I had the beginnings of three different posts started to choose from this week, but yesterday (Sunday) changed all that. A friend lost her 28 year old son in an accident. Another local family lost their son on Friday in a separate accident. Life changed in an instant.
Even though most of you would not have known the difference it seemed insane to write about a favorite book or website in the aftermath of such shocking news. My heart hurts and grieves for them. The clarity of the very few things of true value pierces through everything else right now.
I saw my friend as she expertly directed a wedding Saturday afternoon, laughed and danced at the reception and went home to be awakened by the phone call no one wants to get.
I got the news when I walked in the door at church to set up for the service Sunday morning. There is some comfort in corporate grief. After the announcement we all sat in silent prayer because our assistant minister could not get the words out without tears. We understood completely. Our Senior Minister had gone into his office early that morning after he received the call and changed his sermon to one that spoke of grief, the stages of grief, and how to comfort the grieving. For now, all we can do is wrap them in our prayers, words of love, embraces and provide what basic tasks they need help with.
Like most people who have had five or more decades on this tiny planet, I have had some painful losses. It seems as one gains the wisdom of experience the more one realizes that there is only a miniscule amount that we have control over. We can let that lack of control drive us mad (and we all know people who do) or we can learn to embrace the people and the moments tightly, knowing that nothing is guaranteed to be there in an hour much less the next day.
This may seem to be a depressing post today. I don’t mean it to be, but a sadness grips me right now. This same weekend I had the delight of seeing the grown and newly engaged, daughter of my late dear friend and college roommate. Due to circumstances beyond our control, my former college suitemates and I had lost contact with CV after her Mother’s death. She had been very young at the time. For oh so many years we thought of her, wondered how she was and prayed for her a wonderful life. Through the power of social media we found her again and she made the trip with her fiancé to NC for a visit and to learn more about her lovely Mom. What a wonderful thing to see what a beautiful, sweet, smart, down-to-earth woman she has turned out to be. It was one of those times to pay attention to and wrap your heart around.
If someone out there happens to read this who is grieving, my prayer for you is that there are people near you to give comfort and if not, you will find your way to someone or someplace that can. So many people resist a place of faith now, but a good one can truly be a saving grace.
For anyone who is taking what and who is important for granted right now, my prayer for you is that you will become aware and rectify the situation before it’s too late. Regret is a terrible, awful thing to live with.
Quit working extra hours to buy the boat and go home to read to your kids. Put down the phone and see your friends face to face. Spend time with your parents and listen to their stories. Play fetch with your dog for the thousandth time just to see his tail wag. Don’t put off what you love to do until later. Later your eyes may not see or your hands may not work like they do now, kids leave home, parents pass, friends suffer in silence, dogs are not here nearly long enough. These are hard earned words, don’t take them for granted.