28th May – Elise
Three weeks ago on the 7th of May, a dear friend and colleague lost his battle with Leukaemia. Liam was 38, has two young kids and one on the way.
Losing a friend or family member is hard at any stage. Losing a friend during this time of Covid- 19 is heart wrenching. Not being able to hug loved ones is crushing. Not being able to attend a funeral was frustrating. However, in the midst of the pain and the grief, there were pockets of light and love. The way my school community came together was beautiful. The memories shared about Liam and the laughs that occurred as a result of us being in contact with him, are times that I’ll never forget.
Grief and pain are funny things. They don’t ‘go away’. You don’t just ‘get over it’ . More or less you learn to live with it. The hole in your heart starts to get smaller as time moves on, but it never closes. It couldn’t – and that’s ok. Prayer comforts, but prayer doesn’t take away the grief and pain that life brings. Being a ‘good Christian’ doesn’t mean you won’t suffer a life from pain and grief. Not even Jesus lived a life absent of pain and grief. Pain is something that everyone goes through. Whether it is the pain of someone leaving this life for the next, the pain of a relationship breakdown or the pain of social injustice.
This week is Reconciliation week. May the 26th is Sorry Day. My Year 10 History class is watching the superb new documentary ‘In My Blood It Runs’, which follows the story of 10 year old Arrente boy Dujuan Hoosan who speaks three languages, and yet is failing school in Alice Springs. It’s a heartbreaking film and yet it is incredibly beautiful to see how Dujuan’s community rally around him to ensure that he has the best life they can possibly give him. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain carried by Aboriginal peoples as a result of the injustice that has been happening towards them since First Contact. 250 years of odds are stacked against Dujuan, and he has been able to use his experiences to raise awareness about the treatment of Aboriginal young people in our country; even speaking at the United Nations. The fact that Dujuan’s community wanted to create this film to raise awareness of what really is happening in Aboriginal communities each and every day, is beautiful.
The Jesus who died for our healing on a cross is not a God of easy solutions. A film won’t make the injustice that this country has shown to Aboriginal people go away. Remembering Liam and his life won’t make the pain and grief suddenly disappear. Praying won’t ensure that your life is great because God is ‘looking out for you’. However, God is there in all of it and it is beautiful.
This doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. Hurt isn’t a signal to withdraw and do nothing while others are hurting, grieving and suffering injustice. The hurt means that God is walking alongside us and will always be. He is making things beautiful even in the darkest places. The hurting and the healing are two halves of the whole people God created us to be, and he didn’t create us to be alone.
Thank you for being a community that hurts with others, grieves with others and loves. We as Jesus followers are called to work together and partner with God in the healing of this world – broken hearts and all. If you are grieving or in pain right now – I see you. God sees you and he’s with you. We’re with you. It will be beautiful – in time.
Love from ‘sunny’ ol’ Melbourne,