Today’s act of HOPE was a challenge. It was really difficult to find and “do” hope on this most hopeless of occasions.
Today was the funeral of a man who died by suicide. He was only 52 years old – he left behind his parents and his children and countless friends and family to grieve.
I was in charge of coordinating the funeral reception at the church, which meant ordering the cookies, making the coffee, and getting volunteers to help out.
I don’t know this family very well, but I was so overwhelmed with hopelessness. I wondered, how could I possibly offer an act of hope on such a sorrowful occasion?
I happened to take some time from the food preparations to go upstairs to the sanctuary to view part of the service. As I walked into the sanctuary, the pastor was saying, “If there is a message for the rest of us from Bill’s last days, it is to claim the hope, the help, the community of recovery that can share our burdens; that can provide for us a yoke that is easier and gentler than the ones we have been using to stifle our pain.”
I thought, yes, I am providing hope to this family by feeding them and their friends. And by setting pretty tables, placing floral arrangements around the room, and surrounding them with smiling volunteers.
The things we did in that reception helped nurture the community that surrounds Ron and Joyce. The atmosphere was loving, the food was good, the coffee hot.
I embraced Joyce when I saw her. I wanted to convey the love, and yes, the hope that all of us carry for her and her family.
My act of HOPE today was to provide a safe and loving space for Ron and Joyce’s community to surround them and share their burdens.