Being Human

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
I’m a rocket man
~ Sir Elton John

Feeling grief is probably one of the most human things we do. It’s a strange feeling that you may not recognize until the moment has passed. Grief may linger or shoot through your life like a rocket. Either way, grief leaves its mark.

People grieve over different things. Last week, some people were grieving over money lost on the GameStop run. There are television commercials, such as the one where a young woman is grieving her car “Brad” in an insurance commercial. A lot of people grieve material things, even briefly such as when the last cookie is eaten.

No one can tell another how to grieve or what to grieve. It’s an intensely personal process. I feel like 2020 was one big grieving moment for the world. People died. Livelihoods crumpled. In the United States, the whole political process gave us plenty to grieve. Around the globe, there is now a line dividing life before and after COVID. If you don’t feel some grief over 2020, I would be surprised because of all the activities of life that are still impacted by a virus.

Me, well, I have an odd way of compartmentalizing grief. It’s kind of like a ranking system. Sure, when my last coconut-caramel cookie is eaten I grieve. It’s different than other types of grief for me because I know I’ll be able to replace that cookie next year.

My first service dog passed two years ago. I’m still very much in the grieving process. One of my friends had to euthanize her first service dog last week. She is grieving by posting pictures on her social media. Every time I see one, I grieve for both of us.

I also grieve relationships. I once thought that family was forever and we’d always have each others’ backs. For almost a year I have been grieving the realization that that is a line from a television show. Reality is much harsher.

I am already grieving some changes that I know are coming. I’ve started to fill the sandbags I’ll need to hold back the flood of tears to come. At first, I thought this was fear. Then I realized that it was a slow creeping up of grief. This is profound grief. Life-changing grief.

So, what can we do? That depends on your world view. The Greeks used the word agape to describe unconditional love. Perhaps if we share more agape, we can heal some of the grief. Think how much relief we could feel if we lived with agape as our guide. I’m not a philosopher, but I think I’d feel pretty good receiving love right now.

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