A friend came up to me and told me there was a helicopter crash. He told me that a famous celebrity died. For my generation, I do believe Kobe Bryant’s death is one of those “Where were you when you found out” kind of tragedies. We also recently lost icons such as Larry King & Christopher Plummer. But for Lauren and I, we dealt with a loss of our own recently.
I’ve always heard pet owners say that their pets are like family. Lauren had her cat Callie for 20 years. She was the first actual pet that I’ve had. Every night she would crawl onto my chest and rest. A few weeks ago we noticed Callie struggling to walk. When we took her to the vet, we heard the sad news. It was time. The next day we went back to the vet knowing that we were going to put her down. To make things more emotional, Callie would be in Lauren’s lap while the doctor injected the chemical that would stop Callie’s heart. Due to COVID restrictions, we weren’t allowed in the rooms so the doctor came to our car.
It’s safe to say that death has been on my mind a lot recently. There are others that have recently passed on that are keeping “death” on my mind. I knew that it would be difficult to organize my thoughts about death, and write them down. It is for this reason that I will focus on the comfort we received from others during our time of loss. But first a quick news story (I promise it will make sense).
There was a Japanese Amusement park called Fuji-Q Highland. Just like other businesses in 2020, they were anxious to open up their business to the public once again. Due to COVID restrictions, they attempted to get creative in how they continued to be safe. Their amusing request was to encourage riders of their roller coasters to, “please scream inside your heart.” This request was to reduce the risk of spreading COVID. Definitely a request I wouldn’t be able to oblige. If I’m on a roller coaster, I am certain that I will scream like a little child.
As I recalled this story from July of 2020, I began to think about my current season in life. We go through times of deep mourning. We go through times of intense trials. That’s just how life and the journey is designed. But the request from scripture as we go through the intense roller coaster of life is opposite that of Fuji-Q Highland. While the amusement park suggested keeping your emotions in, the bible suggests we share what’s on the inside.
The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome. He makes a request to its readers:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” -Romans 12:15
The truth is that the church should be different from the outside world. We should be pursuing profound relationships with Jesus, but also with each other. How does one practice Romans 12:15 if we never have heart-to-hearts with each other? How will we know what’s on the inside of people’s hearts and minds if it is never expressed? The call for us is basically to meet people where they are at in life and respond appropriately. If someone is rejoicing, then we rejoice. If someone is mourning, then we join them in that. Whatever we do, we should do it together.
During our time of loss, Lauren and I shared the news with some who were close. It is because of this that we were ministered to in our time of need. The temptation is to keep things to ourselves. Perhaps we don’t want to inconvenience people, or we think that whatever is of concern is, “No big deal.” Perhaps we would rather "scream inside our heart,” than take the time to let it out. Whatever the case, we MUST pursue deeper relationships with each other. Relationships that will encourage us to let out whatever is on the inside so that we may rejoice and mourn together. Relationships that truly imply Whatever Together.