Say nothing

by Rod Smith

In years of ministry I’ve seen a lot of death and attended many funerals. 

I’ve ridden in the hearse, often for miles, and chatted with funeral directors about all sorts of things, to arrive at a graveside to help a mom and dad remain steady to drop farewell petals into graves. I’ve buried students. My students. Just out of high school. I’ve spoken at the memorials of a handful more where fellow clergy officiated. 

Very sadly, as the cliche goes, all of this comes with the territory, not of leading a congregation, but of being human. If you live in a community. If you know people. If you try, even a little,  to love people, you will walk some distance on this path.

While each death, anticipated or sudden, has its own gravity, when I become aware a teenager has died in a car wreck, whether I know the family or not,  it slays me. I want to go to the family. I want to show up. I have to hold myself back. Stop myself from interfering in business not my own with people who surely already have a support system and a church and a caring community.

I implore you as I implore myself, let no trite cliche insult a family at a time of untimely unreasonable outrageous loss. 

Show up. Be present. Say nothing. Offer no explanation. You have none. 

There is none.

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