Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Used to Have Answers -- Now I Have Tears

It is strange how often I have shared some form of that statement in the past three years. It somehow becomes truer each time I come face to face with tragedy. The shock of four teens killed (now a fifth has died as well) in the Meaford, Ontario area was not so close as to leave me numb, but directly and intensely impacted family members, leaving me aching deeply. At a family get-together on Sunday, I asked the blessing for the meal. In my prayer I added a brief thanks that none in our family were missing, and prayed for those hurting deeply. Three people left the room in tears. My wife’s brother and his wife are the parents of one of the boys on that hockey team. David chums with the boys who were killed. He would have been in the van if there had been room.

I have learned that all my skill as a writer, and all the promises that I believe and embrace from the Bible don’t soften the hurt. They give hope (to believers) in the midst of the hurt, but the hurt is just as intense.

I’ve been overly busy, and thankful for that. There has been little time for reflection, for mulling over the fragility of life. I don’t know whether any of those kids come from Christian homes. I don’t know where they stood with God, or where they will spend eternity. I do know that God loved them, as He loves the aching ones left behind.

What does a writer do when words are not sufficient? My mind goes back to the dilemma I faced – as a poet – after the death of our grandson in March 2003. I searched for beautiful, lyrical language to express the love people poured into our lives. Almost three years later I still haven’t found the lyrical language but can express that love in three simple words. “I feel hugged.” I guess if somehow I can share that concept – if somehow the people who are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives after this tragedy can “feel hugged” by anything I manage to communicate, whether in print or in some other way I will have done something valuable. If I can cry with them, or – even without shedding tears – somehow share the ache, it will be a greater gift than profound words. That’s a good thing, because I am aching even as I write this, and seem desperately short of profound words.

In a politically incorrect move – but one I find myself rejoicing in, our local school-board trustee contacted many area churches and asked for prayer for the families and friends of the boys killed. I don’t know if he will be criticized for the move, but I am quite determined he will receive at least one thank-you.

1 comment:

N. J. Lindquist said...

It seems every week there's another accident on the roads, and at least one more death. And maybe it doesn't affect you directly, but somewhere inside, if you allow yourself to think, you know there are people just like you who are deeply hurting. John Donne said, "No man is an island." Like a pebble tossed into the water, what happens to one individual has a ripple effect that affects hundreds, maybe thousands. And although there may be nothing concrete that you can do, the fact that you care also has a ripple effect. Brian, you are so often able to put unspeakable hurt into words that bring comfort and insight. You make us stop and think, and in that thinking, we are more human, and less likely to pass by.

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