Grief knows no language…

…but it’s own.

I got the call at around 12:50am. A woman at our church…her brother was murdered.

On my way to the hospital a milieu of thoughts were rushing through my head.  Normal questions of why and where?  Questions that pastors often ask themselves in crisis situations…what do I say?  I had thoughts of family members and my wife and daughter…of different friends.  I kept thinking I know how to handle some things…but a murder?

“God, I’m in over my head…”

“Exactly”

“What do I say, what do I do?”

“Just be”

There are no words to describe holding someone that you have never met before, that does not share a common language, as they pour out the waves of grief.  Looking into your eyes searching – pleading for an answer…searching for comfort that seems so elusive in times of tragedy.

So, I held on…I held the gazes…I let me shirt become wet from tears…I prayed…and I listened to the grief that crosses all language barriers because the sound it produces is so universal.

Since everything happened I have been blown away at the response of so many people – close friends to the family and some that barely know them at all – and through it all something wholistically natural and God given began to bubble up…community.  People from every background, race, age, and economic standard coming together to pray – to provide – to help – to comfort – to simply “be” who God has created us to be.

In a week the funeral will be over and family will have gone back home – and reality will set in.  The painful reality that a son, brother, friend…is gone.  My prayer is that the community that has begun to bubble up will not subside but boil over into a raging river of compassion, grace, and love.  It will not hide the grief but rather, it can give comfort in knowing that they are not alone.

May the God of Peace descend and may His people “be” who they are to be.

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