Grieving is that truly unique period of readjustment where healing takes place between once having someone or something we valued greatly and then not having what was. It’s the period where the minds of the aware begin a healing process from the withdrawal of something truly valued but lost. In the midst of such traumatic things we too can feel lost, confused, disorientated. When the familial is replaced by an alternative, then we can lose all sense of clarity, reality becomes a distortion to us. In the midst of very difficult times and sad losses, when the tears well up in our eyes and our chests feel swollen, we must remember to breathe. Someone recently told me off for ‘waxing philosophical,’ but I wasn’t. Not really. No, not at all. What I have learned in life is it’s important to listen and, if someone uses words, listen all the more. Listening is a heartbeat beating, a weak pulse, and then a strong pulse. We are supposed to absorb the pains of others into our own being. To those who might complain that this is not woodworking, I don’t really care much, because for me, my whole life is all people, and all things weave in and out one to the other so that nothing becomes the exclusivity that divides us one from another because we are some kind of purist in this or that. Oh, the times people have made accusations regarding my views about hand tools and their workings. Said I was exclusive and such. No big power machines hovering in the background, no sponsors from machine makers, and then tool maker s too. They base this on the fact that I rarely ever use a machine for anything and speak openly about the reality that skills have been dumbed down and limited designs to what comes of a rotary cutterhead of one kind or another. Let me have a little shout…PAUL SELLERS LIKES MACHINES…he just doesn’t need them too much because he has the power hand tool skills deliver well and then he loves his noise-free, dust-free safe environment as well as his 10 fingers and face too much to lose them. He also loves those who would maybe never have an opportunity to learn true craftsmanship from a craftsman who’s lived the life.
Today I realized more than ever before that grieving for things can be like grieving for someone you have lost. When my parents died I grieved for them. Their passing was expected in both cases, they had both been quite ill for a decade you see, but I grieved. When I lost pets at different times I grieved then too. Sometimes when we lose a friend or multiple friends we can find ourselves without thinking in a grieving situation. Now those are too obvious, I know. So when we have lost our jobs, lost the companions we shared space with, lost the journey in traffic to work. You know, where we greeted others, neighbours, people in trains and buses, from inside our own glass bubble going the other way, it’s just OK to grieve. Call it whatever you like, losing what was normal to us will take no getting over for some, and lots of getting over for others. The deep, deep sense of loss people feel in the normal life they were used to is a major upheaval and where we can we are supposed to absorb the pain of others as much as we are able.
Reaching out to touch somebody’s shoulder has long term benefits and though we do it from a distance, just asking the questions can show you care. Where you can, my friends, make the phone call, knock on the door and make sure your friends are not over-isolated and alone. The lockdown has not fulfilled its purpose yet and we must keep going until it is done. Love your neighbour as yourself and you will save a relationship in special circumstance, probably for a lifetime.
Give yourself time to recover in the changes that have unfolded. Things will have changed for everyone and recovery takes pace at different rates for us all. Spend time in nature, watch things grow, and wait for the surprises you least expect. Please, never give up. Yesterday, in the very midst of my contemplations, I sat by a pond surrounded by trees and standing reeds. It was quiet and dare I say lonely.
There was a certain sadness on the air when I thought of so many needs, then from the very base of the reeds on the other side of the pond I saw a dark dot move over the surface, a second came and then a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth. Behind these dots emerged the mother of all, a young mallard. The ducklings bobbed and skittered whither which way they would and her head twisted this way and that until things settled and she sat atop the water serenely but ever-watching. There was no one with me to share this experience so I am sharing it here because we all have things to share. I felt a little more settled with tears in my eyes as I thought about a world in lockdown and remembered that soon we will all be released to rebuild it and then too what we value the most!
Sincerely as ever, in Love.