harkin
The worst thing we ever did
was put God in the sky
out of reach
pulling the divinity
from the leaf,
sifting out the holy from our bones,
insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement
through everything we’ve made
a hard commitment to see as ordinary,
stripping the sacred from everywhere
to put in a cloud man elsewhere,
prying closeness from your heart.
The worst thing we ever did
was take the dance and the song
out of prayer
made it sit up straight
and cross its legs
removed it of rejoicing
wiped clean its hip sway,
its ecstatic yowl,
The worst thing we ever did is pretend
God isn’t the easiest thing
in this Universe
available to every soul
in every breath.
Chelan is a 32 year old, recently published mystical poet of Susceptible to Light, from which this selection is reprinted with her gracious permission, and Let Us Dance! The Stumble and Whirl with The Beloved. Or order from a local independent bookstore that ships internationally. The poetic expression of inspiration and truth is Chelan’s primary spiritual path in which she aims to open a window in the soul to gaze upon the wonders of reality more clearly, and receive its beauty. http://chelanharkin.com
Thank you Bru. I know how deeply you experienced the fear and how helpless you felt.
You responded amazingly.
beautiful words, lizbet.
Dear Mary Beth
Thank you for offering your vulnerability and tenderness. I am deeply moved by what you wrote and the poem that expresses your grief, our grief which is such an appropriate response to what is happening on the planet at this time. The world we once knew is dying and each of us are feeling it in our own way. I’m grateful for your words, they are comforting as I continue to grieve each day allowing what needs to pass through in order to open up to the creation of the new.
It makes me happy that my words bring comfort to you. Your words bring comfort to me to.
Dear, Dear MaryBeth
I have always felt that the Razors Edge was to survive a destruction and move on. It feels like you and your son’s family are on that. It has great potential and I am praying at this moment for your family. I am praying that every drop of the experience is used for the Creation of the New through Unity. Your understanding and wisdom is in every word you used to share this tragedy with Us.
Thanks MaryBeth for sharing this experience through your dynamic words of Love.
Words are only as wise as the heart in which they land. Bless you for making a home for them.
Tragic moments become bridges connecting us, intimately with each other.
Mary Beth and Chelan. Your writings found my inbox this morning. Found the flame tree of knowing. Rose me from the desolation of Now. A stampede assault of emotion so deep, so raw, I can but sit in the sultry light and keen. No answers. Not even a poem makes it okay. As a writer I have sought words for wound like bandaids. Today the wound speaketh itself, and yet, all is silent. This is happening was the denial mantra and then in it broke. It is. It did. May the voice of my ancestors rise up. The strength of mystic Kali scream into this unknowing. I love you both for meeting me. For reminding me life is good. Can be good. Squats in the wreckage and grows flowers. Wonder poetry! Alive. With Love
Sit in the sultry light and keen
Alive, With Love.
Squat in the wreckage and grow flowers.
Alive, With Love.
Scream into this unknowing
Alive, With Love.
Your Voice is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing intimately.
As I read your words I felt your fingers touch mine in some way. Then came the rest to the heart of me. once again, the world in pain and sorrow. The lingering sadness beyond all culture, pigment, thought or idea. The One Heart of all. The single grieving from everyone together drawing our last breath to embrace the One Love of all Love, breathing it together in Communion. Leaving our Cross behind as we remember one another. Has it not been done?
With Gratitude and Love
Dear Heart of Joe,
Yes, thank you. Your words capture me… the One Heart, the collective pain, the single sorrow of many forms. God grieves. Who can turn their face from the grief of God? Even in mourning, the Beloved is exquisite.
This is very beautiful. I. believe I met you at the house of that couple in Quincy that used to have group meetings and events at their house they also had rooms for students who stayed with them while they were in college. Thank you!
i am with a group lead by alice ann willis, mother, or sue ann willis daughetr or david willis whO are now in Colorado with this daughter temporarily.
We are from Manchester Mass. and I am from Cape Ann, Mass. i am Elizabeth Enfield
Your writing is SPECTAULAR. I HAVE MET YOU AT THE HOUSE IN QUINCY AND I NEVER KNEW YOU WRITE SO BEAUTIUFULLY!
YOU ARE A GOOD TEACHER OF ACIM! THANK YOU SO MUCH
I HOPE To read your POETRY IN BOOK FORM OR other BOOKS FOR INSPIRATION – ASPIRATION AND JUST TO LEARN THROUGH YOUR VOICE. THANk YOU. THE COUPLE WAS TEDDY.
Yes we have met. Yes I write. I write with my whole heart. I write with Christ. I love that you read the article and shared your thoughts.
Where in Colorado is Alice Ann Willis?
I liked this article, and felt it deeply, MaryBeth. Thank you.
Thank you for reading it. Oh Mari.