There was a terrible tragedy this week in the community that is Amy's faith home. Many people are stunned, and raw, and hurting. The nature of the tragedy has derailed some of the normal comfort measures available to people in response to their grief, but not all of them. The meeting house has been open daily for people to gather and sit in silence or speak as they feel the need to. A calendar has been established to organize food deliveries for the family that was most directly harmed. There have been conversations about how and when to help the children in the community understand and grieve what happened. Church is doing one of the main jobs of church: keeping people going when the world has turned upside down and fallen on their heads.
Amy spent hours on Friday cooking and baking. She and Dave and I helped set up at an event this morning that had already been scheduled and was definitely not going to pick up any last-minute volunteers. Our family sent a sympathy card to the storm-tossed family. Small but important things that will hopefully be helpful, seem to be appreciated, and that also help us during a difficult time by giving us something to focus on.
I've written before about the cost of excluding poly families when they suffer loss, but the reality is that those concerns are not usually at the forefront in my own life. What worries me more is people being blocked from helping. I think non-traditional people get an unfair rap for being self-centered. For making everything about them. What most traditional people hear is "oppression justice look at me blah blah blah." But we can't take soup to grieving people who fear they will be polluted by our presence. We can't help set up Christmas decorations in a sanctuary that sees us as a rejection of the Christmas message. We certainly can't teach in Sunday School when we are, by definition, transgressive deviants. We can't take the focus off ourselves when everyone keeps staring at us.
I am grateful beyond words that Amy's faith community accepts our entire family, so that we can care for our neighbors and brothers and sisters. I am grateful beyond words that my own church home accepts our entire family, so that I can serve on the Board of Directors and help run the sound board and give advice of dubious quality about volunteer coordination and ministry outreach, and have them hold everyone in prayer during this terrible time. To grieve in isolation is a terrible thing, as celebrating in isolation is a sad thing. And that is what all ministry boils down to. Offering comforts small and large. Throwing parties small and large. Keeping the world going, one day at a time.
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