It’s always a bit unsettling when things converge; it makes it all the more possible that there is a divine force guiding us – or so I choose to believe.
If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know that 1) I invited people to eat chocolate every day for Lent as a reminder of God’s sweetness to us, and 2) that an old friend of mine was killed suddenly. To have put the invitation out on the first thing, and now to be wrestling with the second thing has made for an interesting juxtaposition for me. How do I contemplate the sweetness of God in the midst of sorrow and grief?
Truth be told, because of the nature of this pastoring thing, I may be one half-inch further along on the whole theodicy thing (why a loving God allows suffering.) I don’t have any answers, but I am slightly less uncomfortable with the mystery of it all. And so the story that follows is not an answer in any way, nor does ease the chafing of points 1 and 2, but it’s a story and it has helped me.
So, as I’ve written previously, my college friend Martha died last Friday. We lived together in a suite of ten our sophomore year, and in the days that have followed since the news of her death, we ten have been trying to get in touch with each other. On Monday I had a call from one of the other women from that suite, a friend who was an engineering major in college (I majored in art history), a friend who was a gifted athlete (it was all I could do to get the simple box step down in my forays into musical theatre.) We lived together but lived very different lives. We had not stayed in touch. Until Monday.
Monday she calls me at the church; she lives in Portland, can she stop by for a visit? It was fantastic, and again I was so thrilled to see how this friend from my early adulthood had grown into this fabulous, generous, beautiful woman who gave up engineering and runs a non-profit that gives books to children.
And here’s the thing: she brought me chocolate and tulips, because, as she said, that’s what Martha would have done. This old friend who had become a stranger to me is a friend once more, and the angel bearing chocolate – a sweet salve for my achy heart.
May there be chocolate-bearing angels for you today.