Comforted to Comfort

When I first arrived in Pittsburgh, I met a family who had recently said goodbye to a loved one who battled terminal illness.  The mom (of this family) serves on our curriculum committee, at school, and we interact frequently concerning school “things.”  There have been a few times, however, when she will come in for a visit and just ask how I am doing.  I have been richly blessed by the handful of people in my life who have either gone through the loss of a loved one, or just stop and ask how I am doing and don’t attempt to have a story to compare grief.  Well, today, this mom stopped in and handed me a card and a beautiful orchid.  Even though I am not much of a flower kind of guy, the orchid is sitting on my counter, reminding me to find beauty in what may seem to be a difficult day. 

 As I shared above, this mom also wrote a card.  I would like to share with you what she wrote to me:

 “Dear James,

            I just wanted you to know that we have been thinking of you during the year date of the loss of your wife.  Wow, what a year it has been!  We, on the Jubilee end, really were blessed that you chose us and Pittsburgh.  While I didn’t know your wife, I know she must be beaming down upon you with pride, admiration, and love.  You have shown such amazing strength, peace and grace during this time of transition, growth & mourning.  You are such a hands-on loving father, also! 

            Most of all you have honored her, yourself, and your daughter by living so fully!  You are a gift to so many!

            Many prayers to you and your family for continued strength and love during this holiday season!”

        I didn’t share that for you to be impressed with me.  I read these words, reflect on the past year and am 100% impressed with God.  He has been so patient with me; lovingly guiding me through the most painful experience life has to offer.  Over these 365 days, He has shown me that moving forward does not mean forgetting – not even!  As this “person who gets it” wrote, “You have honored her, yourself, and your daughter by living so fully!”  So, my prayer for Felicity and me…for you…is that God would show us how to live life to the fullest, never forgetting what has been lost, but never allowing that loss to keep us from being all that He would have us to be.  I pray He gives each of us an opportunity to send an orchid and a card, over the course of the next 365 days, to someone who will soon begin their own bend in the road. 


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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