“What is grief, if not love persevering?” –Wandavision
My goodness, grief is so strange. Its waves reach into our most ordinary of moments, making them simultaneously far more and also far sadder than they were ever meant to be. A drive down a familiar street, the smells of a beloved meal, the lady at the grocery store with the similar laugh or mannerisms, a holiday that was made more by someone who isn’t here any longer. Grief peeks around corners and up through windows, reminding us always of the good that once was. That we got to be a part; that we got to live right in the middle of, even if only for a time.
When my grandfather passed away this past January, I was knocked completely over. His loss pulled loose a thread I wasn’t at all ready to see unravel. He and my grandmother have been a force in my life for three plus decades, a reminder, even if from 4 hours away, of what love looks like. Laid out full. And when my Papa died, it placed a bookend on witnessing their love up close and in real-time. Now it is all memories and stories and photos.
A box of them, in fact. Photographs from decades, years and days and moments captured on actual film. Remember that?
The most ordinary moments are there, some completely forgotten. Made precious and forever because they are now what is left. A time capsule of joy and normal and love doled out in the most everyday ways.
And it has been such a reminder that this life is a million ordinary moments sewn together. The lasting and deep down is played out in the simplest threading of care and compassion and noticing.
I am pieced together by the men and women who have gone before me. Giants of faith and love who have poured themselves out in kind and real and vulnerable ways. They have affected me more than I dare put into words; my mothering and faith and marriage reflect in striking ways what they have taught with the magic of their everyday lives and choices.
I am betting you are too. You could likely pause to name a handful of heroes in your world that have changed you in ways you just can’t count.
And if I am being honest, I feel the weight of that gift many days. The holidays bring that front and center. Legacy feels like this huge undertaking; a hefty responsibility to carry it all forward until my days are done, making sure the care of those before me doesn’t end with them. But I am noticing as I come back to photos of those that have stamped their impact big and small into my days, that the me that shows up for all the normal is enough. My moments are used for greater when they are offered in humility and for more than just my own. He is kind to use our ordinary. To make more out of small. I have seen that up close through my grandparents and so many others who have made their way into my days. And so have you.
And it’s not over. What a beautiful thing. We are still watching. Still learning and sifting for what is good and right and more. How to use the ordinary, the grief, and all the small that had been gifted us to pour out into others.
What a beautiful season to live into legacy. To honor what has been given by living it all the way through. Perhaps, a gift we can offer this season is to tell those that have had impact in big and small ways that our lives are changed by theirs. And to find ways to carry those that we can’t tell with intention and care.
Adam Garfield had the most profound things to say about living in the tension of grief and legacy. His words are a beautiful send-off into this season that holds so very much for each of us. We can be where we really are and also look for how those we have loved can be carried forward. How their good might extend in this world through us.
May this season be one that holds the weight of living out the legacies we have been gifted. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Small and simple and intentional is a thread that knits us in and ties us to what has been and what continues in those to come.