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Impressions and Images

Broken Sunset

Here on the northeast Avalon we have experienced five storm systems since Valentine’s Day.   Many are getting quite sick of winter. It is rare that families and individuals have not been faced with a flu or cold. There is a continuous freeze thaw, and precipitation  is present at times in all its forms.

In the midst of all this, I have encountered individuals experiencing great tragedy and loss in their lives. I have sat and listened, prayed and hoped, as individuals and families have been faced with three realities: life needs meaning, life is unfair and life is fragile.

This week I shared in worship, and became reacquainted with an individual whose grandmother I had buried about ten years ago. This person seemed to be searching for purpose and meaning as she began a journey of care for others. In worship, I could see she still missed her grandmother, holding grief. Also, I saw hope in her eyes as she interacted with others who perhaps reminded her of her grandmother. I had no idea how the worship which I led would influence this person, nor the impact that I had had on her faith journey ten years ago.

This week I stood on a hill with a heartbroken family, in wind and snow. Tears clouded my eyes and my throat was closed. There was nothing I could say, no way I could protect or console them in the moment.

This week a family said goodbye to a mother they dearly loved. They came together and shared memories, shed tears, sang songs, and commended her to God’s care. They could not alter the outcome of their mother’s illness.  They needed opportunity to say things, feel things, and be with each other.

In these instances, as with countless others, there is a temptation to feel lost and broken, alone and unloved. After all, human life, when we choose to feel and live it, shows us that we are fragile, we are not ‘super-persons.’ We are broken, not impenetrable. We cannot be cut off from the movement of the world around us.

Perhaps this could be a time for me to feel that all is lost, nothing is of value, or matters. Yet I, like countless  others, have a history. I have a story that is rooted beyond myself.  The story is rooted in a God who creates, redeems, and transforms the world; a God that embraces humanity and loves even through we are broken, mistake ridden, and fragile persons.

God loved me before I knew what love is. God chose to love me, and loves me even though I am broken, I frequently make mistakes, and I think too much of myself, and give judgement upon others.

Though there are changes and challenges in my  life, with persons entering and exiting my  experience and memory, God is constant. In love and in forgiveness, in presence and in community.

Perhaps these days on the northeast Avalon will be brighter as I move forward. Perhaps they will be just as chaotic and heart wrenching. Nevertheless, I do not have to face my experience alone. I am rooted in the presence and faithfulness of a God that holds me, loves me, and transforms me. I pray I choose each day to be present and open to God.

David Burrows

About David Burrows

David Burrows is a priest of the church, currently serving in parish ministry within the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, a place he has called home for the past fifteen years. He consistently engages dialogue and action with the wider community through creative outreach projects. Cycling, kayaking, writing, and driving fast cars are distractions in his life.
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      • David Burrows