And E′phraim their father mourned many days, and his brothers came to comfort him.
1 Chronicles 7:22 (NSRVCE)
The first funeral I ever officiated was for a nine week old infant. I was a snot-nosed kid right out of college. The grieving parents, barely older than me, sat zombie-like through our initial meeting and through the service. I don’t remember what I said, though I’m quite sure it was canned and safe and perfectly inadequate for the moment. I didn’t have a clue what they were going through and I wasn’t sure what to say or how to love them well in their grief.
Along life’s road there are many different tragic experiences that can be both painful and isolating. I have experienced a few of them myself. Wendy and I have experienced a few of them together. Some of life’s tragedies are isolating because they are not understood, or can be grossly misunderstood by others. People love you. They care about you, but they feel awkward and inadequate in their ignorance about what you’re going through. Rather than saying something inappropriate and stupid, unsure how you’ll react if they bring up the subject, they choose to simply not say anything at all.
I was struck this morning by the one sentence I pasted above which is stuck in the midst of E’phraim’s genealogical record. E’phraim had lost his sons to ancient cattle rustlers. His brothers coming to him in his grief and provide comfort was, I thought, a beautiful picture. To be honest it reminded me of times when I was comforted in my pain, and other times when I’ve felt completely alone.
Today, I’m thankful for those who have had the courage to step through the veil awkwardness and ignorance to provide presence, love, and comfort in some of the darkest moments of my journey. Today, I’m recommitting myself to returning the favor.