This morning at church, I watched as a young boy of about four or five, who was built much like my son at that age, climbed onto the lap of a man who may soon be his stepfather. They were sitting chest to chest with their arms wrapped tightly around each other, almost like they were melted together. Instantly I was brought back into time when I held my own son that way (and my girls, too) and the tears flowed.
Also from my vantage point, I saw a man about my age who lost his wife this past November. He was sitting by his mother-in-law. I couldn't see her so well, but the man looked a lot like a lost little boy. And the congregation was singing about peace in the storm, and how "it's gonna be all right." I prayed earnestly for that man, right then and there. Our pain is not exactly the same, but it's still pain. And I know how dark loss can sometimes be.
There sometimes seems to be so much pain and loss in the world. There often seems to be so little that can be done about it. Many times, we do more harm than good by offering advice and cheery platitudes that do not take into account the depth of the pain we are addressing. I'm wrestling with ways to be better at responding to pain and loss that I come across in my world.
One thing I've learned through my own loss is the value of just sitting in silence with one who is hurting, just being there, without words, and without the cheesy admonitions, and without judgment for how the person/friend is handling their pain/loss, trusting that they will find their way through. That's cheesy advice too! I must acknowledge, some will not make it through their pain/loss. I don't know what to say (or do) about that part. So I won't say anything.
I've wrestled my way through a little over a year of mourning and I know I will wrestle some more. But for now, at this moment, I am very grateful for the joy that is interspersed into and throughout my mourning.