For a whole host of reasons these last few weeks have been challenging. We are experiencing what I can only describe as a wave of illness and death in our community. People are worried, mad and sad. Some, in an effort to numb the pain, are being self-destructive. It is difficult.

After a particularly troubling pastoral visit to the hospital, I found myself at a loss for what to say, do or even think. The awareness that there was nothing I could do to fix anything was palpable. Just that morning I had been in a church surrounded by people singing about God’s grace being enough. I confess that it was hard for me to sing the happy tune. My longing for grace was real, but welling up from a deep, deep place, one marked with despair. I desperately wanted God to show up.

Since then I have been aware that God is indeed showing up. For months we have been praying that one person’s estranged family would take time to visit. They finally did. A friend who has long desired to contribute financially to The Dale (though they already give in many other ways) proudly handed me three dollars in change, everything that was in their pocket. On a Wednesday when I had to be at the hospital leaving Joanna at the drop-in, a community member showed up with breakfast food they had already prepared for everyone. The nurses and doctors caring for our loved ones are kind and compassionate.

I am coming to understand that hard times always intermingle with good times. Our lives are a mash-up of good and bad, challenging and easy, grief and celebration, sorrow and joy. The most brutal things can also expose the most beauty. I still don’t understand the last few weeks. I do see though that grace is weaving its way through it.