Today is January 12, 2017! This day is always a day that makes my heart heavy. Seven years ago, my friend Renee, her husband Ben and Ben’s cousin Jon were in Haiti when the earthquake hit. While they were in Haiti and before the news of the earthquake reached us, I was sitting with my Diaconal Ministry Formation Event small group when we got the news that they were indeed still in Haiti. That morning, we found ourselves listening to Ben’s song “Mourning into Dancing”. Then that afternoon, we all learned about the earthquake and that Ben, Jon, and Renee hadn’t been heard from yet. For the next several days, I along with my friends found ourselves glued to social media and news outlets as we waited to hear more. Then Thursday morning, we received the news that Ben had lost his life in the earthquake.
For the last six years since the earthquake, I begin and end this day by listening to Ben’s song “Mourning into Dancing.” It includes these words from Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” It is the song my small group played as people walked into worship that Thursday afternoon after Ben’s death was confirmed earlier that morning. It is a song that takes my breath away but also is a song that reminds me of the ways that Ben still lives on through his music.
Grief is a strange thing, isn’t it? It has a way of hitting us in the most unusual places. It can be as simple as a smell or a favorite item or book. Yet in the midst of grief, I find myself so very thankful for the people God has placed in my life. Because together, we are able to hold each other in the midst of life’s joys and sorrows.
Earlier this morning, a friend shared this quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross,
The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.
I believe that is why Renee (and Jon) continue to tell their story through Renee’s book “A Witness” and through their ministry to the wider church.
Losing someone we love is so incredibly hard, but there is hope; hope that we will one day see each other again. And that, my friends, is a hope that I find myself clinging to today and all the other days that my heart and soul are weary.
And don’t mind me, if you walk by my office and hear me belting out to Ben’s music, because as my friend Bryant said earlier, “If Ben taught me anything, he taught me that every day is a day for singing.” So with a heavy heart and soul and as I remember Ben and all the Haitians who lost their lives that day, I will continue to sing proclaiming the promises of God; promises for today and every day.