Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life force.
The sacred within us instinctively resonates with the sanctity of food. Therefore, the growing, transporting, distribution, and consumption of food are sacred acts that deserve ritual and reverence from the moment the seed is planted in the earth to the moment we have washed and put away the plate on which our food was served.
The annual ritual of end and beginning has come round again and the ashes are piled high throughout the landscape. For these are not only the dark days of the waning year, they are also the dark times as more and more people have “fallen on hard times.” Deep financial troubles and political foolishness have made the growing gap between those who have too much and those who have too little painfully evident. Amidst the hardening of hearts and narrowing of minds that increasingly pass for public policy, the deeper sense of justice and the instinct for human relatedness seem but dim lights amidst the growing chaos. Blind self-interest, the spread of fear and threat of conflict seem about to overwhelm everything.