I can’t get my arms around August…there was so much loss I felt during that month. My heart is holding a great deal of what I have left behind but will never be forgotten.

I can’t get my arms around the loss of my dear dachshund Ashley who left us in August. Little did I know that my balance would be affected when my legs weakened and my knees buckled as I cradled her lifeless body in my arms on the way home from the Vet’s office. We buried her in our yard near a spot she traversed every day. My mind knew it was time to let her go but my heart and body knew differently. My tears were emptied onto Ashley’s face and head as we lowered her into the ground. My tears drained me of substance, leaving me feeling lost with no direction.

I can’t get my arms around the loss of making the decision to leave a ministry I had served in and been involved with for 25+ years. There is so much goodness in those years gone by; likewise there is much to grieve. A web of sorrow has attached itself to my heart as I think back over those years. There are relationships that I have lost, and there are others that remain. In this tender place I find my heart is in a sacred space that needs kindness and care. This is a place I am aware that evil can feel consuming. This is the scared space that I need for the loving kindness of God. This is the space I want to offer my “No” as protection for my heart to hold my boundaries. This space of loss and letting go requires honor.

I can’t get my arms around a month of parties here on our patio with local and distant friends. I loved the entertaining and gaiety of it all; yet try as I might to set aside my losses, I sensed a fragile uncertainty of what the future holds. It is as simple as my lake friends departing for the season. They are a wise older couple from Texas who bring such fun and security in my life and now they are gone. Similarly, my close relationships that are plotting a course in the land of unknowns and waiting for God’s more.

I can’t get my arms around these losses because they are the ones that feel so life-giving to me.

They are the ones that breathe comfort, encouragement and creativity into my life. These losses feel like death to my heart. I have buried myself into the “pretending” mode of “I can gut my way through.” I don’t want to do that any longer.

I’m looking into September as a chance for me to rest and an invitation to grieve. I am giving myself permission for honest conversations with God…I can’t pretend any longer. My losses have awakened my heart to the tenderness and delicacy of life…including my own. Quite honestly, these losses have taken my breath away. I need time to breathe in the gift that Ashley and ministry were in my life. I need to breathe in the goodness of the relationships that remain.

My time is now…what about for you?


MJMary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.
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