Welcome back to Restorative Grief with Mandy Capehart. You are listening to episode 9, titled, “Like Water for Mercy.” This week is going to be short and sweet, with a simple support practice you can carry with you, wherever you go. I initially wrote this as an email blurb to my faith community. I know many of you listening do not share my faith, or perhaps carry no spiritual practice at all. Nonetheless, my offering remains, because you deserve mercy and alignment in your grief journey no matter your starting point.
I really love creating these weekly missives. Listener, you are precious to me. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to offer a few words that might move the needle toward wholeness in your grief story.
Sometimes approaching grief can feel intimidating and unsafe. But what I have learned through these years of grief work is that in the face of great fear, I am invited to soften and surrender, and this is no different. I do this work because I want to see you living a life full of compassion, health, and alignment, and yet, it is true that so many of us drag our baggage unpacked behind us, unintentionally bringing a half-life to our communities and to those we love.
This week, I want you to embrace lament. It is a holy cry, a guttural utterance that even in its wordlessness, expresses the depth of our sorrows. The purpose of learning to lament is to find a place where we can be honest with our grief. Where we can start the process of dismantling our false understandings of loss, life, and liminal spaces. Knowing where to start when addressing grief is daunting and often becomes the very reason we avoid our grief stories all together. And although I love a good toolbox of resources, I want us to approach lament a little differently than with a long list of tasks or prayers or issues to address. This week, I offer a simple invitation.
Start here. Now. In this very moment. You pressed play on this episode, hoping for a little inspiration, maybe something pithy you could quote on Twitter. But instead, I want to invite you to meet the man Jesus, who in his time on earth embodied the fullness of joy and the lowest points of grief. He is the happiest man to walk the planet, and yet still we know him as the Man of Sorrows. His demonstration of the paradoxical life, able to navigate gracefully through all experiences, is our North Star for healthy movement toward wholeness through lament.
Because lament is like water. It will fill the space you allow it to enter. And like water, lament brings refreshment you barely noticed was lacking until you finally had a drink. So wherever you are listening to this, I want you to stop what you are doing. If you’re like me, you have earbuds in while handling the laundry or dishes. Fill a glass of water and find a comfortable place to sit. Go ahead and press pause so you don’t miss the next part. If you’re driving and don’t have a safe place to pull over and a water bottle handy, come back to this episode when you can fully dive in (but seriously, come back to it. No excuses.).
As for the rest of you, settle in. You might move your neck a bit from side to side. But breathe normally. You might notice that a few tears are already starting to fall and if that’s you, then please let them fall. As you engage wild thoughts about the unknown season of grieving ahead and learning to hold open space for yourself and others, drink deeply. This is tread-lightly, move-slowly work. Your humble heart is all Holy Spirit needs to make the simple act of drinking water a moment of restoration.
Did you realize that by engaging in this simple act of drinking water, you are internalizing mercy? Because crying makes you dehydrated! And as much as Jesus wants to bring us into spiritual alignment within our grief process, I promise he is just as concerned about the impact of grief on our minds and our bodies. He is never offended by our accusations, our heartaches, our failure to trust him in grief, or our fears of an unknown future. And in his mercy, he offers the thirsty a drink. So whether this simple practice of drinking water takes one minute or thirty, return to it often and in this place of refreshment, embrace the promise that you are seen and known by God. Especially if grief has left you feeling forgotten.
I realize this little practice may be churning a lot more than feeling forgotten. You might suddenly recognize grief in areas you didn’t realize you were wounded. If you find that to be true in your story, especially with my mention of faith, I would be honored to hear from you. I know reaching out is a big risk, and I don’t offer the connection lightly. I simply want to honor your heart and your own grief story by hearing more about it. I haven’t shared much on this podcast yet about The Restorative Grief Project, but it is my private and free coaching group. As of this episode, it is hosted on Facebook. Each week we are inviting anyone who needs movement and encouragement to share their stories, their fears, their targets in growth, and their unanswerable questions. Your story deserves a chance to be heard, to be revived, and to be sent into the world for others to find healing through your faithful hard work. And not to mention, the Restorative Grief Project is a spiritually neutral environment. We are creating a place free of platitudes where grief literacy is bringing us back into alignment: body, mind, and spirit. And we would love for you to join us.
Thank you for listening to episode 9 of Restorative Grief with Mandy Capehart. Refreshment is coming, even when the ground below you feels barren and cracked. The restoration of your story is not found in a book, a program, or a mystical far-off land. It is found in the mundane, in the daily actions of your life, in the humble offerings you bring to the process. It is found in a glass of water and it is found in act of worship. Restoration is yours for the taking, but it’s just not something you can grab off the shelf.
Author Hope Edleman says, “To actively grieve involves risk. We have to relinquish self-control and let our emotions run their course.”
That risk is reaching for restoration, even when you cannot see where it’s sitting on the shelf. May this opportunity to soften, surrender, and accept a drink be the first thing you reach for today.
Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next week.
Links + Resources for this episode:
- Motherless Daughters and other books by Hope Edleman
- Snag a copy of my book Restorative Grief
- Connect with me on Twitter or Instagram @MandyCapehart
- Join The Restorative Grief Project, a private online grief coaching community