It's Too Much to Bear Alone

Posted by Ruth Beresford on

"In the midst of life we are in death"; this begins a passage in the burial office of the Book of Common Prayer. Today, the words keep bubbling up. "In the midst of life we are in death; from whom can we seek help? From you alone, O Lord." Those words are to have been penned by a 10th century monk, who was watching a bridge being built across a chasm and considering the peril for the workers and the sudden tragedy of death.

In the midst of life we are in death. Harvey - 77; Irma - 132; Maria - 78; Mexico - 369; Las Vegas - 59; Heroin - 15,466: these numbers represent the lives lost in recent hurricanes and earthquakes, from the worst mass shooting in history, and from overdose as reported for the US in 2016. We grieve the tragic deaths caused by the violence of nature and the unnatural slaughter by guns and addiction, from fatal accidents and simply the natural course of life. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel was in tears remembering children who have lost their parents and parents who have lost children in the blink of an eye in Las Vegas last Sunday night. Our hearts are heavy for families who have lost their loved ones too soon, like the Pennas, whose son Anthony died from the injuries of a head-on collision here in Greenville. The weight of the sadness seeps into our daily tasks, or halts them altogether, if we are close to the one who has died. It's too much to bear alone.

I know I turn to faith in that moment. I hear the echo of a tune or a verse from the scripture that reminds me that death is not the end and evil will not overcome the power of God to save and bless. I look for life, the life-giving nature of courage shown by those in the midst of all this devastation. I look for the love that sees us through all loss - the love of God and the love shown by neighbors. I turn to Church, to the daily prayer services and the weekly gathering for worship, to remember in the midst of death we are also in life. I turn to the best community I know, those who remind me we are not overcome.

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