God’s presence is in every moment and His love is in all situations. That was the message of last Sunday’s sermon. It isn’t always obvious especially in difficult and trying times, but it's there if you look.
God’s presence is in every moment and His love is in all situations. That was the message of last Sunday’s sermon. It isn’t always obvious especially in difficult and trying times, but it’s there if you look.
My cousins lost both their parents within one month of each other. My heart ached for them because I knew what it felt like to lose both parents (though not in such proximity). Though my dad passed away over a decade ago, my mom had just passed away 8 months earlier. Both my Uncle Roger and Aunt Lina (my mom’s older sister) came to her funeral. I was still mourning my mother, and I was deeply saddened when they both passed away.
Unable to attend my uncle’s funeral, I was determined to go to my aunt’s. My sister and I flew out to Chicago and stayed at our cousin Em’s home.
Finding connection in loss
In the midst of sadness, heartbreak and pain, came the blessing of family and connection. It’s unfortunate that it takes loss to bring people together, but I am grateful that I had the chance to spend as much time as I did with my three cousins. It was the most we ever talked. I found out things that I didn’t know before and I felt closer to all of them.
At the funeral, people were invited to say a few words, maybe share a favorite memory of my aunt. Looking back, I wish I had gotten up to speak. Since I didn’t share a memory then, I will do so now.
When I was in the fourth grade, my aunt took me shopping. (Those who spoke at her funeral also mentioned her love of shopping.) She told me to pick out an outfit and she would buy it for me. Excited, I chose one with a sort of western feel to it: a red and blue plaid blouse with ruffles and a high collar, and a blue denim prairie skirt. I loved the outfit and I got many compliments when I wore it to school for my class picture.
God’s love and presence
Em’s house was full of people that weekend. The funeral brought up the pain of my own mother’s passing. At times, I felt both physically and emotionally tired and when I wasn’t feeling very sociable, I disappeared to be alone. Eventually, I made my way back to the room of people. For the most part, I made an effort to be present.
It was a time of connection, not just with my cousins, but with those who were there for the funeral. I even reconnected with someone I first met 21 years earlier and hadn’t seen since. Who knew he would be the man I would soon fall in love with. But, that is a story for another time.
I believe God’s love was there that weekend and His presence was in each of those moments. I saw it in the family and friends that traveled near and far to offer their love and support. I tasted it in the delicious and lovingly-prepared food. I smelled it in the beautiful flowers. I heard it in the touching stories and memories that we shared with each other. I felt it in the connection with my family. And, though my cousins lost both of their parents, there was comfort in knowing that my uncle and aunt, who were never apart a day in their marriage, were together again.