While many of my readers have no real need to know or understand that, I hope that the lessons I am learning may somehow benefit those who read this all the way through.
I had the joy of visiting with my oldest child yesterday.
The day before Michael's visit here and the day after, my friends each had one of their children exit this life.
There are many who have had this experience--more than I can count.
Some choose to write about their experience:
terminated a pregnancy in anguish.
My heart is mixed with the sadness of my friends, and with the joy that I was blessed with in between their grief.
Truly a bittersweet mixture.
This bittersweetness is also taking on a color of anger.
Anger at myself, mostly.
In the past few days, I have allowed myself to get caught up in some of the issues many are ranting about here in America: gay rights, abortion, London Olympics, presidential candidates, economic depression, gasoline prices, sports shame, etc.
A pastor/friend, Mark Gittens, has called for Christians to remind themselves that they are not of this world, nor its systems--and that, for all its greatness, America is not heaven.
I needed that reminder as much as anyone; but his call didn't help.
I got slapped awake by the reality of the death of kids that I know, whose parents have been a big factor in my life.
America is in the midst of the posturing and pandering of a presidential election. When it is over, the glitz and glamour, the gloating, grousing, griping and glee will continue. And all the while, people are dying needlessly.
We are fighting over whether free speech should be protected if it involves the opinion of someone with whom I disagree. And all the while, children are desperately searching for this week's meal in their local garbage dump.
We are squabbling over a TV network's coverage, or lack thereof, of the London Olympics--a place for professional athletes to showcase their superiority over amateurs. And all the while, men and women fail to wake up from their last fitful sleep on a park bench, under a bridge, or on a gutter vent.
We become greatly exercised over the latest hot-button topic, and get angry with those who do not see it our way. And all the while, parents are burying a child.
There is nothing in our makeup as humans that prepares us for the loss of a child. We hurt when we lose our parents. We move on when a sibling dies. We are grateful for our friends when a mutual friend passes.
Time stops when we lose a child.
"It's surreal," my friend told me on the phone, as he was trying to come to terms with his son's death.
Concerning myself with what others may or may not think about the particular "issue du jour" is no less surreal; but fraught with almost total meaninglessness in the light of what truly matters.
Comments, questions, and/or criticisms are welcome. Please join and add to the discussion. Thank you.