The Good News

 

I am reading an incredible book on death and loving others in some very tragic situations.  In this excerpt the author, Kate Braestrup, shares her experience right after losing her husband in a car accident.   Out of her loss she allows the grief to bring her to a place where she goes to seminary and becomes a chaplain for the Maine Warden Service.  Walking people through some difficult situations out in the wildlife of Maine.

This passage,    I can’t stop thinking about it.

Perhaps forty minutes after I had heard the news of Drew’s death, I was sitting in the living room with my friend Monica when the doorbell rang.  The sergeant was on the telephone, so Monica sprang to answer it.

A young man stood on the front steps, clad in a spiffy dark suit, his hair neatly combed, exuding a scent of soap and virtue.  Holding out a pamphlet, he beamed at Monica.     “Have you heard the Good News?”

For a long second, Monica glared at him, not sure whether to punch him or laugh hysterically.  She compromised by slamming the door.

A few minutes later, the doorbell rang again.  This time, I answered it.   It was my neighbor, en elderly woman I had exchanged no more than a dozen words with in the ten years I’d lived in Thomaston.  She had pot holders on her hands, which held a pan of brownies still hot from the oven, and tears were rolling down her cheeks.  “I just heard,” she said.

That pan of brownies was, it later turned out, the leading edge of a tsunami  of food that came to my children and me, a wave that did not recede for many months after Drew’s death.  I didn’t know that my family and I would be fed three meals a day for weeks and weeks.   I did not anticipate that neighborhood men would come to drywall the playroom, build bookshelves, mow the lawn, get the oil changed in my car.  I did not know that my house would be cleaned and the laundry done, that I would have embraces and listening ears, that I would not be abandoned to do the labor of mourning alone.   All I knew was that my neighbor was standing on the front stoop with her brownies and her tears:

she WAS the Good News.

from Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup

http://www.onbeing.org/program/presence-wild/144

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5 thoughts on “The Good News

  1. Tears. I love that story. Thanks for sharing. You and Drew have been Good News in my life in so many ways. Love you all. Nancy

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    1. Nancy- that means so much to me. January always brings lots of memories closer to me, remembering the day Spencer died. Thinking about how his death completely changed the course of my life. How strange life works. I love you too. And by the way, this book I reference is really really good.

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  2. Lisa, thanks so much for sharing that beautiful story. It brought to mind many friends who also showered my family after Jason’s sudden death in August. I forwarded your post to them to let them know how much those open hands mean….

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    1. I was so touched by this story. Now I am so touched by the way it connected with both you and Nancy (comment above) because you both have been in this very situation. I’m so glad you could tell your people how much they mean to you!

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  3. “She WAS the good news.” What a great reminder both when walking with those in grief of difficulty (how can we be good news?) and in watching for God when the world seems as dark as it can be. Thanks for sharing!

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