Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…
Sometimes going to bed can qualify as grief work. I was bone-weary tired. It had taken the better part of a month but I was done… 67 steps, 3 landings with appointed benches, railings and post supports, stair jacks… all stained with brush and roller. Oh, and there was the prior pressure washing prep, et al stuﬀ. Not bad for an old man with a bad back. Bone-weary tired was the only way I can describe the fatigue. The next day I was better.
Even though we clergy are not to have favorites, she was a special parishioner who had a bit of a daughter status in my life as her pastor. She sent me a photo of her beautiful 5-year-old daughter walking with her own father. A sweet photo of the two of them walking hand in hand ahead of her. Apparently as content as they could be, two generations bound in life together by the young woman who was gratefully walking behind and taking their picture. And then they were both gone. She later described her life as bone-weary tired, as if run over by an emotional fatigue that was not better the next day. I only had one word to describe the photo, “heartsick.”
I have never known such loss. I have buried my father and mother in their due course, but I would describe my grief as normal and appropriate. Sometimes, I confess, years later I still feel a sense of loss. I have presided over more funerals than I would care to count and many of them were profoundly meaningful and personal. But never have I known such loss… her beautiful little girl and her trusted father now dead and she was left with a photo of the two of them walking hand in hand as if there was not a care in the world. Heartsick leaves a person with an emotional fatigue that can only be described as bone-weary. Even years later I cannot even think on that photo without getting teary. Heartsick. Maybe you have known such moments.
“Our Father,” we are taught to pray. Pray as if to a loving Parent who wishes to withhold nothing from us. We are the children of God who grieves at our loss and misstep and wishes nothing but our reconciliation with God and one another. God is love, we are taught… and again I look at that photo. And as I wonder “where were you, God?” there is a bit of that old bone-weary emotional fatigue that sets in. In such moments I do not think on political rancor, threats of a pandemic, or rumors of an economic collapse. I think on a young mother and her loss and I think on our hope. The hope we have in Jesus.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
What is this yoke of Jesus he beckons us to adorn? It is a faith born in hope that allows us to bear the brokenness of the world with a courage that strengthens us to believe that one day, as all of life is returned to God, so is it returned to us. Jesus met that little girl and that beloved father in their death. They were never alone, never.
I have known physical weary-to-the-bone fatigue but I have never known the kind of emotional fatigue as did my parishioner “daughter.” I could get out of bed the next day somewhat refreshed. She couldn’t, not for a long time. And then years later she sent me a photo of “heartsick” and it reminded me that with the yoke of Jesus all things are possible. Even rising from the dead, or from the bed of “weary to the bone” emotional fatigue. Remembering these precious lives helps me keep the angst of pandemics, elections, and political uncertainty in perspective.
Be safe, stay grateful, and do not allow the darkness of the world to diminish the light of Christ.
Pastor Tom Kidd