Even in retirement I encounter the sorrows of the world in notes and calls almost every day. A long time friend dies rather unexpectedly, a long battle with cancer ends in the death of the body of a man who surely had more to share with us, grandpa dies just short of his 100th birthday and I am called or informed. Add to these calls the calls about pets who die, sometimes peacefully after a long and beautiful life, sometimes violently, and their is plenty to grieve.
Beyond the personal there is always, “the news.” Though I didn’t know Roger Ebert, Margaret Thatcher, or Annette Funicello personally, each had an impact (positive) on my life. I mourn their deaths. All these losses, and more, are shared with me along with lots of questions and requests for prayers.
As I pray today for those who are intensely grieving I share part of an email that arrived some time ago. it continues to speak to my heart. To those who weep this day, this night, this week I offer the words of Richard Rohr:
St. Ephraem [Syrian theologian, d. 373] goes so far as to say, “Until you have cried, you don’t know God.” How different! We think we know God through ideas! But this is body theology: Weeping, wiping away the tears (Luke 7:38), anointing bodies for death (Mark 14:3-9), perhaps will allow you to know God much better than concepts and orthodox formulas. From Radical Grace
Let the knowledge of God come to you in your tears; don’t try to put words on the knowledge, just experience the tears in your loss and rest in the arms of God who has promised to wipe away all our tears (Isaiah 25:6-9)