When my dad died suddenly I was 13 years old, and the first person to come to our house was our priest. Our dinner that night and for many nights after was prepared by church members. For weeks, months, quite possibly years after the death of my father, it was the church community that continued to love and support me.
As you may have seen, this last Friday a kindergartner from Breck drowned at a pool party he was attending with school friends. This is an incredible tragedy.
When the family arrived at the hospital the first person that met them was Kate Stebinger, an Episcopal priest who works as a hospital chaplain. Shortly thereafter all three school division chaplains as well as the lower school counselor and director were at the hospital. Over the weekend other school counselors and administration provided care and communication to the rest of the Breck community.
On Monday morning the chaplains, counselors, administrators, teachers and myself were there as we gathered with students and their parents as we remembered and gave thanks for this charismatic, young boy who lived just a short six years.
As I talked to Nicky’s parents, grandparents and others who came out to be with them, over and over again the question was asked, how would someone make it through such a tragedy without a supportive faith community?
My literal answer: I have no idea. Both personally and, as it were professionally, I can’t imagine what it would be like to encounter such devastating, complete life-changing loss without the love and care of a faith community.
This experience once again reminds me to truly be grateful for the blessing of being a part of such loving and supportive faith community – and – it also reminds me to continue to be intentional about inviting to others to join.