You lose a job, a spouse, a mom or dad or sibling or your beloved pet. Your home is damaged or destroyed. You make a horrible mistake and face criminal charges. Each one of us reaches a point — or several points — where we feel we’ve lost everything, that we’ve suffered a wound so grievous we never will heal. But heal we will. The wise Richard Rohr knows that the universe is out to heal us. We’re left to wonder why we fight it so hard. The Healing Project page documents my healing from a deep and vicious emotional wound.
Grief’s Teachings: The Economy of the Heart
And now I understand
after waking enough times to think I see
the Holy Kiss that’s supposed to last eternity
blow up in smoke, its destiny
falls on strangers, travels free.
Yes, I know now, traps are only set by me
and I do not really need to be
assured that love is just a four-letter word.
— Bob Dylan
Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word
= = =
I’ve heard it said it’s not a lie
if you believe what you say. Promise and vow,
then, live under incessant threat.
There’s no wayfinding in this landscape
but who needs it? The confident
victim’s True North is blame.
This or that thing will be so
until it no longer pleases you
to have it so.
This economy of the heart
is neatly equipped with a built-in crash.
Look at all the broken stuff over there
on the supply side. Better see
if you can sell it cheap.
— Copyright (c) 2014 Steve Kline
Grief’s Teachings: Pain Like Joy Is a Loose Garment
Unpacking pain is tough
because when you neglect and stuff it away,
mold and stiffness set in and you can end up
cracked, bleeding, infected just by handling the stuff.
Better never to pack it up. If it’s there
among the pants, shirts, socks and shoes
go ahead and put it on. Wear it
not like a hair shirt or any style
that is somehow short of your aspiration or
burdensome or something you would exchange
for a fine three-piece suit if you had one.
Wear it simply as attire appropriate to the times,
given the weather
inside your skull,
your heart’s tide, the
The sharp dresser understands
pain, like joy, is a loose garment
that will not harm you.
— Copyright (c) 2014 Steve Kline
I go to watch the blood dry
Of the rising and pooling and sighing
giving way of water,
and how and when it freezes and thaws
and how it goes its way
I learned because I spent hours alone outside
in woods near streams and rivers
that were play perfect.
I went out there to learn
That a certain consistency of mud
clots on and along your soles
and interferes with your stride,
That certain insects make excellent use
of creek water’s surface tension,
That years and years ago countless little jars
made of blue and green and pink glass
were either lost, stolen or tossed —
their jagged shards collecting among pebbles
in the sand along unnamed streams,
That some green things push up through the snow
nosing into the warm season’s earliest light
while other growing things stay somber brown
sometimes into June and beyond,
That there is something very like personhood
That abandoned dwelling places have chilly spots
and are unutterably sad.
I go out there now to learn
how I make this bleeding stop. I go to
watch the blood dry. See
it age from ripened sodden scarlet to
withered brittle maroon as that latte moon
overhead seals up the gashes.
This I know: Natural things heal.
Once I put on Brownsville Girl as
the soundtrack for my chores.
She said, “You sure know how to wreck
a Saturday morning.”
— Copyright © 2016 Stephen T. Kline