My friends, usually I write to encourage you with a truth I’ve recently been thinking about. Today I face a dreaded intruder and write to you as I begin to process the unavoidable pain that burst into our family circle.
The coronavirus opened the door and walked right in, stealing the life of someone I know. I wondered if it might dare to come that close, or as I hoped might happen, that it would stay in the news and not in my family.
But yesterday it came in, uninvited, to my previously safe place. An intruder who found a way to sneak past the locked doors. It’s no longer “them.” Now it’s “us.” An extended family member has died.
I woke this morning considering the cost as I thought about those whose world suddenly changed: a wife, sons, grandchildren, a dad, siblings, friends, colleagues, patients (he was a doctor), and more.
Cinco de Mayo will never be the same for this Hispanic family. But neither will any other day. Death is that impactful. Every day will be different for those who knew and loved this very accomplished man.
This is not the first intruder who believed my home was worth the effort this season. We have three nurses in our family and several whose health falls into the “fragile” category, so fear makes a periodic attempt to sneak in. And some close to me have lost jobs, so anxiety has also attempted a seat at the table.
But death is different. It wears a pay-attention-to me nametag that demands everyone look. It can’t be ignored or set aside or distracted. It rudely, stubbornly takes center stage.
I sit this morning wondering what to do. How can I ease the pain of the one in this family I am closest to -- the one I love dearly whose heart is broken?
And a book comes to mind: Just Show Up: the dance of walking through suffering together written by my niece, Kara Tippetts.
As Kara valiantly fought breast cancer while caring for her four young children and walking hand-in-hand with her husband as they started a new church, she wrote two books. The first was The Hardest Peace: expecting grace in the midst of life’s hard. This second one, Just Show Up, speaks to the question on my heart today: What can I do?
I think I’ll pull out Kara’s book and reread how her community loved her and her family clear through and beyond the day Kara entered “the land of no more tears.” Today I’ll seek some help about my part in this new chapter of our family’s life.
“We must always have an imagination
for the grace that will meet us.”
- Kara Tippetts
Pull up a chair and sit still
Has an uninvited guest pulled up a chair at your table recently? Maybe you’ve tried to close your eyes to the pain.
Let’s be brave together as we ask the Lord for an imagination to see grace in a whole new way… and just show up… face-to-face with Jesus and with our hurting loved ones.