A friend has recently written a book on grief. He was a member of a former church and an accomplished sociologist. I read it this week and was struck at the amount of prose he created to talk about grief. And then, upon reflection, recognized that when we face the mystery of death and loss and when we confront the mystery of it, poetry is all that’s left to even try to make sense of it.
Here is an excerpt called “Why Me”:
It rains, I get wet, I complain. Why me? And then I see the kindly eyes of my friend whose son died in Iraq—The rain doesn’t seem so bad.
It gets cold. I get cold. I complain. Why me? And then I see the spirited enthusiasm of my friend who loves life. She lost her breasts because of cancer—The cold doesn’t seem so bad.
I get tired. I complain. Why me? And then I remember my father-in-law whose brave and loving encounter with death showed more courage than I can imagine for myself—Tired doesn’t seem so bad.
It thunders. I wake up. I grouse. Why me? And then I hear my granddaughter scream with delight when she gets a new box of crayons—The thunder doesn’t seem so bad.
I sit is slow traffic. I complain. Why me? And then I meet my friend who needs a heart transplant moving slowly, but with more determination than I can comprehend—Slow traffic doesn’t seem so bad.
I get bills in the mail. I worry about money. Why me? And then I remember my mother who lived well on a fraction of what I live on—The bills don’t seem so bad.
Even with reasons to complain, with you in my life I am blessed. I am blessed with rain and cold and family and friends and money and much, much more. And each day I am acutely aware of you as a blessing without whom I would feel bereft of life.
Although you may be rightly preoccupied with your grief and loss, your importance to me will always be higher than you can imagine. I am glad you are in my life. I am grateful for you.
We are entering a season of intentional stewardship. Yes, this will be partly about how we all support the church we love with our finances. But stewardship is so much more. Starting with how we manage our own lives. Being a good steward is also about living a life of perspective—you and I are blessed. Incredibly so. All God has ever asked of us is to take the blessings we’ve so richly received and then to become a blessing for others. Don’t try to overthink that.