September 30, 2019
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. …. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…. (Psalm 23:4-6 NLT)
Last Sunday I had the privilege of chairing an informal but beautiful celebration of the life of a good friend’s wife. She died after living with cancer for more than 20 years. On Friday I conducted the funeral of a young friend’s wife who lived with depression for some time and that disease took her. She was only 35 and left her husband and a 4-month-old son.
Two very different losses, sorrows and ensuing questions and processes of recovering from them. In my brief mediation at the funeral I suggested that we never “get over” these tragic losses but instead it is rich soil out of which the rest of life grows.
That is wisdom offered by a wise friend who has lived with his own loss of a daughter for more than 30 years. Rich fruit has emerged from his pain, but it has been anything but easy. We receive the comfort of God through the presence of friends and family, music, therapy, creation and the Spirit of Comfort that enfolds creation.
It’s often a hard garden we live in, the darkness can be overwhelming but in time we discover light in the depths of that darkness. Soil is enriched by pain and tears but it is still a painful garden where the hopeful flower emerges slowly.
A Prayer for Today
O God, in whose arms we were born,
In whose arms we shall die,
In our grief at this loss, console us.
In our shock, embrace us,
In our confusion, give us hope,
In our need, give us grace to let go.
Christ in your mercy, Hear our prayer.