Comforting Words: Daisies and Sweet-peas Anyone?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Daisies and Sweet-peas Anyone?

Did you know that April is one of the most tragic months of the year?

I thought that March took that place given all the 'tragedies' that I have faced in my life during the third month of the year.

My mother used to say, "March man is no good," and so I would be keen to know whether a potential date was born in March. Later, I would marry and divorce in March. One of my most gut-wrenching and painful days was Sunday, March 26, 2006 - the day my daughter abruptly moved out of our house.

So I was really looking forward to this month's promise of "opening" as that is what etymologists suggest the word April means. Human history, however, reveals that the fourth month has been the time of some of the greatest tragedies. It was in April that:
  • The Bosnian War began (1992)

  • The Rwandan Genocide began (1994)

  • The Armenian Genocide (April 24, 1915)

  • Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated (April 4, 1968)

  • The Oklahoma City Bombing (April 19, 1995)

  • Columbine High School shooting (April 20, 1999)

  • Reading this, I wondered whether I should just "lock shop" for the month of April and wait for May, when spring should have arrived in all its glory. Contemplating that thought it struck me that in order for us to enjoy the May plants and flowers, they must burst through the thawing soil and somewhat arid earth - a process that some of them do not survive but most do with such awesomeness.

    In order words, it is not about the month but the process. For us to grow and fully blossom, sharing our "gloriousness" with the world, there will be pain, tragedy and even death. Like the plants (daisies and sweet-peas come to mind) bursting through the April soil to bloom in May, we cannot escape pain nor, on a more personal level, can I escape the grief I feel as our nest emptied and my daughter is out in the world spreading her wings.

    With the help of my many women-friends, I am embracing April - both the tragedies and the openings. I am taking Golda Meir's advice and "weeping with my whole heart" for the tragedies - personal and on the world stage.

    I do that challenging myself to accept that these painful situations exist, such as children dying of hunger, thousands of women being raped as you read this and my eighteen year old daughter as leaving the 'safety' of my home, and that "life is like a roller coaster, so why not sit up in the front with your hands in the air? "

    During this tragic yet month of "openings," I invite you to take a front seat and get involved in life. There are many activities around the world that you can be a part of and make a difference in someone else's life and your own. For instance, April is:
  • Chocolate Eaters Month
  • Poetry Month
  • Cancer Control Month
  • Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • National Humor Month
  • National Smile Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Alcohol Awareness Month
  • Autism Awareness Month

  • Check your community newspapers, bulletin boards or any other source to find out ways you can get out of the house of pain and grieving and be part of the solution. Let's make this a month where we embrace what Emily Dickinson wrote: "Pain — is missed —in Praise."




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