always seems to come at night. A friend's neighbor, a man I've met on a couple of occasions, is dead, his life taken at his own hand. A son and daughter-in-law are in shock and grieving. They've requested a blessing before the body is take away. And so off into the night I drive, into the dark, into pain and unimagineable suffering.
There are no answers here, no words to explain this, no morsel of wisdom to dull the knife-edge of pain. There is nothing but to stand, to absorb the pain of others, to show tenderness and love and compassion, to pray desperately that the Holy Spirit is present and flowing through me. There is the opportunity to pray a blessing, to sign this man's forehead with the cross, claiming in faith his own previous confession that, in spite of his pain, he knew the Lord. Standing in the dark while the professionals - the sheriff, the medical examiner - go about their morbid business. To stand under the stars, watching the moon rise over this surreal scene, and realize this is where Jesus is, present in the midst of suffering and pain. To trust that God's promise is still true: blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.