This is my address book and the quote from Rumi [on the left-hand side] reads as follows: “Worldly power means nothing. Only the unsayable, jeweled inner life matters.” Although I couldn’t agree more I am wondering why, if my jeweled inner life is what really matters, it is so difficult for me to erase from my address book and e-mail account those who have died. Every time I sit down to update my addresses, insert new folks, delete those who have disappeared from my life or moved to unknown lands, my hand freezes when I try to erase those who have died. I can’t do it. They remain.
A few years ago when one of my dear ones died, a friend sent me a card utterly filled with stars on a deep blue and purple background. The quote on the card was ascribed to an Eskimo legend.
Perhaps they are not the stars
but rather openings in the heavens
where the love of our lost ones
shine to let us know they are with us
and are happy.
These beautiful words convince me that I do not need to leave those names in my address book. The ones I have loved are part of the mosaic of my life. I want to be aware of their shining. A sweet grief has made a nest in my jeweled inner life. I am learning to welcome it. I want it to feel at home. It has a right to live in me; it doesn't have to go away. Sometimes when I dialogue with my grief I explain to it that joy lives in me also. I want them to be friends. In prayerful moments, I sometimes close my eyes and in my mind's eye I see them walking hand in hand in the twilight: my sweet grief and my joy. They both know that it is the unsayable, jeweled inner life that truly matters. And that is what I am thinking about on this snowy evening in Arkansas.