The cohesion of this group of individuals, in all of their diverse backgrounds, strengths, fears, ways in the world, was inspirational. And the feeling lingers. I can recall each face, a beautiful reflection of each family. I, too, belonged, was welcomed in my particular strengths, fears, way in the world, in how I carry my family members, their trials and triumphs, near and long ago, into the present.
It was a profound week, not only in the specific experiences – awash in love, respect, strands of life – but also in what remains without any effort. There is a sense of opening taken out into the world, an evolving way that discovers new information in the world, a belonging we find when we no longer reject it. Then we are embraced, held by what we encounter – and where we are not embraced, we move on.
I feel this in myself and see it in others. There are tears that cleanse and tears that drown. When we witness the first, we are patient, knowing that the person is getting ready to step in to life, perhaps getting ready for us. The face beams, fresh, renewed. When we witness the second, we may bow our heads and look away, knowing there is nothing we can do. When the tears are endless, they can drown us too, another’s tears dousing the flame of our love. But if we step back a compassionate distance, we don’t know what surprises await them or us. We may look up one day to see this person’s face from our good distance and notice that it too is beaming: the tears were not endless after all. And now we are ready to meet their readiness, to extend ourselves again, not having let ourselves be overwhelmed by their pain.
January 14 – the first day of the Immersion – was the fourth anniversary of my husband’s death. I awoke this morning my face wet with tears. This is one way I remember. An unreachable sadness. And contact, contribution, celebration – these are the other ways.