The Women of Jerusalem Mourn for the Lord


The cycles of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, 

acceptance – are idols.

They are mile markers on a highway I am not traveling. 

In my pain, I am not on a clearly marked trail but 

bushwhacking through brush,

crossing unknown rivers, backtracking and circling to see the 

same spaces again and again. 

These alleged compass points, meant to show progress in my 


are only useful if they are printed on a handkerchief;

then I wipe my face with them and see more clearly. 

I call out, and I can hear a chorus of false friends with easy


but they don’t know this terrain.

Only when I glimpse the shadows of fellow travelers on

their own trails,

when I hear the birds and watch squirrels jump,

when the water is clean and clear and full of life,

then I remember I am not alone. 

Everything is still hard,

but I remember I am not alone.

“Grief” by Julia Seymour. From The Words of Her Mouth, edited by Rev. Martha Spong. Used by permission.

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