I hear the word ‘master’, and I think high education, smarter than me, money. The world is crowded with people and for anyone to stand out and compete it feels as if they have to get a master’s degree or higher now. I hear it and I feel small, the bad kind, not the good kind.

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It’s hard to think I could be a master at anything. Then I wonder if I’m a master at things I never intended to study.

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Hospitals.

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Special needs.

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Living in scarcity.

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Walking away.

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Heartbreak.

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Grief.

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Grief. It keeps coming up to the surface. Not my actual grief, although I hold that one close to the vest. No, the word grief, the idea of grief, the way our culture does it poorly. American culture moves too quickly for grief. We move too quickly for most things. We are not in the business of healing. We are in the business of hustle, sell, produce. Hustle, sell, produce. Hustle, sell your soul, produce your early death. Hustle.

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Merriam-Webster dictonary says, “Grief: deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. A cause of such suffering.”

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Some of you have grieved more than others.

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It isn’t fair.

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I have heard the wails of a mother losing her son to death.

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That is a inviolable space.

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Naming grief is hard. We want to assign it to death and death alone. It’s bigger, harder, more complicated than that. I’ve started seeing grief for what it is. Hidden in our everyday lives, sneaking up on us, causing anxiety, anger, fear, whatever we can conjure to not feel the sadness. We don’t want to label it grief. We don’t want to be dramatic.

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In our effort to make things less, we give them the power to grow larger.

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Grief. It is a long, slow, rocky, and delicate path. I’m not a master of it. I don’t believe anyone is. No one signs up to learn how to grieve. We all face it in the end though.

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We grieve loved ones gone.

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Jobs lost.

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Churches we left or were banished from.

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Friends who left.

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Marriages that fail.

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Marriages that stay.

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Children.

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Dreams. Lost and attained.

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Mental health.

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Grief.

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What do I do with the grief that comes in, spurring tears to my eyes, while also, in the same hands, I hold the truest happiness I’ve ever felt?

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I feel it.