SADNESS and JOY—AT THE SAME TIME
Renée asked me if I would share one of my postings from Facebook as part of the pastoral letter this week. -Ron Simkins
Without doubt, my thoughts these days are deeply impacted by the fact that one year ago my wife who I love more than words can convey was in hospice and beginning a physical and mental decline into death. In this context, one of the many things I have found myself reflecting on is the human capacity to experience sadness and joy, futility and hope, anger and love, all side by side.
As Donna was dying there were so many things to be sad, frustrated, and angry about. A strong, wonderful, loving, wise, and witty woman was unravelling capacity by capacity. The process had been accelerating for a couple of years, but it was now in high gear. At the same time, there was so much to be joyful, hopeful and loving about.
She was mostly at peace. I have never known anyone who was completely at peace—she was as close as anyone I have known. Family and friends were amazingly supportive and loving, beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Donna and I both trusted—as much as we knew how—that God would take her into his realm and would someday, along with many others, raise her to full human life again as God did Jesus. Meanwhile, she was being released from an approaching hellish process of decay. She was loved and was loving; a gift to me and others for decades. God even sent angels to her bedside according to an amazing vision shared with us, and, soon after her passing, spoke a word of powerful comfort to our family through my son who may even be more skeptical by nature than his father–if that is possible.
I think this ability to be both sad and joyful, frustrated with futility and hopeful, angry about brokenness and evil while being thrilled with love and loving, must all be a part of what it means to be “male and female in the image of God.” Surely God is experiencing all of these things at once as God interacts with us as we co-create in this world we have been given.
Closing personal note to NCF and Friends: So many of you contributed to the joy that I experienced during that time of sadness and during the times of sadness in the year since. Thank you. Love, Ron S