It’s impossible for me to miss the significance of prior losses remembered this weekend. Yesterday was the two-month anniversary of Samantha’s death, the day she would have turned six months old. And then there is today… no comment necessary unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years. I listened to some of the family members talk about the loss being almost as fresh today as it was ten years ago, and I wondered to myself if losing Samantha will always feel that way.
I can’t begin to compare my loss with the loss experienced by so many ten years ago. They aren’t even in the same plane. Sudden versus prolonged, terrorism versus illness, adults versus an infant. That is not to say that my loss is more or less than theirs; it is just not the same kind of loss. Every loss is unique in its pain. Tolstoy wrote “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” (Anna Karenina). While my family is not unhappy, our loss doesn’t lead us to be a happy family. Neither would “happy” describe the families of those who died on 9/11, I’m guessing.
I haven’t cried a lot about Samantha in the last couple of weeks, but yesterday I was overwhelmed by the loss once again. The questions flooded my brain again, questions without any answers. I’ve started to realize that my desire to have another baby is partly from a wish to have a do-over on this past year. Part of it is the knowledge that if we are going to have another shot, it’s gotta be soon given my age.
Among the thoughts floating in my brain on this day was how we react to politics in our country. If the politician is from “our” party we agree with everything they do, no matter what. If they are from the “other” party we have to dislike everything they do. It seems ridiculous. But I found myself being moved by our president using the words to Psalm 46 during this morning’s ceremony at Ground Zero. And yet I didn’t want to talk to people about liking it, because it might be taken as full support for everything our current president is doing/has done. I have mixed feelings about most politics and most politicians. And I don’t want to start writing about politics as a rule, because that’s a whole different can of worms. Why is it that politics stirs up so many emotions in people?
Then again, we are emotional people. That’s being human. Loss makes us react with sadness. Good news, we respond with joy. Hot-button issues (politics, religion, etc.) make us tense, angry, passionate, or excited. And while some folks struggle with being over-emotional, where their reactions are too pronounced, for the most part, it is the fact that our emotions can be touched by the same types of things that ties our humanity together. It’s how God created us, with feelings and reactions that can be as various as our appearances and yet ultimately so recognizable because we all have the same types of feelings. Feelings that God also feels. Scripture tells us of God being angry, jealous, rejoicing, loving, caring, mourning… When Lazarus died, Jesus shed tears. Our emotions are God-given, even God-breathed. Unfortunately so many of us use our emotions to excuse sin, as though the way we express our emotions or the actions we take because of our emotions are also God-given. Wouldn’t it be nice if that wasn’t true. I guess I’m naive that way.
Today my emotions are pretty neutral, surprisingly. I’ve had my moments where the tears have come to my eyes, but mostly I’ve spent the morning just trying to get stuff done. I end up running around church like a chicken with my head cut off lately on Sunday mornings. I put up signs to help people find where to go for Sunday school. I teach the high school class. Then I have to taken down signs either before or after church, and this week I also had a youth meeting right after services. Worship was my only down time. At least I do have that moment to rest and focus on the point of Sunday.
So, how do you feel today?