I wrote recently of an event where many young lives ended together, violently and unexpectedly.
This past Christmas Day, a family in my friend's community in Thailand lost its son, husband, father when the effects of a motorbike accident proved beyond recovery.
In May, the day after sustaining my fifth concussion in six years, I attended a movement workshop facilitated by a warm, bubbly woman who spoke gladly of her young sons (it seems there were a couple of us whose rough-and-tumble approach to contact improv brought preteen boys to mind. Hmm.) and her walk with our Creator. I learnt not long after that she had died suddenly: one moment she was back from school run, saying she didn't feel quite right; the next, this physically fit 48-year-old was gone.
I just learnt that my former undergraduate classmate recently suffered a third miscarriage just before Christmas.
I grieved when I heard about each of these. I grieve still. Loss is something that can never be completely reconciled in this life. I grieve for families standing in this instant void that requires a whole new way of living. I grieve for sons and daughters made aware that they must guard memories of the departed parent well if they want them to remain, because no more will ever be added. I grieve for spouses who found a good thing and had it taken away. I grieve for dreams of parenthood that seem too elusive to attain.
I grieve for our sense of safety, our belief in the order and fitness of things. This is the way I am; I don't need to take on others' pain. Simply by virtue of being who I am, I already feel it. I used to ask that my heart be made less tender so that I wouldn't hurt so much. Nothing changed; so I am learning instead to ask that my constantly broken heart be made a gift, and that its constant need for healing draw me closer to its beautiful Healer.
In this inevitable grief, I find myself at a point of decision.
Shall I believe that all is not in order and will never be? There is ample evidence to this effect in our clattering, limping world.
Shall I believe that beneath the cruel chaos lies a greater order that we cannot see because of our proximity? There is even greater evidence to that effect if we choose to ask the One who can see.
Faith, someone once wrote, is the conviction of things not seen.
How I ache for that conviction to be loudest as I navigate this seemingly senseless world.