Image Description: My bouquet of yellow flowers. Daffodils are in the background of the image.
Lately, when I’ve been gathered in groups for reflection and discussion (over Zoom and the like) I’ve asked these questions:
What is a little grief you have?
– And –
What is a little joy you have?
As we experience this pandemic and time of economic uncertainty, we are definitely acquainted with the big griefs we carry. We are concerned for the losses we know, for our loved ones, and for our own health. We grieve disruptions and the ways our lives are different than they were just a couple months ago.
But do we make space to name the little griefs? The ones we probably wouldn’t name, because stacked up against the larger ones, they seem a bit more insignificant?
I’d like to say that they’re not insignificant. They matter to us also and are worth grieving. They might also serve as symbols for the larger griefs we’re carrying too.
Likewise, do we make space to name the little joys? The ones we probably wouldn’t name because they’re typically more mundane than others we might have shared in the past? Yet we find even more gratitude for them now?
These are not insignificant either. They matter to us and are worth sharing with others. They might also serve as symbols of encouragement and hope alongside all we’re carrying too.
When I’ve asked these questions in groups, I’ve also given a particular answer a number of times. One of my little (but not insignificant ) griefs is this: I always keep yellow alstroemeria flowers on my table. I also keep some in my writing room. They are lovely, and they brighten up the space. They also last such a long time in a vase — typically three weeks. For this reason, they’ve come to take on meaningful symbolism to me. And when they begin to wilt and the flowers begin to fall, I typically go to Trader Joe’s and buy more. I’ve had a long streak of having these flowers on my table. Sure, they aren’t nearly as important to me as all the other things we’re carrying collectively, but I’ve been sad to lose their presence. You can disinfect your groceries, but you can’t disinfect your flowers.
I shared this with some people while back, and…
This sharing has led to a little but not at all insignificant joy. I feel big gratitude about it.
Yesterday, I received a package on my doorstep (some of you all know I love surprises, including tiny gestures) and this one felt amazingly huge. A friend had some permanent, yellow flowers made for me. And the petals are made from hymnals. So they have all these lovely words.
And they came in a bouquet! This meant so much to me. Big joy. Lovely connection. So very thoughtful.
I am so eager to put these on my table. And now I’ll remember big connection in the little grief. Thank you, good friend.