Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A time to laugh, a time to cry...

Yesterday as I spoke to a friend on the telephone, she told me of a friend of hers, a 38-year-old man who'd died suddenly over the weekend. This morning I received an email about a woman I knew from Connecticut who'd died in her sleep earlier this week. Over the weekend, I attended a retreat for homeschooling moms (which could be a blog unto itself...) during which the speaker told of a young mother who'd recently died of cancer. The brevity of life is rarely discussed.

Tomorrow morning we will fly out to San Francisco for the weekend to see some friends and celebrate the clean bill of health recently given to their one-year-old daughter who waged and won a fierce battle against cancer. Another dear friend who suffers with depression is making progress in the battle against the darkness. Another is healing from a successful hip replacement surgery and is rejoicing in painfree morning walks with her dog. Many hundreds of evacuees from the Gulf Coast have been placed in housing here in Charlotte, have enrolled their children in school, and are finding work to provide for their families. Victories over despair and disease are not discussed nearly often enough.

So today, I will set aside time with my children to mourn for those who have lost loved ones, for those who have lost their homes and businesses in disasters of all kinds, and to pray for those still in the midst of difficult times. And we will also pack our suitcases, read a few guidebooks, and make plans to enjoy our time in San Francisco, all the while giving thanks to God for healing Caroline.

This morning, I went for a long walk with my husband and we talked about how blessed we are, how well we live, and how much we have to be grateful for. We laughed at our children's antics and questions and unique learning styles. We lamented the crisis of leadership and direction both in our church and our nation. We brainstormed about some plans we are making for future travel, homeschooling, and family activities. And throughout our conversation, I thought of the widow in one of the homes we passed, the woman who recently lost her husband to cancer. I thought of two couples I know anxiously trying to get pregnant. I thought of all the divorced, broken, and blended families in our neighborhood. Mostly, though, I gave thanks for our health, our life together, and the realization that no matter how brief life is, every moment of it contains some touch of grace, some strand of hope, some possibility for love.

The Bible says, "Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning."
Today we will weep with those who weep.
Tomorrow we will rejoice with those who rejoice.
Daily we will lift our hands and hearts in praise and thanks
for this gift that is life.

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