We live in a world that continues to move faster and faster no matter how hard we try to catch up. Whenever we get anywhere, we must be on to the next location, event, opportunity, idea before we even get a chance to reflect upon where we have been to get there. We are the scenery rushing by as one looks out the car window. Never quite in focus. While we are undoubtedly capable of continuing to live at this pace, the real question is should we? Are we taking enough time to reflect on life experiences and learn from them? This question is especially poignant when one deals with major life events. Are we taking the time necessary for ourselves?
In the passage below from “A Maryknoll Book of Inspiration,” Fr. Joseph Veneroso delves into this question with regards to mourning. Take a moment to read his reflection and let it ruminate. Give yourself the time the read it. Give yourself the time to process all of the things that have happened and are happening in your life. Take a deep breath, slow down, and just remember to give yourself a little time.
Blessed Mourning Mourning has fallen out of fashion. For people of European ancestry, black was the color for mourning a spouse or parent, and not just during the funeral. Dressing in black for less than six months was disrespectful. People did not attend social functions. They resisted pretending things were normal to let the realization set in that the definition of normal had forever changed. Such austere practices shielded mourners from the demands of daily social interactions, thus giving their hearts and minds time to heal. Nowadays, in our rush to get back to life as 'usual' much has been lost, not the least of which is our mental health. Nowadays we view death as a rude interruption. In their eagerness to shield a child from the sorrow following the death of a pet, parents may too soon replace it with another one. Denied a chance to grieve, the child is deprived of the emotional opportunity to grow. He or she learns the erroneous lesson that the pain of loss is an inconvenience and, worse, pets and even people are interchangeable. Such dismissals deaden life. More things than death need grieving. A failed marriage, a lost job, an unsuccessful college application, all demand we admit some doors have closed forever. When we take time to mourn the loss of youth, health and even our dreams, we honor them in order to let them go and let us go on. We do our best when pressing against our limitation. The cross compels us to become fully alive, not by avoiding pain and loss but by passing through them. The cross, and by extension death, is the ultimate limitation. The Church encourages us to remember those who have died. We bless the emptiness created by their passing. In allowing ourselves time to mourn, we expand our capacity to love and live. We become truly blessed. - Joseph R. Veneroso, M.M., from Good News for Today