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March 30 , 2009

A Sharpness of Grief

poems and stories of a journey to healing


In 1998, my wife and I, with amiable agreement, filed for divorce. Thirty days later we attended a seven-minute hearing that undid 28 years, and then went our separate ways. My way took me through a desert, trying to avoid admitting how deeply the pain went. My congregation stuck by me. Libby, my therapist, didn’t let me get away with anything. She, along with those who stayed close to me, was right: healing takes time.

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As the manuscript grew, I asked friends to read it. After I read "Looking East" during the Island Institute’s 1998 Sitka Symposium, Carolyn Servid, institute co-director, asked to publish the story in ­Connotations, the institute's journal. It appeared in the Summer 1998 edition. (The story came first, written the weekend we decided to get the divorce, journals next, the rest of the poems and the other two stories followed.)

What a tragedy to experience this grief and not learn from it, to have so many people touch my life and not be changed. My prayer is that someone experiencing a sharpness of grief will know I understand. I pray that God gives them courage to walk through their wilderness into renewal. It is not fun. It is hard work. It is worth every ounce of sweat, each drop of blood, each emotion admitted, and every honest word spoken or written. Now, today,. looking east into another sunrise, I see a blessed journey. Joy comes in the mourning and in the morning.

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