Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving and Grief

... what a title, huh?  Well, that's what I am living in right now - at the same time.
What seems like two totally different and contradictory feelings or expression can actually co-exist and make sense.

On Thanksgiving day, a young man named Jonny, also a teacher where I work, passed away from colon cancer.  He had only been diagnosed since March, so his death seemed so quick to us.  He was 32 years old and it seems senseless to us.  Our school and family (for we are family at my school) are grieving and found ourselves with a deep sadness on the day we were gathered to give thanks for our blessings.

Jonny's wish from the beginning was for God to be glorified.  And He was.  Oh boy, He was and is.  The students have prayed more than ever before.  They have been first-hand witness to an unwavering and beautiful faith.  We see the results everyday of faith that is beautiful and transparent. 

So in the midst of our grief, we give thanks for a life now in Heaven, receiving his reward.  We give thanks for a young man who was not ashamed of the Gospel.  We give thanks for his example.  We give thanks for the beautiful way in which he worshiped.  We give thanks that he was our friend and our brother.

Our tears are not for him - they are for us, for we are mourning our loss.  We feel it everyday when he is not standing at the hand sanitizer machine with his large Chick-fil-a sweet tea.  We see it in the eyes of our students, when a memory occurs to them or when they are just plain sad.  So we will grieve.

And we thank God.