A string of petty annoyances happened last week. My author web site caroleduff.com got flagged for malware; the living room smoke alarm associated with our security system alerted low battery even after we replaced it; making a simple checkup appointment turned into a time-consuming series of calls and phone-tag messages because, in addition to insurance rules and regulations, the medical establishment was instituting a new scheduling system.
Then on Friday morning, I read a Facebook post about a writing friend’s untimely death. Five days after her wedding (we attended), she was hospitalized and diagnosed with cancer. Now, two weeks later, she’s gone, like a daylily that blooms then dies—too soon, too soon.
The grief of my friend’s husband and family humbles me. The grief I bring upon myself without thinking humbles me. The grief I chose to pass along to others humbles me.
All the petty annoyances resolved within a few days. My author site was migrated to a managed server with protection; the smoke alarm battery reset, ceasing the text and auditory alerts; I have a confirmed appointment for an annual medical checkup this fall.
I pray I was suitably kind and grateful to all who helped me last week: Ben, a website developer, and Candace, the hosting company’s service representative; Becky and Brandon with the security company; Robin and Karen at the doctor’s office. They have tough jobs working with frustrated, impatient, perhaps even arrogant customers like me.
Selfishness is another hard truth.
This week, when I meet my two-month-old granddaughter for the first time, I’ll think about my writing friend, her husband, mother, sister, niece, nephew, and brother-in-law who meant so much to her, and she to them. I’ll think about the women in my Bible Study group who share praise and prayer requests—many this summer—and losses. As I hold my granddaughter in my arms, I’ll remember holding my own children, and my writing friend’s mother’s empty arms.
I will do my best to hold both joy and sorrow in my heart, a tension none of us can resolve.
Not in this life.