Anger, injustice, violence, death, disease, fear, unemployment - so much hurt. Our hearts ache for the brokenness and bleeding of a nation and world - and those we love. But we are not powerless!
By Doug Hutchcraft
On the news or social media, you can't miss it: people young and old, regardless of political affiliation or financial situation, in disbelief about an awful tragedy.
You won't find any shortage of commentary about it. I can't help but process this through my own experience - listening to people with hearts that have been broken. My desire is to try to respond with God's perspective. My dad Ron puts it powerfully: "Since 9/11 I have prayed during shocking moments in the news: 'Lord, help me see and feel what You see and feel here.'"
Our then-high school grandson kept coming up with these "hmmm" kind of gems. Like this:
"Life's different from school. In school, you have the lessons, then the test. In life, you have the test - then the lessons."
Like I said - "hmmmm."
That Easter dinner folks look forward to each year - it won't be quite the same this year. Social distancing and being home sort of change things.
If you want Easter flowers for the ladies, you'll have to pick them. Much is closed. I'm not even sure the Easter Bunny's going to make it this year. Lots of travel restrictions this time. The fact is the "coronaquake" has shaken and reshaped just about every area of our lives.
If the emergency room folks had asked me to rate my pain that day on a 1-10 scale, I would have said "22." It was the worst pain I'd ever had.
My shoulder had "exploded." My rotator cuff was totally wrecked, and that day the pain suddenly erupted.
That led to multiple replacement surgeries, from which I am fully recovered today. Although I'm still tempted to start sobbing every time I see one of those "shoulder work ahead" signs on the highway.
Our granddaughter couldn't have been more than three that Christmas. Suddenly she appeared in the living room, carrying a long, empty wrapping paper tube.
"What's that for, angel?"
"I'm a shepherd," she announced emphatically. Silly me. Of course she was a shepherd. I should have known from the "shepherd's staff" in her hand.
My parents told me they were the "magic words." But they would often have to remind me, "And what are the magic words again, Ronnie?"
I still need a reminder. "Please." "Thank you."
Actually, "thank you" can be almost magical. Because like valuable collectibles, those words are getting to be pretty rare.
I saw the sign on the door of a convenience store. On Halloween.
It said, "Please remove your mask before entering." That makes sense. Just in case a mask is meant to conceal someone who's there for more than candy.
But not all masks are for Halloween. The kind that never come off. The masks that people wear all year. They present the person I want you to think I am. And conceal parts of me I don't want you to see and that I don't want to face.
A Personal Word...
This is the third anniversary of the "quake" that rocked our world - when my amazing Karen was suddenly called Home. It was - as a major loss is in so many families - a redefining moment for all of us.
This week, three years later, is strangely reminiscent of that week. That year - and this year - a grandson graduates from the local high school as valedictorian. Then and now, our grandson gives a Christ-honoring graduation speech. Then and now, I speak for their school's baccalaureate service. But this time, Karen won't be there.
But my journey through this "valley of the shadow" continues to show me Jesus as I've never seen Him before. My prayer is that these reflections will give hope to someone who may just be starting this journey. I can only say that when your life is anchored in a relationship with Jesus, the anchor holds. In spite of the storm.
I had the last handful of dirt. Many of our dear Native American friends had led the way. They really loved my Karen.
As I threw mine into that six-foot hole, I spoke the three words engraved inside our wedding rings. "Til Jesus comes." And then, quietly - "See you soon, baby."
I know I will.