I had work to do: Bible study was in three hours, I had places to go, prayers needed to be written and I had to get going.
But for about fifteen minutes, all I wanted to do was sit and try not to cry.
Last weekend, we received news that an eighteen year old boy, one who had worked many days at our church through a school program, had drowned in nearby Duck Lake. He wasn’t a member of our church (or any church), but his presence made a difference in our community.
I’ve never been to a funeral for an eighteen year old before.
Underneath that reality was the daily struggle one of our members goes through with her son who suffers from a serious medical condition–and now her Dad is in critical condition in the hospital.
And to top it off, I opened an email from my home church in Chicago to learn that the woman who had lived across the street from us for almost my entire life, who grew up with my parents and was always around, died suddenly from a massive heart attack last night.
So instead of diving into Ezekiel, Paul, and Mark, I sat in my chair, closed my eyes, and tried not to cry.
A few weeks ago, I sent an email to a friend and mentor after I had a conversation with a young man about losing one’s faith. They tell us that Pastoral care isn’t easy, but it doesn’t hit home until you start walking with people in their lives. It’s what we do, but it’s hard.
I could fight it. I could try to bottle it up, or only get just as involved as I need to keep from feeling it all. Instead, I listened to music. I pulled up my Peter Hollens, Lindsey Stirling, The Backbeats, Jetty Rae, and just listened. Using music helps me to express my emotions, even if it’s just listening. And it helps me to rediscover the soul of the world, why we do all this, and why it is all worth it, every day, every time.
When I got home, I found another artist, Alex Boye, and this video:
I first heard this song a year ago in seminary when my very talented friend Sarah arranged an a capella version of it for the choir to sing at worship. I’m not usually a fan of Christian Contemporary Music–so much of it is just plain bad–but this one stuck with me. And this performance blows me away.
This funeral tomorrow may be the hardest thing I’ll do on internship. The weight of the tragedy hangs heavily on everyone’s shoulders. But I know that at the end, I, JD, Tammy, and everyone else will rise to the sound of choirs singing, drums playing, and people dancing (yes, even me).