The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
PEACE THAT PASSES ALL
This morning I decided to run at the lake for the first time since Sunday, the day of the marathon. I started thinking about a show I saw on Oprah a few days ago about a man who has just written the book "Murder by Family." This book is all about his experience as a father coming to grips with the death of his son and his wife. What makes this tragedy even sadder was for him to find out his other son was the one responsible for their death.
The father explained what had happened and his neighbors also contributed. The reason Oprah asked him to come on her show was to show the power of forgiveness. The father, we found out through the interview, had decided only hours after his wife and son's death that he would forgive the killer. What was important here is not that he was forgiving the killer but that he was letting go of the hate that would have eventually destroyed him as a person.
As I listened to them talking the notion of forgiveness rang very true for me. Hating the person who took Kristy from me was not going to bring her back. It would only make me feel bitter and not allow me to go forward and heal. But something else was bothering me. As the father spoke he seemed to be showing no emotion at all. I felt like something was wrong. Why doesn't he seem happy, or sad, or mad or something - anything!
This is what I was thinking about as I was running when suddenly these words came to me. "The peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7)." It doesn't just mean it is hard to understand. It means it is a place you enter in which you experience the unexplainable. A feeling so foreign to anything else you have ever experienced. I think I get it now, what is meant by not letting suffering or joy affect you; they are both the same. It doesn't mean you don't feel, or feel deeply. When you can accept as truth your suffering and sorrow with the same spirit as you embrace moments of joy and happiness only then have you acquired the peace the passes all understanding. They are both the same. How can this be? I always thought it meant you were not allowing circumstances to affect you, but what it really means is that you are allowing yourself to remain at peace no matter what the circumstance.
I still love and miss my daughter within the deepest part of my being. But I am now beginning to see the depth of my grief and sorrow are just another side of this love. Acknowledging and accepting them both is what can give me peace. What I suspect is that I will need to travel to this place of understanding over and over. The more I pave a path to the truth of it, the sooner I will be able to find it again and again. When you have looked death in the eye, and can set a place for it at your table, you have certainly found the peace that passes all understanding.
"To be in alignment with what is means to be in a relationship of inner nonresistance with what happens. It means not to label it mentally as good or bad, but to let it be." Eckhart Tolle
Today's workout: 6 mile run at the lake. My first run since the marathon and it felt good to be on my legs again. I toyed with the idea of running 8 miles but decided 6 would be good enough.