Death is Not Distant

In recent days, the state of Texas and the nation have come together to grieve the tragic death of Harrison Brown. Harrison was the victim of a random stabbing on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin. As the news spread quickly, and an outpouring of love and support filled news outlets and social media. This senseless crime left a family in deep turmoil and pain. Harrison and I are graduates of the same high school, separated by a few years, so his death was something I could not merely shake. His death impacted my community, my family, my friends. His family knows my family. He walked the same high school halls. He dreamed dreams just as I have dreamed dreams. I grieve and mourn with the Brown family, not fully understanding the scope of their pain.

New Life

On the same day of the attack in Austin, some of my dear friends gave birth to a baby girl. I was able to visit the hospital and hold their beautiful newborn daughter; so tender and tiny. She was an answer to so many prayers and hopes. A little bundle of beauty and newness, that little baby changed lives. From the day of her birth forward, her presence will influence her parents. As a community, we will support her and love her. As she grows older, she will dream and aspire to have an impact and a legacy. I pray for that sweet baby and for her parents during this new season of life.

Dealing with the Tension

Throughout the following days, I was conflicted and unsure how to feel. My social media feeds were crammed with pictures in tribute to Harrison and pictures of my friend’s new baby. Should I rejoice? Should I cry? I knew that people I loved were weeping and longing for answers, while others were celebrating and feeling relieved. A life had been taken. A new life was born.

I found myself at the cross section of joy and sorrow, I would presume you will as well. There is a great temptation to just be numb, to reject the joy because of the sorrow or to ignore the pain because joy feels impossible. Fear becomes our great enemy. Will sorrow overtake my joy? Will joy ever return? Our sense of control is challenged.

In the end, all I can give is love and hope. I cannot explain away the pain of death. I cannot promise that the exuberance of new birth will be long-lasting. Rather than explain or predict, I will mourn and cherish. I will rejoice and cry. But in the end, I believe love will win because the coming promise of the Christian faith is, “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:16-17). But for now, I will reject the nudge of numbness and embrace joy and sorrow. I hope you can as well.

UMHB Spiritual Life provides relationships, communities, ministries, and events that communicate and cultivate Christ likeness through service and leadership on and beyond the UMHB campus. For more information and opportunities to serve, we invite you to visit our website.