Today has been a day touched with deep grief for two people I care about very much: my mom, and an elder here in our church. My mom's half-sister died at 2 a.m.; Bethel's son died after many years of heart-breaking struggle with schizophrenia. Margaret, my mom's sister, was 88 and I have no doubt she went from this world in complete peace - ready to see her parents, her husband and other loved ones again. She sat up last night in the hospital, my mom's brother said, and told those in the room she was seeing 'Daddy' and 'Paul' - her father and her husband. There are many folks, I imagine, who dismiss such claims. I'm not one of them. The life God creates is so much deeper and broader than our limited imaginations can comprehend, and I have no doubt that we all exist on many planes. And I am glad for Margaret that her passing was sure and swift and full of the love of those on this side of God's great embrace and the presence of those who had already passed over, still loving her from the other side all these years. And - and my mom is so very sad. She wasn't ready for Margaret to go, and her grief is overwhelming, as is her brother's and sister's. I pray that those who have been left on this side see Margaret in their memories, in the ways she gave them life and love for all of those many years. And I wish I could hug my mom, and hope she feels that, even from across these 3,000 miles.
For three years I have heard Bethel worry and pray for Kendall, doing all she could to facilitate his safety and well-being, and helpless in the face of an illness that plagued him with deep pain for so many years. She's one of the more courageous people I've met in the world, full of life and gratitude and laughter and love even while holding such worry and grief for the son she loves so very much. Shannon spoke with her earlier, and Bethel said he died peacefully, and for that she would always be grateful - that after a life of so much pain, he found peace at last with his sister at his side as he left this world. Bethel was able to be with him yesterday, to say good-bye.
And so, today, I want to hold those I love a little closer, to pray a little more than usual for those who grieve - particularly for my mom and for Bethel, to remember that life happens in the small, ordinary moments I have with the extraordinary people I am blessed to know and love.