Grief delivers a palpable weight of sorrow to our hearts, and the timing and lifespan of that visitation is mostly mysterious and unknowable. We are all vulnerable to grief and none of us can protect ourselves from it, nor should we try. As tempting as it would be to try to shield ourselves from the pain of heartache, it is precisely the heart’s aliveness and openness that allow us to feel the natural and necessary brokenness that comes from loss. The measure of our grief is a valiant testimony to our capacity to love. As Valarie Kaur so aptly says, “Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the cost of love.” Most often we attach the depths of grief to the personal loss of a loved one, a pet, job, home, etc. But we also know grief as the cost of loving and respecting life, our Earth and all its inhabitants, and our values; fairness, safety, justice, dignity. We suffer anguish when others suffer. The more we love, the more we courageously commit to walking through life thin-skinned; committed to the full range of how much the heart can feel.

Grateful Living can help remind us that it is precisely those things we appreciate and treasure most which open us to loss and grief. Gratitude and grief walk hand-in-hand. Living gratefully, we recognize the truth that we are offered no promises or guarantees, and there is little that we can “take for granted” besides this very moment. But to feel, live, and love fully anyway – in the face of this mystery – is to shape a life worthy of our biggest love, and the big heart of the world.

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