Sunday, I attended a funeral service for one of my wife’s dear cousins. Joni died tragically in a house fire on December 13th. With the exception of her family and friends, the terrible shooting tragedy at Shady Hook over-shadowed this solemn event. Understandably, as a nation grieves for the loss of so many, especially the little ones.
As I contemplated the hallowed memorials to the slain in Connecticut and the memorial for Joni, I was impacted by the final words from her brother, Greg, while at the grave site. Greg’s insight may not be new, but bears repeating. His simple statement applies to all who are grieving. Greg said we feel so much pain because there is so much love. He said he was very saddened because of his sister’s death, but grateful that pain exists because he knows of the great love that flows from family and friends alike, as well as from his own heart. Greg’s perspective came from the analysis of his feelings and observations. I believe his conclusion to be right on.
Whether loss occurs suddenly or over an extended period of time, if we love we will feel pain. Not by accident, it is love which sustains us during these trials. Pity those who know not love. I am forever grateful for the love of family and friends. I know I shall never stand alone. Because I believe in a loving and compassionate God, I accept His pronouncement that I am the Apple of His Eye which simply means that I am greatly loved by my Creator. Many know such a love as this.
Regardless of one’s faith walk (or lack, thereof) love is paramount if we are to exist in any sort of meaningful and rational way. Trying to make sense of devastating shooting sprees or a fifty-six year old mom and grandmother dying in a fire can be an exhausting and futile search. The bottom line is that we live in a flawed world where bad things happen to good people. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. I join a mighty chorus of hurting and loving citizens and family members in expressing my condolences, and I reiterate an oft spoken hope for peace on earth, and goodwill to all.
During this Christmas season, and beyond, may we make a point of being better lovers, not in the romantic sense, but in the intimacy of relationships where the negative effects of fear and hate, failures and disappointments, bitterness and anger, (insert nouns here) will dissipate. And, in their place, may unbridled (selfless) love abound. For as the Apostle Paul announces in one of his letters, “Love never fails”. Christ made sure of that when He gave His all for each one of us.