My friend Jennifer died last year, a shocking, sudden, and unexpected death. I remember driving somewhere the next day and seeing people walking around like nothing had happened. Like she wasn’t gone too soon from the world and everything was normal. It wasn’t normal and it pissed me off that people were jogging and laughing and drinking lattes.
When someone of the Jewish faith dies, mourners participate in a shiva, a period of mourning sometimes called sitting shiva. After the burial, family members gather at the home of the deceased for seven days (the word shiva means seven) where they receive visitors. Mourners who come sit on low stools or boxes symbolizing being “brought low” following the loss. This is what I wanted following my friend’s death, everyone to be brought low as I was. I wanted people to stay home and wear black and light candles and pray and take a moment to acknowledge that a young woman who was here yesterday was now gone and those who loved her were bereft.
Many in our country are grieving right now and I am out jogging and laughing and drinking lattes and wanting everyone to move on and unite and be friends because nothing I loved just died.
When others are mourning, even if we don’t understand it or share in it, perhaps we could sit with them for a while. Listen. Try to understand. Put our flag away for a bit. Acknowledge their fear and sadness and not celebrate with so much gladness.
The way of Jesus is that when they go high, we go low.