“Some religious institutions and belief systems resists and distrust the suggestion that nature and spirit are related. Suspicious of environmentalism as an ersatz religion, they perceive a creeping, cultural animism. This belief, which runs deep in American culture, is perhaps one of the least acknowledged but most important barriers between children and nature.”
~Richard Louv Last Child in the Woods
At the town hall pipeline meeting the other week, when politics was presenting itself a little too much, I stepped in to express that we, as a group against pipelines, did not support one political side versus the other and that this issue was not a political or religious issue. My peer, Malinda, disagreed with me, stating that it was a deeply religious issue for herself. Looking back on the meeting this morning, I heartily agree with her.
This week I saw chunks of my life reflected back at me, but I should say, my previous life. I felt the palpable ache of loss when the bright yellow HVAC truck passed me once, then twice, this week. “The reminders are everywhere,” I thought. Whether I choose to actively engage it depends on the moment, but this week, I was engaged and reactive. I saw it, and I intimately felt the loss of him.
I’m working on being more in tune with myself, my emotions, my beliefs and morals. At one point in this process I had to compartmentalize my emotions to get through certain things and to be able to enjoy parts of my life more. I had to set some things aside for a while, particularly grief, but then I was beginning to wonder if those parts were beginning to eek their way out of their box. I could feel it seeping into other areas of my life and now I believe I left it alone for too long. My motto through grief has always been “you have to feel it to get through it” and I think I haven’t done much of that feeling part for too long.
I look at the other factors in my life right now and wonder if it’s just that I’m overly sensitive and hormonal right now, but I think that’s an easy cop out for just needing to feel the grief emotions again. In the next month I’ll be meeting up with my mother-in-law (late husband) and late husband’s cousins in Toronto over the same weekend that I’ll be attending Camp Widow. Exactly a month before the 6 year anniversary of losing my husband. Talk about trigger. Sometimes I wonder if I set myself up for certain things so I just can just feel it all and then move forward but in this case, I think the timing and location just worked out that way. Planning for the trip reminds me of the trips him and I made to to Toronto to visit family, and then the trip I made solo to visit them after he died. Bittersweet memories.
So now I’m recognizing these things, these losses in my life, more actively. The compartment walls are breaking down. I want to see it as a step of growth, that I’m capable and strong enough to live my life in sync with all areas of my past. That I can fully function in the present with the memories and input from the past. It seems messy but I feel strong enough to be OK with messy.
Much of this comes from my years long challenge to define my faith, to step into a belief that is so much bigger than myself, than a denomination, but is all encompassing through love. The quote above is what I read this morning. I think I’ve been nodding in agreeance throughout this entire chapter that shares about the connection of spirituality and nature. My solid safe place for the past 6 years of grieving has been nature and in the past year I acknowledge that is it because of nature that I still believe in God. It is because I see God’s power and grace written all across the fields and forests around me. They are intertwined and whole together.
As soon as Malinda stated that her faith and this pipeline debate were closely related I immediately agreed with her and regretted my statement. But I had said it to keep things in line, with the best intentions. This morning I reflect again on this and believe that to be the truth. When I drive home from work and look across that beautiful swatch of cornfields, bordered with trees, I know that this is what we want to protect. We want to protect nature. I want to protect my faith. I want to protect the place that makes me feel safe enough to grieve. It’s all intertwined.