Abigail Hastings

When grief sits with you

A call to worship

by Abigail Hastings

The poet Ellen Bass talks about
when grief sits with you, “an obesity of grief,”
and asks, 
            How can a body withstand this?

“Then you hold life like a face,” she instructs us—
“and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”

But where does the will for that come from?
What deep reserves do we have
            to say yes to another day, another challenge
            or face yet another disappointment?

To say defiantly— as was scrawled on walls in Paris:
            même pas peur!                     
            “I’m not a bit afraid!”

As if we meant it, as if we could
            be so brave
            so very brave that we break our own hearts.

We become as wise men, as wise women
            in this season of epiphanies —
            following a star, looking for something
                        of promise, of change, something a little divine
but also within human grasp

            as we gather here again
singing and asking once again
Grant us wisdom, O God, grant us courage,
            for the living of these days.

*Ellen Bass poem: “The Thing Is”
*Cheryl Strayed, aka “Dear Sugar”: Be brave enough to break your own heart.
©Abigail Hastings @ prayerandpolitiks.org