I know this doesn’t sound like a thank-you from the title, but bear with me.
I’m going to start with a quote from “Beauty Will Save the World” by Brian Zahnd,
“Sorrow is a necessary consequence of loving others and being fully engaged with humanity. It is through the work of grief that we carve depth into our souls and create space to be filled with comfort from another. In this way, grief is understood, not as a reality to be denied, but as a work to be attended to. …Where… banal happiness seems to be the highest goal, we don’t want to attend to the work of grief, we put it off as an unpleasant task or something beneath our station, But this has consequences… In such a state the soul can never know true comfort and joy; it can only be anesthetized with entertainment. It is in the work of grief that space and depth are created – space and depth that can be filled…
“Jesus is making an important announcement to those who… have allowed themselves to be sculpted by pain and sorrow. Jesus seems to be saying that those who have… engaged in the real work of grief… are the ones who will encounter deep comfort…
“When human beings suffer tragedy and profound loss, there is a certain amount of grieving that is required. But in the mystery of human inner-connectivity, the work of grieving does not have to be done alone. When we choose to bear the burden of sorrow with others, it really does lighten the load for the suffering.”
I read this on the same day I went through cards again – cards from the funeral, and cards that we have received since. I sat in front of the fire and glued them into the blank books that Don put out at the funeral – that many of you wrote memories and encouragements in.
You guys, this season is hard and awful and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. And yet in the midst of our pain, at what feels like the end of joy, we have received such overwhelming comfort.
It reminds me of more of Jesus’ words: he promises that those who have left homes and families for his sake will receive them back many times over. We have done this, and sometimes it has been a joy and often it has been a sacrifice, but…
Especially in our time of need, we have found that we have a greatly extended family who is looking out for us – providing us with homes (including our home for this month on Pender Island), transportation, food, and encouragement.
So thank you. Your words (and your presence through them) have meant so much. Your cash gifts have given us the freedom to make choices based on what we need at the moment without fear that it will cripple us tomorrow.
In the midst of our mourning, we are finding such incredible comfort.