My Lectio Divina has transported me to many unusual places. This is a recent one. My Lectio is always Philippians 2:5, but, when meditating (meditatio), I find that recent events pop into my consciousness (or is that unconsciousness?) I was recently talking with a widower and a widow about their recent loss of their spouse. Mainly, I just listen.

They were talking about the big hole left in their lives by the death of their wife/husband. Think about it.

  • One day, you have a routine established over years of give and take, one where you have a role and your spouse has another one. All of a sudden, overnight, it is gone with no hope of that person ever coming back into your life.
  • Your emotional support is gone.
  • Your partner is doing everyday tasks is not there. You are alone.
  • You realize that death is real.
  • You move through Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief without knowing it.
  • Some people try to comfort you, but you go back to your house alone. You sleep alone. You eat alone.

What fills the holes?

Advent is a time to make the rough ways straight and fill in the potholes of life. One of these potholes is the death of a loved one. You realize that alcohol won’t fill the hole, nor will you find that if cry your eyes out each night when others cannot see you, your loneliness still won’t go away.

Those that have religion can take some comfort from being with others at their church. It won’t fill the hole completely or take away your loss.

Only people can fill the hole, like getting a new puppy after your aging dog has died after sharing with you many years of companionship. The loss of another human can be filled by spiritually having a companion that is real and one you can talk to about how you feel and advice on how to continue to love and learn from what life has to give.

Contemplative spirituality, with its stress on not only thinking about the one you love but feeling their presence, is one way to begin to fill that hole. You may find that you can never completely fill that hole, or that as soon as you fill it, you find it empty again. For me, Advent is a time to fill potholes with the only filler that endures, Christ Jesus. I find that the more I try to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5), the more peaceful I am inside.

I recommend that, in silence and solitude, you concentrate on trying to fill your holes with love and peace. It is good to remember that peace is not just the absence of conflict, but the presence of love. Christ tells us to come to him if we labor and are heavily burdened and he will give us peace. This takes work, but so does filling a pothole in your driveway.

Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of the Lord. We do that by filling in those potholes and making straight our crooked paths.

Unless the Lord builds the house, we build it in vain.


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