My older son recently asked me to name my greatest fear. I didn’t even have to think before answering. “That something bad will happen to someone I love,” I told him.
Death seems to be flexing its muscles a lot lately. A friend’s nineteen-year-old son died unexpectedly last summer. A longtime friend passed away last month. And every day, more and more Americans are lost to COVID.
Death permeates today’s Gospel, which recounts the horrifying slaughter of the innocents. “Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” (Matthew 2:18). They were no more: four words that capture the stark horror of loss.
But what is the alternative to grief? We will lose people we love; that’s a given. The only way to avoid that is not to love at all. A life of meaning is going to involve pain. There’s no way around that pain, for the mothers in the Gospel or for us today.
Years ago, I heard Queen Elizabeth speak at a memorial service for 9/11 victims. She said something that hit me right in the soul: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” It’s a statement, but it’s also a tacit question: are we willing to pay that price?
The best answer to that question, I believe, came from my friend Mary. She died of cancer far too young; that’s a story in itself. But long before the cancer, I remember her telling me that she sometimes worried, intensely, about something bad happening to her husband, Tom. I told her I understood that fear, then I shared with her the words that had so moved me: grief is the price we pay for love.
She was silent for a moment, thinking. “Then you know what?” she said at last. “BRING IT ON.”Loving Through Our Fear // Ginny Kubitz Moyer Click To Tweet