Friday, August 19, 2022


 It has been one of those days.  The sermon awaits completion.  The order of service still needs attention.  Only now am I sitting down to put some thoughts on paper for this blog.  I have been awake since 4:30 AM.   Surely all of this should be done by now.  But the sheets on the bed needed to be laundered.  The compost needed to be taken out to the composter.  The extravagant farm surplus from our CSA needed to be shared with a neighbor. An unexpected phone call from a beloved friend usurped an hour of the morning that I had planned to use for writing.

I am reminded that life is what happens while I am busy making other plans. 

My dear friend is a grieving widow faced with the possibility of the sale of her apartment building and  having to move while still somewhat immobilized by her sorrow.  Her finances are stringent.  Her options seem confusing and elusive. She is alone. Her 43rd wedding anniversary fell yesterday on the 10 month anniversary of her husband’s death.  An hour long phone call is hardly enough time to hear her ongoing sadness and immobility as she tries to see what the next  steps on her life journey will be. Her sorrow is papable.

While on the phone, as I sat in my living room  so comfortably furnished the way I want it, with my husband nearby working out a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table, waves of gratitude kept sweeping over me.  We own our own home, mortgage free.  No one else’s decision will sell it out from beneath us.  My husband is still alive!  We will celebrate 61 years together this year.  I am not alone!  Our adult children live nearby.  They are attentive without hovering.
We live in a community we love.  We have the freedom to choose how much or how little we will engage with life beyond our four log walls.  We have enough resources to keep us from feeling edgy every time a car or household repair needs to be done. 

The things I need to accomplish today seem negligible in the face of my friend’s tumultuous grieving.  Indeed, they are of no consequence at all when I glance at the daily headlines. Our local paper reports that two vibrant young Jamaican men drowned in our waters over the weekend, having done some night jumping off a very popular bridge, without knowing how strong the current was.  An entire Jamaican family and community thrown into profound mourning.  An entire island community sobered by the reality of lives lost while enjoying innocent pleasures.

 Afghan women suffer ever more under the repressive and oppressive regime of the Taliban.  Another crazed driver uses an automobile as a weapon of terror in Texas.  Quite possibly the most intelligent woman in Wyoming loses a critical election to someone who does not have the health of our democracy on her horizon.  Elsewhere women of color, women with limited means of support, financial or otherwise, young women with their entire lives ahead of them, struggle with how to manage their reproductive lives with freedom.

As Sunday morning rapidly approaches, and “Come Sunday, Come Sermon,” there is no lack of “grist for the mill.”

The message could really be quite simple.  The words have already been formed and spoken:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way were the prophets before you persecuted.”

Perhaps the interruptions that life throws in the path of the best laid intentions are where the real sermons of life exist.

Vicky Hanjian

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