Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On the path of grief


That's all the text says, most times.  Just one word and I'm moved to tears.

The texts have been coming for two months now, usually around the same moments when I'm feeling pretty shaky.

There is no expectation of answers or accolades.  No requests for prayer in return.  Just a simple acknowledgement of prayer and support.

I see the woman who sends me these texts, at church.  I usually walk right into her hugs, whisper a thank you and that's all.  I can't get any more words out.  The lump in my throat won't let me.

The beauty of these texts are two fold:

1.  She is acknowledging the pain, the grief, the tough journey I am on, and will continue to be on for a long time, and honoring the journey with her acknowledgement.

2.  Through this simple act, she is bringing me comfort and reminding me God is right here, in the midst of this storm.  The word content of her prayers does not matter to me, there is simply comfort in the knowledge of the prayer being said, to the God I follow.

To me, this is church.  This is being in authentic community with one another.  This is living out one's faith.  This is how we walk through grief with one another...simply acknowledging the journey.  I'm grateful to have her friendship on this road.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The gift of comfort from an unexpected source

"Hey," said the voice, as I walked by the table outside my favorite dining establishment in small town.  I braced myself as I turned to look at the person who belonged to the voice.  I was sure it was one of two types of people, someone from town who knew my family and wanted to offer their sympathy or one of the local homeless/down on their luck folks who occasionally ask for help.  Turned out to be both in one.

As I swung around, I looked into the eyes of R.  I've written about him before.  I smiled, as best I could, and said "Hey, how's it going," and there was this silence and a look in his eyes...then he got up and suddenly his arms were around me, holding me close as he whispered, "I'm sorry." 

I whispered back, in a very shaky voice, "Thank you, R.  Thank you."  After a moment, he stepped back and went back to his seat.  I smiled again, struggling to keep the tears at bay, and said "Thank you" again, before I turned and headed to my car.  I cried all the way home.  Shuddering sobs.  The gaping wound in my soul was opened again, but also soothed...by someone unexpected but very welcomed.

I caught a glimpse, yet again, of the beauty of R's soul tonight, of the person behind the addictions, of the person behind the label "homeless".  I was given the gift of comfort from an unexpected source.  It's a gift I'm going to cherish for a long, long time on this journey of grief.