Monday, March 5, 2018

Thankful For My Tribe

[a letter to my church after the passing of my grandma]


Most of you know, by now, that my grandma passed away last week. She was incredibly special to me and I will always miss her. I spent the first 24 hours in tears, after hearing the awful news, but those initial tears have passed. I'm sure they'll return when I first see my grandpa and while I'm speaking at the funeral, but for now, the intense grief is gone.

There have been other tears shed over the last week as well, but not tears of pain and sorrow. I have been moved to tears on seemingly countless occasions this week by the beautiful and heartfelt words of comfort and encouragement from you all, my church family. I have been grateful for your friendship in my life. I have been blessed by your presence. I have felt the power of your prayers. 

I have been preaching about the significance of community for years now -- about the importance of being a group that truly knows one another and allows ourselves to be known. I have often spoken of the incredible power in this sort of relationship -- that through fostering intentional community we are able to be present with each other through all of life's circumstances -- whether joyous or painful. We have tried to foster this sort of communal space.

And I have certainly felt the blessing of your friendship, but until now, I had not personally experienced the encouragement and joy of a family of faith through a time of grief and hardship. Your kind and thoughtful words have buoyed my spirit. Your cards and hugs have reminded me of the goodness of God and His Church. 

Thank you for that beautiful reminder. Thank you for loving me and my family through this painful time. Thank you for being a church of prayer. Thank you for being a family of faith. I love you all greatly.

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