Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
How many times have I read that verse?
How many times have you?
It is easy, is it not? To rejoice with those who rejoice? To pat someone on the back, shake their hand, and laugh with them?
But how hard it is to face true mourning, true grief? There is something inside us that makes us want to turn away - hide our face. We want it to not be real.
And if we do not truly mourn with them, then we are not truly touched by their sorrow. That, we think, is safer. Safer for our peace of mind and safer for our hearts.
Today is September 11, 2012.
Eleven years ago, I watched as the Twin Towers fell. I saw people sail from windows to escape the flames. I watched in disbelief as the Pentagon was attacked as well. Their faces, covered in soot and etched with horror...I will never forget.
Even at 17, I knew. I knew my generation would not come of age at college or in boardrooms, but at war. And I mourned.
Today, across our country, people are mourning. Real people, real families.....very real tragedies. We must have the courage to mourn with them. To read their stories, to shed a tear for and with them, and put our arms around them.
For there are children who have grown up without one of their parents or grandparents because of that awful day.
And spouses who have saved messages and notes that are the last words of their loved one.
There is a generation of men and women who have spent their entire adulthood fighting and dying half a world away.
There are families who will mourn the loss of loved ones today - not just from 9/11, but from the inexorable march of life...and death.
Some will mourn the loss of a job or house - and the death of dreams for their family.
Others will lose a child, a grief I am all too familiar with.
Who will mourn with these people?
Those of us called by God, saved by his Grace, filled with his love....we are told to mourn with those who mourn.
Do not turn your face away. Reach out your hand and clasp another. Open your eyes and your heart to those who grieve. Your gift to them is walking with them through their sorrow.