I measure every Grief I meet (561)
by Emily Dickinson
I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.
I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –
I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –
I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –
I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them Early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –
Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love –
The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the Eyes –
There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call "Despair" –
There's Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –
And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –
To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they're mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –
I often examine other's grief and wonder with my very own "probing eyes" what is the cause of their grief. As I experience my own "grief" from time to time, I also see it "in contrast to the Love." (PS. I love that she capitalizes "Love" in this poem). The grief comes sometime in the letting go of things that I may have thought were important at one time, to have the realization that it meant nothing. I find the worldliness being cut from my life almost daily to force me to have tunnel vision on what is truly important: my God. Things that at one time I felt to be important are not; it simply becomes nonsense.
As I may experience "banishment from native eyes, in sight of native air," I realize that my grief, again, comes from letting go of what others think and focus once again on truth, on Him. Nothing else matters. I am not here to please but to be purposeful in glorifying Him. I've learned that sometimes this means extending grace even when I don't want to and simply moving on. I often think that the grief comes in the transition of experiencing a wound and then it scarring over; it takes time for it to heal, reconcile, and feel the benefits of lessons learned when looking at that mark left behind. I'm there, in the transition.
You and I may not agree on the prize, we may not even value the same prize, but my prize will not award me here on this earth. My treasure is with Him, and I, like you, are going to have to work out this earthly presence. Healing will come through nights like these; praying, pondering, reading, writing. Healing will also come in the joys; teaching, laughing, growing, changing.
Again, the grief "in contrast to the Love," is little in God's great light. More than anything, I want to be able to stand in God's light and be able to magnify it more and more and more as each day passes. This process is challenging and difficult, wherein lies the grief at times, but necessary, especially if your eye is on the same prize that my eyes are on. So, I have to be thankful in times like this for the opportunity to experience what I've experienced and allow the wound to heal. Just like Jesus' piercings, those wounds are what it's all about. Without His wounds, ours would be meaningless.
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