Grief has made me into an inconsiderate person.
Yesterday at the grocery I ran into someone I had not seen in several months. He made the mistake of asking me how I was—I immediately went into the litany of parental death, shoulder/knee issues, and other things. After we parted, I did half of my shopping before I realized that I failed to ask that person how he was. Fortunately I saw him coming down the aisle, so I stopped him, apologized, and heard some really interesting stuff.
Surely I learned my lesson. Not so. I emailed one of the people who attended Dad’s graveside service last month to thank her for her kindness to my family. Her spouse of fifty-five years died only six months before Dad. Did I ask her how she was doing? Of course not. When I awakened this morning, I re-read the sent email and cringed. So I wrote another email to apologize and check on her.
Inadvertent thoughtlessness is something I am guilty of from time to time, as most of us are. But presently for me, it seems the norm rather than the exception. I feel too self absorbed for my own good. Yes, I know I just suffered a double bereavement and that I need some time to heal, etc, etc. That is no excuse to ignore the needs of my friends, even if the need is just to be acknowledged.
Unfortunately, my friends have many needs right now. I am not the only person experiencing grief. This morning I saw on a high school friend’s Spacebook page this status update: The doctor has pulled the plug on (my husband’s) chemo because his body just can't take any more! The doctor says he may only live a few more weeks to a few more months! My heart is breaking but Jesus is cradling us in the palm of His hand! Wow. Then I read that the husband of a fellow blogger collapsed and died unexpectedly yesterday. What a shock.
No, I’m not the only person grieving today. Lord, let me not act as though I am. Remind me to continue to pray something like this excerpt from a Compline prayer: Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.