(First published June 1, 2016.)
It’s the first week of June.
It’s the funeral day for an infant. It’s ten days until the wedding for a young couple. It’s another day for not leaving mom alone. It’s the first full week of school being out.
In other words, it’s a day of conflicting emotions for all of us who are aware of emotion. It’s another day where we try to figure out how to greet the people we meet with a sense of understanding and safety.
Recently, I talked wth grieving parents. I said, “People will try to figure out what to say.” And she said, “And they will say dumb things.” And she was right. But there was no way that she didn’t want people to try.
I walk into hospital rooms and sometimes say, “How are you doing?” And I smile and acknowledge that it’s an odd ritual greeting, given that the person is in a hospital bed, has bandages or IV tubes or beeping machines or all three.
“Be devoted to one another in love,” Paul wrote to a group of Christians in Rome. He was inviting us to connect, to look for all the possible ways to express our concern and compassion and affection and care. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn,” Paul says. Take the time to figure out which is going on and match your expression and your soul to that of the person you are with.
Before you tear apart the celebration by reducing the significance, before you remind the mourner that everyone dies and many relationships break, Paul says, rejoice and mourn.
June would be a great month to tune your heart to those around you. To be devoted to one another in love.
The quotes from Paul are in Romans 12.