My heart is heavy for a friend. Her beautiful, four-month-old daughter died unexpectedly in her sleep. I grieve for her. I pray for her. I know the journey ahead of her will be filled with hard and long, inconceivable days.
As humans, I think most of us in situations such as this find ourselves wanting to give comfort, to show compassion, to reach out however we can, any way that we can. We are hardwired for relationships, and tragedies remind us of our need to connect… that desperate yearning of our souls to cry out together, to not be alone, to know it is possible for others to understand our deepest thoughts in our darkest hours.
We can switch on the news, open the newspaper, walk out our front door and taste, touch, feel, smell and see this is a hurting and dying world. We can banter our politics, our religious beliefs or lack thereof, our philosophies and theologies, but even still under it all, we want to connect. We are riveted to news of when triumph rises over tragedy. The “human interest stories” where rows upon rows of people, like you and me, stand shoulder to shoulder to rally for the cause, the cure. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, famine relief, hostage situations, school shooting deaths, diseases…the list goes on and on, a list that could easily overwhelm and cause us to succumb and retreat into a black hole. But time and time again, we choose to unite.
We want to do something. We want to make a difference, a change. To triumph evil with good. Again, I think we are hardwired for it. We do not want to be alone, or lonely. We crave the camaraderie, the bonding.
Some situations are very lonely even as crowds of people stand around to rally, to cheer, to offer support. Not all circumstances and tragedies require an obvious, visual clean-up that those who want to help can in fact roll up their sleeves and get to work, to be ready with a quick and easy fix.
Sometimes, we simply do not know what to say or do. Sometimes, the struggle, the fight, the tragedy someone is experiencing is so unfathomable, so mind-bending, yet at its core, so relatable, so frightening and so daunting we are paralyzed; we simply do not have the words.
The death of a precious baby. Sometimes, there are just no words, the right words to be uttered. At least not words of platitudes, empty, awkward words that fill up too much space. Sometimes, a simple I am sorry, I love you, you are not forgotten, she will not be forgotten are enough for the moment as the one who is in the true midst of the tragedy grieves.
Not all tragedies are causes that bring out the banners, hammers and megaphones. Some take quiet moments, long, patient moments of waiting and watching and praying and hoping and loving. I hope I remember – that we all remember as we walk in this life -to bring a smile, a word of hope, a hug of comfort, a touch of grace to those we encounter and pass each moment of the day we have been given. Never needing to know the details, sensationalize the news or completely understand the tragedies we all carry within as we live and breathe through this life together.