In the midst of joy today...sadness.
I am acquainted with a woman in my neighborhood, Cindy, who is about my age. I visit her once a month as a church assignment to check in with one another, to make sure that needs are being met. Mark also checks in with this same family every month.
A couple of months ago I wasn't able to make an appointment with Cindy because she was so busy helping her daughter and 3 grandchildren get settled into a new apartment, find a job, helping with babysitting and running errands, etc. Cindy is a wonderful grandma, and she was helping this little family get established and on their feet after some difficulties.
Mark dropped by to visit at noon today, and had a delightful chat with Cindy and her husband.
Then Mark got a phone call from the Clackamas County Fire Dept chaplain about 2:00 pm. There was a fire at the home of Cindy's daughter this morning. Cindy's daughter and her 18-month-old baby survived. Her two older boys did not.
The fire had already happened, and her daughter and grandbaby were already at the burn unit when Mark was visiting with Cindy and her husband, but they didn't know about it yet.
Things can change so fast. We think we have things under control, that we can plan for how things will work out. Sometimes we can. Not always.
Mark and I drove to the burn unit in Portland later in the afternoon to see what we could do to help, and to let the family know they could call on us. We'll go again tomorrow, and more days if we can be of use. When Cindy walked into the waiting room this afternoon, I gave her a long tight hug and told her I was so so so sorry.
But what else do you say? Maybe it doesn't matter so much what we say. Maybe it matters most that we just show up. Christ said to comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to mourn with those that mourn.
There is a news report about the fire here. I'm feeling sad tonight.