Bering United Methodist Church

Remembering Charleston

Let Love Carry Us

Today’s Headlines:
Charleston Shooting Victim’s Son Says Love Is Stronger than Hate

Yesterday, a reporter broke down and cried as he heard the church members singing hymns of love and hope together.

As the church members speak words of forgiveness and love, I wonder. It almost seems too soon.

I am wondering if, regardless of what they feel, they are laying claim to a love greater than themselves.

They are laying claim to a love that will carry them through this horrendous wilderness of grief.

I think it is important to lay claim to that love; that love which can endure pain and sorrow; that love that is not afraid of traveling through our shattering experiences of life.

What a miracle that is… to claim a love that is so powerful, it is not defeated by darkness and the darkness cannot overwhelm it.

It is a miracle because we know in our hearts there is another way to go. The way we often go when hurt, is to deny love; to become disappointed by love; to close ourselves off to love because, we begin to equate love with emotional pain.

I can only imagine what brought the shooter to that dark place of murder.

I imagine his childhood hurts and losses accumulated; that he replaced love with bitterness and hatred. Even the day of the shooting, he almost didn’t do it because the people were so welcoming. Yet, he did not let that love break through to his heart protected by hatred.

The hatred was not satisfied until it called itself by the name Dylann Root. Its goal was to feed off the misery of those around him and to give birth to more hatred. And it rewarded Dylann in the sense that he did not feel sorrow or emotional pain or regret …yet.

Therefore, when we are hurt, let us not build walls to keep out love. Instead let us lay claim to love and let love carry us through grief; no matter the pain of the journey.

Have you ever noticed how love carries you?
I have a friend who is going though an unimaginable difficulty. He has started to end every conversation with “I love you.”  It’s as if as if that power of love is going to see him through even one more day.

One day at Omega House, I was sitting praying with a resident who was sleeping, when I overheard a nurse in the next room saying in a soft voice to a patient. “I love you. I will take care of you and keep you safe.” Tears came to my eyes.

After my mother died, while still in grief, my family started to end every conversation with “I love you.”  We still do that. It is something we never did before.

I don’t want to sugar coat grief. The kind of love that carries you through does not forget the darkness or sorrow; but, walks within it.

Here are signs that Love is carrying you:

1. Grief shatters you. It cracks open that which held you together. You lose identity for a while. Love can then expand you so that your soul reaches out and encompasses even the stars. A new sense of intimacy with the world will appear. Your love becomes more expansive.

2. Love brings the past into the present. Rather than me carrying the memories, the memories carry me. In my heart is recognition of the beloved in the present. The beloved glides through my heart now. The heart remembers what the head forgets.

3. You gain a love that is fearless. It has endured the worst and continues on growing. It can endure heart break.

I see love all around me. I hear the “I love you.”  It resounds in every breath. It carries me and I am grateful.

Remembering Charleston

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