fresher and greener

     This morning’s Fresh Start is different. It is, for me, a very important fresh start. It is the releasing into your hands of a book that I’ve been writing in fits and starts for years. The writing of it has been a labor of love, and the releasing of it is both joyful and scary – joyful because I hope that the book will give others hope, and scary because it shows me as I am, warts and all. But you have been reading Fresh Starts for a long time, so the warts-and-all part won’t come as a surprise to you.

     The book is about grief. I am certainly no expert on grief. The book is only my story. It is the story of how grief, in the wake of my father’s death a decade ago, undid me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. For a long time, grief felt like the enemy, ruining all my self-confidence and competence and leaving me small and scared. But gradually I began to see another side of grief. I discovered that, when I had the courage to accept and even embrace grief’s pain and uncertainty and undoing, the grieving process, against all odds, was fruitful.

     Grief felt like the erupting of Mt. St. Helens years ago. The mountain, once lush and Oregon-green, was left barren and desolate. It looked dead, but it wasn’t. After a while, things started to grow back, fresher and greener than ever.

     And so it was with grief. As I learned to live it instead of trying to “get back to normal,” it changed me. It made me fresher and greener. I can’t explain it. I can only tell my story and hope that my story will somehow encourage somebody else. Here’s the Amazon link in case you want to take a closer look.

“The starting point for many things is grief, at the place where endings seem so absolute. One would think it should be otherwise, but the pain of closing is antecedent to every new opening in our lives.” Belden Lane