September 19, 2021

The Unexpected Intersection of Pain and Peace, Guilt and Gifts

Certain days and times of the year feel different than others. Whether it’s the anniversary of one’s recovery, a birthday of a person who is still with us or no longer with us, a holiday in one’s faith tradition, the anniversary of the first time we met the love of our life, or the anniversary of the first day we found out about a loved one’s illness that led to their passing, these days stay with us.

They urge us to feel the passage of time, to ponder the lives we have, to be in the ever present now, while also experiencing the people we love and have loved in new, often more appreciative ways.

These ‘special days’ often have a sacred feel to them, a holiness. In the Hebrew language, the word for holy, Kadosh, means transcendent, awesome, awe-inspiring. More subtly, it means separate.*

Holiness is a time of separation from the mundane. Did you ever have that quietness come upon you? The feeling that something you are in the middle of or just experiencing is bringing you a sense of transcendent peace?

Working Steps 1-3 of the 7 Steps to BALM can bring that peace, as can simply being present to a God wink that is beyond explanation, yet real. Today, I experienced something that took my breath away.

I wrote a condolence letter to a family today, long overdue. As I was writing it, I felt my grief for this family well up, along with a sense of God’s presence. The mom’s response was astounding. It turns out that today is her son’s birthday and so the letter, which I had been putting off but felt compelled to send today, had a special meaning for the family.

I couldn’t have known that. Yet, my writing the letter to her today, about which I felt some guilt due to its lateness, turned out to feel like a gift to the mom. Even thinking about it gives me peace in the middle of the sadness, a sense of self-forgiveness in the middle of taking personal responsibility for my own tardiness.

That separateness, that holiness, crept in, unexpectedly, as if to say, “There is someone in charge and it isn’t you.”
May each of us experience the holiness, the separation of the sacred from the mundane, in our lives during occasions happy and sad, during prayer and meditation, during the moments of our lives as they come and go.

May our practice lead to growing insight and wisdom and bring us peace.

Yours in peace and love,

About the author

Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CBFRLC, CTPC, known as the "Foremost Family Recovery Life Coach in the Nation", is the Founder and CEO of Family Recovery Resources, LLC, and the BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror®) Institutes for Family Recovery Coach Training and Family Recovery Education.