Weeks ago, somebody spoke to me about suffering in a way that gut punched me - bringing back, as it did, memories of Tom Fox . . . of his murder in Iraq . . .
I called dear friend Anita, who was there through it all. She reminded me of something important: when it comes to suffering the pain of loss, it’s not something we ‘get over’, at least not in the sense of it no longer being true.
The fact is, all that happens to and around us affects us – always. The ‘it’ of the thing becomes a part of all our continuous present moments.
I won’t ever be over Tom’s death, his murder.
Tom’s passing from this life is a part of my story too, simply because I knew him.
Recently, I began reading James Loney’s book Captivity. Jim was kidnaped along with Tom and two others: Norm and Harmeet. The book is compelling reading. I have dreaded picking it up. The only thing that got me to is that if Jim could live it and write it, the least I could do is read it. And I am. Often I put it down, doubled over with the pain of remembering. But I am reading it.
This past week, I have been in Indianapolis for the Presbyterian Big Tent gathering.
One of the gifts of being here is the continual and random encounters with people I have known but not seen face-to-face in a long time, most of them from my time at PTS (Princeton Theological Seminary).
Over and over again, we say the same thing to each other: “I am so glad you’re in my life.”
When I hear it, I understand perfectly. I feel exactly the same way.
All of the ‘its’ that become a part of the fabric of our lives certainly include the tough and painful times: the deaths of those we know and care about, the suffering of another whose life intersects with our own, our very own personal suffering. And those suffering moments do, as my friend Anita maintains, become a part not only of our past, but also of our continuing present.
What is so easy to lose sight of, however, is so too the good ‘its’. And the joy of friendships past is indeed a present reality.
Molly, Bridgett, Kiran, and so many others, I am so very glad you’re in my life.