Some dear friends from our church family are grieving and my heart just aches for them. I wish that somehow, someway the pain I feel in my heart for their loss could lessen, even just a bit, the pain they feel. It’s just so tremendous. But I know that doesn’t really happen. But I really wish it did.
“For about two weeks the church was really the church–really awesomely, wonderfully the church. Everyone came to the house, baked casseroles, carried Kleenex. But then the two weeks ended, and so did the consolation calls.” [Lauren speaking now] While you the mourner are still bawling your eyes out and slamming fists into the wall, everyone else, understandably, forgets and goes back to their normal lives and you find, after all those crowds of people, that you left alone. You are without the church, and without a church vocabulary for what happens to the living after the dead are dead.
Ironically enough, I was reading this chapter around the time death occurred. I didn’t feel any supernatural tugging or get chillbumps or anything of that sort. But the next morning in church service, when I received the news I remembered what I had been doing the night before and it all became very clear.
I know my friends are private people and I can respect their wishes to mourn privately and be comforted by those closest to them. But I truly, fervently hope that we, the church, can really be there for them not just now with casseroles and Kleenex but 3 months from now, six months from now, one year from now with prayers and support and empathy for the sorrow we bear with them but only they can survive.