This is not what I intended to write. For a month now, I’ve had a topic chosen, and it’s been rattling around my mind ready to piece together in a frenzy on the day it is due. I was all set to talk to you about peace and joy and comfort. After all, I tend to be a pretty rose-colored glasses person, and “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) has been in my top five passages my whole life.
When the time came to put the words to paper—well, type on the keyboard and see them on the screen—that’s not what came out.
Instead, the passage that kept coming to mind was from Proverbs 27:14: “If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” Now, I’m a morning person, but I don’t live with all morning people. I live with people who don’t love the “It’s Uppy Duppy Time” song that a friend taught me. I know that sometimes the night owls just need quiet, dim lighting and time to adjust before facing the day.
Maybe that’s how you’re feeling right now with all that’s going on in the world. Maybe you’re struggling with loneliness or fear, frustration or anger. If I wear rose-colored glasses and I haven’t given you the space to grieve the loss of your plans, your “normal,” your security, your income, your end of the school year, then my words will come off less like a blessing to you and more like a curse.
So what words to say instead? I kept going back to Job’s friends. Job was a man who lived thousands of years ago who lost all of his children, his wealth, his home, his health. The only thing left was his wife, who—I’m sure out of grief—didn’t say very nice things to him. That’s when his friends showed up and sat with him for seven days without saying a word.
That’s because there often are no words. There are no words for the friends of friends whose two-week-old baby died from an intestinal blockage. No words that take away the devastation when a senior in high school dies of a brain tumor. No immediate words for the people losing their jobs. What do you say to people praying desperately for loved ones who work in healthcare and for those who are worried about the mental health of those who are scared and feel stuck at home?
So, today, I am acknowledging the depth of your uncertainty, the depth of your struggle, but not saying anything. I’m just going to sit (virtually) with you—in your frustration, in your sadness, in your grief, in your anxiety. After all, Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time to mourn, and we “mourn with those who mourn” says the book of Romans.
With Easter right around the corner, I want to remind you of something. (I guess I do have some words for you.) I can “sit” with you in spirit, but just four months ago we celebrated Christmas, when Jesus came to earth. His name is Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” God with us came to be with you, to sit with you. God is here. God is still here. God will always be here.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who might use her original topic for her next post.