You need a Rita in your life ….

Posted on December 2, 2021 by Rev. Pam Reidy under grief, loss, mourning
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This is the time of year when there is considerable celebrating, but there can also be inordinate sadness, and because the rejoicing seems to be everywhere, the sadness feels all the more intense.  For those who are grieving the recent loss of a loved one, it can be a very painful time. At the very least, this is a moment to draw on the lessons life has already taught you; a time to reach into your toolbox and retrieve strategies, actions, philosophies and traditions that have served you well. If you are blessed, you have people close by to booster your faint-hearted attempts to embrace the holidays.

At this time of year, I am reminded of the most valuable lesson anyone ever taught me. Like others, when I am stressed, my mind gears quite easily into overdrive. The holiday season certainly qualifies as one of those times. With all the extra personal and professional demands, my mind gets so overfilled with details that I can easily be going in so many directions at once that any modicum of orderliness escapes me.  Between the “what ifs” and the “I shoulds” sometimes I can barely take my next step.  Enter the great lesson taught to me by a dear friend, Sr. Rita Jolley, SND.  Rita died in 2008, but her voice is as loud and clear as ever, reminding me “keep your mind where your body is”.  It is still the perfect alert for me on the days I multitask my life and mind into oblivion. It is also the perfect advice for those grieving a deep loss during the holiday season. Leave behind the what ifs and the I shoulds.

We all have a Sister Rita in our lives, and whether they are living or dead, their deep, authentic and usually home-grown wisdom, their intimate knowledge of us, and their love for us as we are, provide the perfect blueprint for helping us through the hard times. Sr. Rita loved Christmas, and so I always think of her at this time of year.  But I also think of the great lesson she tried valiantly to teach me…to stay in the moment, to embrace whatever it is so fully that it heals, helps, teaches and forms me.  I am still learning the lesson; I am still loving Rita.

If you are facing a holiday without someone you dearly loved, seek out the Sr. Rita in your life who loves you enough to accept you as you are and yet challenges you to grow through what life has given you.  Let this person help you embrace the days ahead as the world celebrates and you don’t want to.

In Loving Memory 

               Sr. Rita Jolley SND

 During this holiday time, we wish you moments of lightness in the midst of the pain. We wish you companionship of beloved people in the midst of the loneliness. We wish you healing as you learn to endure these days. Most of all, we wish you peace.

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