photo credit here
sometimes, you learn the hard way.
and so i’ll share, what i know now, with scraped knees – this kernel that i keep chewing, back of my mouth, about grieving and living and what it means to live with, not just alongside.
i lost someone dear to me, again. suddenly. which is the way that car crashes tend to go, i suppose.
and when they asked me if i’d be willing to say a few words, up there, at the podium that hovered over the polished wood of casket … i said Yes as a knee jerks, though i only had ten minutes to prepare.
the walk up there was long, but my biggest worry was not that i wouldn’t have the right words – that i’d trip, either literally or figuratively. it was that under those funeral parlor lights, those people sitting uncomfortable in folding chairs would look straight at me and know the real honest truth of my heart:
that i hadn’t loved her well.
had loved her in words, sure. words are easy. a big hug at Christmas? a smile for the camera? fine. small talk? check. the occasional email forward? done.
but i could barely look her mama in the eye. because my love had become a noun – a thing that exists. it had long since stopped being a verb.
today marks just one week since her Facebook page went quiet, and because i know grief –the way it works — i know that the worst is still yet to come for her brother, just home from Afghanistan. for her sister, left without big-sister check-in calls.
and, more than anything, i want to speak God-love to them. want to rub balm of scripture straight on to their wounds, want to be what the Church is called to be to the broken-hearted.
but the long history of the not–loving-well is a chasm … one that will take time to bridge.
so i say to you, those who read here with tender hearts:
love “your people” well.
whether tied by bloodline or history or circumstance, do the daily work of investing yourself in a real way to those whom God has put in your path. He has put them there because he wants to use you. Yes, even you.
and you never know when someday – sudden – you might find that it’s too late.