Sometimes There Aren’t Words

Sometimes there aren’t words to say or to write.  Last night as I sat to write, my phone binged.  Text message.  One of our youth writing.  Delight–a distraction I thought.  This was a text of loss.  Of sadness.  Of grief.  A text reaching out to wonder why.  A text proclaiming the loss of a senior in high school.  A football player injured during a weekend game.  A football player who went home ok.  Who went to bed all right.  Who did not arise Sunday morning.  It is the kind of tragedy that cries out to God

Gracious and loving God

Sometimes, some days

I don’t think this is you…

Gracious And Loving.

Almighty God

Sometimes, some days

I don’t think this you…


I can’t think that today.

How could horrors like hurricanes make sense?

Why would high school seniors die?

Holy God

God who I don’t understand

God who I wonder about

I’m reaching out to You

To confess that I can’t make sense of life most days.

There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for who suffers.

I’ve heard folks say they are blessed when the wind sweeps a tree into their neighbor’s home and passes theirs.

Does that mean their neighbors are cursed?

I’ve heard folks pray to you asking for things like children writing a Christmas wish list for Santa

But that would mean that kids with cancer

And kids hit during football games

And kids bullied endlessly at school

would be on the naughty list, doesn’t it?

Holy God,

I think your words and ways are not ours.

It is to you today that I pray.

This week has been hard.

It’s one of those times where there aren’t words for what’s happened

Where the pain seems senseless and unreal

Where the young people I minister with and to faced loss

Loss of one of their own

Loss of their sense of right and wrong

Loss of the way the world should be

Loss of the teenage belief in immortality

And in the midst of this loss

You remind me

That life

This life

Has value

Beyond and above a dollar price tag

And that You gift us with one another

to live through the tears.

Holy God,

Be with us in our tears,

Surprise us with your presence,

Comfort us through your love

Heal us with your spirit.

Tuesday Night On-Call–October 2009

Prior to CPE, I hadn’t seen much death–old age, yes; deteriorating minds and bodies, yes; but actual dead bodies, no. Only a few and then only after those people had been “made presentable” by funeral homes. Bodies that sometimes appeared more pretty in the casket than they had at home. No, death in the hospital is no the pretty kind. At least not in the “made up” pretty sense.
Death in a hospital is more beautiful than pretty. Perhaps not a word often attributed to death or moments after someone’s last inhalation and exhalation, but there is something beautiful about death. There’s a sacredness to sitting at the bedside of death with family and friends attempting to say good-bye. There’s a peace in the room amidst the tears and anguish. There’s a calm in the air along with the chaos and confusion.
It’s a moment where the thin veil between we mortals and the Mystery of God is ever so slightly lifted. And in these moments I touch the holy.