Sunday, January 9, 2011

When I was in seminary in the late '80s, I had a friend who was a pastor in Kansas. This was the time when so many farms were being taken back by the banks and families forced to watch as their neighbors bought their own possessions at auctions, usually in front of the home they just lost. Losing a farm is not like closing down a store--it is the loss of a legacy, a heritage, the gift that was going to keep the children going, and the loss of a way of life, an identity. I asked my friend, the Kansas pastor, what he said to his parishioners as they lost their farms and lost their belongings. He said, "There is nothing to say. You just stand with them, so they know they are not alone." The death of a brother and son is like that. There are no magic words to make the hurt go away, but you can stand quietly with them. You can, by your presence, give them both strength and comfort. Sometimes, the very best you can give is just to be there. Being there makes all the difference. May God send comfort and peace to all who have lost loved ones, especially brothers and sons.
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