With a heavy heart I sit to write this. I have tried to think about something else that I could write yet my mind has been consumed by a few very specific thoughts, so please bear with me as I share from my heart. Last week, one of my husband’s very best friends took his own life. This was extraordinarily unexpected and has been the most significant loss my husband has ever dealt with. His friend had an infectious personality that everyone instantly loved; he was a phenomenal musician, an avid fisherman, a talented photographer, and worked as a videographer for the discovery channel. A very gifted and talented creation by God who, unbeknownst to even his closet friends, was apparently hurting deeply (As a side note from the counselor in me, depression is a very real and scary thing where Satan can captivate your every thought and lie to your innermost being. Please, I beg you, seek help if this is a personal struggle of yours or if you know someone who is struggling! Satan wants to rob you of your joy.).
Over the past few days, I have thought a lot about how God created us to be relational beings. God designed us all to have a deep connection with Him and to have a deep connection with others. God designed us to walk through this life with other people, to share the ups and downs of life together. Since I got married almost 4 years ago, there have not been many real “downs” that we have encountered as a couple. The death of this friend has been the largest challenge thus far, but it allowed me to love and support my husband on a different level than I ever had before. This was the kind of love where I took on his burden with him. I wept with him, I wept for him (unfortunately at work one day), I hurt because he was hurting, my heart broke because of the pain he was experiencing from losing such a dear person to him. My whole self ached on his behalf. This is the kind of closeness, the kind of connection and relationship that God grants to us, and we serve a Lord who shares our burdens and shares in our suffering too.
It seems to me that our deepest joy, as well as, our deepest pain in life comes within the context of relationships. We are designed to have lasting relationships with people and to not be isolated, so what about the orphans around the world? Those who lack the relational depth that so many of us take for granted. Satan and the world lie to them, telling them that they are isolated and that they are not loved. God commands us to care for these children, to bring them into our families, not just through adoption but to bring them into the family of God, which supersedes any blood relation. In the midst of tragedy there is still hope, hope that one day death will not have power over us, and children will no longer be orphaned, pain and suffering will be no more, and we as followers of Christ will stand as one large family worshiping the Lord forever. But until then, let’s love deeply, as if every day were our last—and let’s live life together in community, without regrets, and sharing fully the struggles and joys of our hearts.
Whitney White, International Education Counselor