I am experiencing so many firsts in my work all of the time – there are logistical firsts (getting my clergy badge for local hospitals to make visitation easier) and celebratory firsts – in a couple of weeks we will be hosting a baby shower for a community member who has recently found stable housing and is navigating life as well as anyone I know is. I am honored to be a friend and so look forward to that upcoming afternoon (especially the cake).
When you allow people into your heart and your daily life you affect one another. You share the celebrations and the sorrows. Today I am experiencing my first loss as a minister, my loss of a friend and a huge wave of grief. My friend has passed away.
I am sorry that his life ended at his campsite and that his last years involved everyday physical pain and often seizures. I am sorry that he had lost so many things while alive, including most familial ties. But I am glad that there were people who noticed his absence after a few days and who would not rest until thet knew where he was. I am glad that our friendship meant that I was one of those people to him. That is, largely, what we all want – the type of relationship(s) which mean that our absence is noted, is felt.
This upcoming week will mean funerary planning and more waves of grief to ride out. To be honest, it’s going to hurt like hell. It can’t be otherwise. That is what love – what ministry -sometimes does. It changes us. It changes everything.