A time to laugh, a time to mourn

I do not think there is a time in our lives that suffering and pain, hurt and sorrow are not happening in someone’s family. Nor is there a moment where joy and laughter are not taking place at the exact same time. Oh the paradox of life before us. I think about the beautiful passage in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a season for everything. I had just pondered about the seasons in particular winter recently. Yet there are seasons in our lives which bespeaks to a “there is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven” Ecc 3:1 No matter what is taking place in our lives, life goes on.

There are some things in one’s memory that sticks and resurrects itself at times. Reminders that life moves regardless if you want it to or not. Want to change the course of what is happening. Want life to just pause for just one sticken moment, pardon my French. A memory comes to me as I remember the morning after the death of my husband. I was sitting in my van waiting for the lights to turn green because I was heading down to see my priest Father Charles at that time. My head in a whirl, looking out at the world with a haze and daze I think. Going to be making decisions that I had not prepared for at all. Hear things I was not ready to hear. See things that was not in my thinking in any way shape or form. And do things that were truly surreal and somewhat of a mystery during that sorrowful and tragic time.

It was at the corner of my street actually that it hit me between the eyes so to speak. My mind was askew I think but for some reason this stuck. There was a mother and daughter standing waiting at the lights for the walking signal for them to go across the busy street at the same time as me. They were heading in the same direction as me. The odd thing was I noticed what they were doing….laughing together at whatever was being said. Ordinary regular typical day. And the mom, bless her heart, hugged her daughter in that moment as little arms embraced her waist. They were having a good time. Just a parent and child doing their thing. And why not. Yet for me, it was not a day of happy and laughter in me or in the van or in my house. Not today. Nothing was normal about it. Not ordinary. Not typical. Nada.

What struck me as I reflect on that day was how life went on. Life continued. Life moved forward, the grass would grow, the lawns would be cut, laughter and tears abound at the street corner or in the park or at the mall or in the home….life continued. How could that be? How can that be? How does one process the pandemonium and turmoil within the heart and mind and yet see life lived before ones eyes. How does even that work?

Yet it did and it does daily. It reminds me of something I learned in a course many moons ago and walked with in my life, sharing it with others too along the way, the principle of sacramentality. A fancy term maybe, not meaningful to some, but it has a huge meaning in the lives living on this earth. Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary; in other words, seeing God in all things. That for some mysterious way, life does not pause even in the moments when suffering and possible imminent loss of a loved ones comes to us. For if I think about it, not in a morbid way, but in a more beautiful way, birth and death, are givens. We come into this world and we will leave this world. But in between a gift has been given, short or long term, a live to be lived and to live that life to do the good. To be all that we can be in that time.

Are we prepared for the suffering and pain? Are we prepared for the joyful and humorous moments? Are we prepared for a birth or a death? I am not sure if we truly are until the moment it happens. Even in the between times of our time on earth, are we prepared for the crazy life that is in abundance, full of unbelievable happiness and anguish? I think of the scripture passage from Ecclesiastes where it says the word time about 29 times or so (I counted I think correctly). In those times, they spell out life lived in relationship with humanity and its environment, stewards to this earthly vessel of human and divine life given. How does the heart and mind manage, cope, live fully? Yet I am asked to. You are asked to. We are asked to.

I do not have the answer except to pray for each of us in hope. There are no words that can take away whatever has gone on or is going on in the lives of others when things are full of grief and sorrow. Lately I have been repeatedly offering these words to people in my life that life is precious. Again and again, I receive news of those in my life who are walking with woe and heartache. Seeking answers to things out of their control but praying and hoping for strength and courage. A miracle. Oh how life is precious. It is not to be taken for granted. Yet I think I do at times.

Maybe it is watching my dad and mom having health challenges that cannot be changed. Cannot be fixed like a broken leg or aloe vera on a sunburn. I hold my mom’s hands, hands that have been worthy of greatness as she weaved them to make life better for those she touched literally and metaphorically. Those hands that would hold my face or wrap around me, pulling me close in her arms. Giving me words of comfort and now can no longer chat. Then my dad, strong and self-assured , a do it yourself guy, struggling with one weak functioning kidney after fighting and beating cancer. Grrrr. I tear up.

But life is precious and each moment counts today. So I hold my mom’s hands and massage them, trying to avoid making her wince from the pain in her withered hands. Oh mom. And I read her supposedly funny stories for old people. Yikes! I think I have to find better material. Then I sit with my dad at his home, shared with my sister and hubby, and listen to him tell the same 4-5 stories again. Gotta love you dad. But lately he even has slowed that as well. Conflicting between making things easier for him by getting him a meal or water but knowing he needs to get up to so his body does not atrophy. Sheesh. Getting old sucks. Struggling with health issue when older is more suckier. (emphasizing here)

So I pray today as I think of the paradox of life being so very precious. Where times of birth and dying, planting and reaping, killing and healing, knocking down or building up, tears or laughter, mourning or dancing….time for loving and peace be known. I pray for those who are suffering and for those who walk them in their time of need. Oh to be hopeful, to allow God to hold each of us, and allowing His healing presence so we can be still and in quietude. I shed a tear this day in your laughter and your mourning. You are not alone. Blessings.

Let us pray for those whom are in need of our prayers and to the healing warmth and guiding light of God in each of our lives. Amen

Published by karenpnd

Taking in life and enjoying what is around me. Retired educator who has realized the bounty of many gifts given while in teaching and working a board level, I have missed out on paying attention to my surroundings including human interaction. So I find myself wanting to write and share a pondering or two. And that leads me in giving blogging a go. Looking forward to meeting others along the way as companions along the journey.

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