On Thursday, Jennifer will travel to Wittenberg, WI to attend the funeral of Amy's husband. Amy has been surrounded by friends and family, which is so essential during these times, esp. since this was such a surprise and the shock is still overwhelming.
And it was in the midst of this shock that Jennifer, Sierra, and I went to a doctor's appointment yesterday (as many know, we are expecting our second child in September and this was a normal check-up). At the appointment, Sierra got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. Everything is going very well on that front, but the contrast stood out to me as we sat in that little room.
Here we were, celebrating the upcoming birth of our child, and only a few miles away, a mother was telling her son that he would never see his father again.
Celebration and deep sorrow.
We spent yesterday afternoon playing in the backyard with another friend and his son. I saw Sierra and this little boy running around, going down the slide, kicking the ball around - all for hours on end. I was filled with both joy and sorrow. Joy in that I love spending time with my daughter and watching her grow, sorrow in knowing that Jon will not be able to do this with his son.
It is in times like this that I once again find myself on my knees. I find myself crying out in pain over the loss over others. I find myself asking questions. And it is again, on those well-worn knees, that I receive comfort. I know that God weeps with us - and sometimes that is only a small consolation, but it is a consolation none the less. I know that God will continue to come to those of us in pain. I know that God promises us eternal life. In the midst of grief, this sometimes does not seem like enough - but it is a start.
I am reminded of Psalm 23 - though I walk through the darkest valley, you are with me. We all walk through dark valleys in our lives, sometimes they have to do with loss, sometimes with health issues, financial issues, family issues, and the list goes on. And is in these dark valleys, these pits of life, that Jesus' presence shines on us all the brighter. He brings us the support we need, the hand to hold, the shoulder to cry on. He reminds us that he has walked these paths before, and he will make these tough walks again. And he does this because we are his beloved children.
Today my prayers revolve around the grief-stricken. May all who suffer loss, who walk in dark valleys, be supported and loved. May their sorrow and grief be shared by others and by Christ. And may we all feel the loving embrace of God in our lives.