my husband is on his way right now to attend a funeral of a friend who recently took his own life. he and my husband were childhood friends, had gone to preschool together on up through high school graduation. if you are from a small town, then you know what this is like: everyone knows everyone, and everyone feels connected, no matter how long it's been since you talked. i think this is especially true if it's a small southern town. and this is the kind of place where my husband grew up--a small, close-knit, southern town.
i don't know these people at all, so at first i think i tried to distance myself from the situation so i wouldn't be sad. i know this is selfish, so give me points for at least admitting it. i have found myself lately trying to avoid any and all things sad (including sometimes even then evening news) because i don't want to start down a road where i might end up crying. i think right now if i started crying i might never stop.
so i'm not going to let myself cry for this family. but since my husband heard the news last thursday, i have found myself growing increasingly attached to this family i don't know. the friend left a wife and three small children behind, plus many more family members and friends i'm sure. my heart is very heavy. i look at my own kids, think about myself (yes, i know, selfish, but isn't this how we all try to bind to each other, by trying to relate ourselves to other people's experiences so we can feel real connections?). i can't imagine how i would cope with this, how anyone copes with this kind of loss.
so it's been a long time since i've been really, truly inspired to pray about much of anything. when i've been in prayer circles with friends and have been asked to pray for "grandma's leg to heal" or "for me to get a new car because my current one is about to break down" or whatever else we upper-middle-class Americans pray for these days, i have to admit that i'm not really inspired. many, many times i'm not even moved to pray for my own life and issues. i don't know why; i'm just not.
but today, in the hour during which this family is facing the deepest, most profound grief, i am moved. i am praying for strength for them. i am praying for understanding, or in the absence of understanding, peace. if you are moved, join me in praying for them too, especially if you read this around 11 a.m. EST, which is when the funeral services begin.