I am grieving over the sudden death of a young woman in our chapel community.
She had been struggling for a long time with a great sadness. As a Christian community, we didn't do well in reaching out to her. She was able to get to the chapel only rarely. I'm afraid we left her parents to shoulder the burden of care almost entirely. We tried to support them, to be sure. But we obviously didn't reach the daughter with the healing power of God's love or the hope that is in Christ.
I am sorry for their loss, and sorry I did so little to prevent it.
Her death is also making me think of the many ways I have broken my own parents' hearts over the years.
I think particularly of my own wildly immoral past, which of course affected many, many people around me, sometimes in life-defining ways.
I think of my own wrestling with periods of bleak despair, when I refused all help until it was almost too late.
I think of the low value I placed on my own life at times, taking needless risks and laughing a little too manic-ly all the while.
I am also thinking about how my journey to Japan, now at the 20-year mark, has inflicted another kind of wound on my parents. I have become a man, a husband, a father, a priest--all on the opposite side of the planet from them. My own children love their American grandparents, but it is a love necessarily tinged with a certain amount of reserve, born of unfamiliarity.
Of course, my folks support the work I do here. They support our family. They want us to be in the center of God's will for our lives. That's what parents do--as a parent, I know that.
But I reckon being supportive doesn't preclude also being heartbroken. I reckon our Heavenly Father knows a thing or two about that as well.
Anyway, I'm just...sorry. Sorry to the parents who are shattered by the loss of their little girl. Sorry to be the cause of so much heartbreak to my own parents.