when life dries up all words

dry earth

I was already behind on posting on this blog. Other writing commitments hung over my hand, and dead-lines demanded they not be ignored. Then life came to a halt with the news of a friend’s death in Haiti. I had spoken to him on Skype just the day before, or at least we had tried to talk. He could see and hear me. I could see him but not hear him. We tried to troubleshoot the connection for almost an hour, with no luck.

The next day, I was mundanely folding laundry thinking about calling him again. I turned the radio on to hear the hourly news. The lead story was about a Canadian priest killed in Haiti, and his name was announced. There must have been a mistake. Our friend was a religious brother, not a priest. I ran to the computer and saw the article on the internet; his ID cards strewn on the road for the world to see. His title en français is Frère, Brother, hence the assumption that he was Fr…a priest. His face stared at me from the ID photos.

I wrote a short blog post for the National Catholic Reporter about his missionary’s heart. I sent a column in to the Prairie Messenger, which will be published next week telling simple stories of the joy he shared with us all. We gathered with friends this weekend and shared many memories that brought tears of laughter…but the sad tears are never far behind.

I tried several times to write a reflection for this blog. I wrote the previous blog post to take my mind off things and to get back into a routine.

I want to share the story of my friend with you, but have no words left. Maybe later.

My blogging friend Marilyn over at Communicating Across Boundaries wrote a beautiful piece this week that speaks to my mind, heart and soul…

A Holy Ache

…That ache we feel when we read or hear the news and our hearts stop with the horror of it all, the longing to make all right, to gather up all the orphans, the widows, the sinners and show them the love of God. The holy ache that acknowledges we are capable of so little in comparison to the great need. That ache we feel when we are at a funeral of one we love, knowing we will never see their faces, hear their words, hug their bodies again. That ache we feel when the rich thrive and mock while the poor struggle to survive. That ache we feel of injustice and wrong and all those things that remind us we are in the between.

It used to be that the holy ache would direct me to despair. It’s all too much, I thought. It’s too hard.Seeing through a glass darkly is not enough. But lately I have embraced the holy ache as an integral to my faith journey. A critical part that brings me to a greater love and desire for Godread more

8 thoughts on “when life dries up all words

  1. I am sorry to hear of your friend’s death. The ache is your confirmation that you are fully alive.

  2. Why? Why do these thing happen? I feel for you, losing such a friend so tragically. Lynn and I will pray for you and Br. Joyal.

    1. Thank you Dan. His loss is truly felt around the world….from Manitoba to Quebec to India to the Philippines to Haiti…his life touched so many.

  3. I read this with a heavy heart. There are days when I know without a doubt that this world could not possibly be all there is….I felt that when I wrote Holy Ache and I feel it as I read your post and think about the loss of a friend, a man of God. Thinking of you.

    1. Thank you Marilyn. I’m always amazed how the right words – the needed words – fall in your lap at just the right time. Your ‘Holy Ache’ was such a gift. And, yes, in moments like this I HAVE to believe in that glorious communion of saints connecting us across time and space and am grateful for that belief.

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