A Liturgy for the Anniversary of a Loss

I have felt its approach in the
back of my mind, O Lord,
like a burden tilting
toward me across the calendar.
I have felt its long approach,
and now it has arrived.

This is the day that marks
the anniversary of my loss,
and waking to it, I must
drink again from the
stream of a sorrow that
cannot be fully remedied
in this life.

O Christ, redeem this day.

I do not ask that these lingerings
of grief be erased, but that
the fingers of your grace
would work this memory as a baker
kneads a dough, till the leaven
of rising hope transforms it
from within,

into a form holding now in
that same sorrow the surety
of your presence, so that
when I look again at that loss,

I see you in the deepest gloom
of it, weeping with me,
even as I hear you whispering
that this is not the end, but only the still
grey of the dawn before the world begins.

And if that is so, then let that which
broke me upon this day in
a past year, now be seen
as the beginning of my remaking
into a Christ-follower more sympathetic,
more compassionate, and more conscious
of my frailty and of my daily
dependence upon you; as one more
invested in the hope
of the resurrection of the body
and the return of the King,
than ever I had been before.

Let this loss-hollowed day arrive
in years to come as the kindling
of a fire in my bones, spurring me to
seek in this short life that which is
eternal. Let the past wound,
and the memory of it,
push me to be present with you
in ways that I was not before.

Do not waste my greatest sorrows, O God,
but use them to teach me to live
in your presence-fully alive to pain and joy
and sorrow and hope-in the places
where my shattering and your shaping meet.


Taken from Every Moment Holy by Douglas McKelvey

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