Two weeks ago, my community walked through a wall of grief together when we unexpectedly lost one of our own – a 45 year old mother of four. Her death sent palpable shock waves through our tightly knit school family, our church, and our suburban neighborhoods. We held our spouses and our children and one another as tears filled our eyes and lumps formed in our throats. We gathered in churches, and at school, and over coffee to share our stories and our sympathy. We brought food and sent cards and said prayers and gave hugs. And we wept.
While the grief is still fresh and the first tender strands of healing are forming for her family and friends, there has been one question raised again and again by those who knew her. It’s been whispered and spoken and asked in countless words and ways, but the essence is always the same.
It’s always the question that surfaces in times like this. Did she know? Did I tell her? Did I show her? Did I make it clear enough? What else could I have done?
I’ve noticed that since this loss, we’ve all been a little more tender with each other. The birthday wishes on Facebook are sweeter and more heartfelt. We’re saying yes to meeting up. We’re chatting a little longer when we drop off the kids. We’re looking one other in the eye when we speak. We’re making time.
It’s as though the unwelcome reminder that we may not always have the chance to do these things jolted us into action. And so we’re making an effort to ensure our friends and family know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we love them.
I wish it didn’t take something like this to get our attention. But maybe this is exactly what we’re called to do in the aftermath.
Maybe this is how we find the grace in our grief.
By sending love…
In fact, I have a simple daily practice that will help you send love into the world with more intention and consistency. It only takes a few minutes to do. Let’s all agree we have time for this.
Every morning, close your eyes for just 30 seconds or so and ask, “Who could use a little love today?” Then take a few minutes to be the person who gives it – send a card, a text, an email. Make a phone call, leave a Post-it on the mirror, send a Starbucks e-card. Bring soup, say a prayer, send an invitation. Do whatever comes to your mind first. Don’t overthink it. Quick and simple. Put a reminder on your phone to help you establish the practice until it becomes second nature.
I like to think of this as asking for my assignment for the day. Sometimes the person who comes to mind is unexpected – I may not have thought of him or her for years! And sometimes it is a person living right under my roof. Doesn’t matter a bit. It’s all love.
Start today. Right now. Ask “Who could use a little love today?”
Then send it in honor of all of us wishing we had just one more chance to do so.