Letting Go

 |  December 26, 2020
Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Letting Go, mixed media , 8×6 inches

Today I celebrate another year around the sun. And today I also mourn the loss of my brother-in-law who passed away a few days ago. And yesterday was Christmas. While it seems like Christmas is a holiday that is only for joy joy joy blaring in your ear wherever you go, I would like to acknowledge that Christmas fundamentally is really about being human. Whether you are Christian or not, it is about God, coming down to be born of a human mother, in the most humble and earthly of settings, to become human and experience the same love and loss and pain and beauty that makes up what it is to be human. It is only fitting that at this time the absence of those we’ve lost becomes amplified. But it is also a celebration- of a life lived and a life that was loved. We celebrate this birth with gifts. And the biggest gift that we can give to each other is kindness.

I am a cynic and snarky most of the time, but I think because I have become friends with grief since I was a young girl, I feel very deeply. At times maybe I am too comfortable with sitting with grief…it is something to work on. Beucase really, it is our work to feel the grief, let it go, and cherish the joy that we have because we every day is not guaranteed. A lesson we know so well this pandemic year. My artwork is often about these things- the beautiful fragility of life and holding it for that moment and then knowing that it’s ok to let go.

I found this poem while searching for poems about grief and loss. It really spoke to me that our pain is also our strength, and that loss actually widens the heart.

Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

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