I was Thinking…
Experiencing life together is important. When friends and family walk through life together there is a bonding that takes place unlike any other.
This past week was a reminder of this for me. With the death of my ‘Down Syndrome’ sister-in-love, Jeanne, I was reminded of the power of walking together through life. It had been a very hard three weeks for the entire family while Jeanne’s life hung in the balance. When she breathed her last breath this past Friday, there was a gift given us that in many ways was unexpected. It was the gift of stronger relationships and deeper family/friends embrace. As we are walking together through this dark time we are coming out on the other side a different people. With already a strong circle of family and friends we were not thinking at all of a need for strengthening…yet it is happening. Walking together through the darkness of uncertainty and loss has brought us even closer.
I was privileged and honored to be asked by my father-in-law to participate in Jeanne’s ‘Celebration of Life’ service. It dawned on me as I was preparing that I (and maybe others too) needed reminding that resurrection happened in the dark. “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.” (John 20:1) And it has been in these recent dark days that we have rediscovered resurrection. We are finding the embrace of God to be real and sustaining. We are finding that walking through life with others has a miracle in its midst.
When Jeanne was born in 1962 it was very dark day for my in-laws. Receiving a ‘Down Syndrome’ child any day is a challenge but in 1962 there were those who suggested institutionalizing her. Sharon’s parents didn’t know why Jeanne had been born with ‘Down’s’ and they didn’t know how they were going to do it but they decided they were going to love her and provide for her as best as they could…and they did.
What they didn’t know then…they (and we) know now. What they thought was insurmountable darkness became the greatest light in their (and our) lives. Jeanne was the purest expression of God’s unconditional love to everyone she ever met. As I said Sunday at her service, “If you don’t believe in God, then you should have hung around Jeanne!” God is love and she was a pure vessel of God’s love.
I write all of this to say…don’t be lone rangers! Walk thought life with others…even the dark seasons of life…walk with somebody(s). If you don’t feel you have anybody…then ‘be’ that somebody for someone else. It is then that you will find the words of Jesus in Luke’s gospel to be true “…give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)
Experiencing life with others is a God ordained plan. We were never meant to walk life alone. Let’s walk together!
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