And it has been that kind of week in our school and synagogue community.
With celebrations of the highest order and tragedy so deep, we cannot find words to express emotions.
My husband Jonny, was honored for his 12 years of "exemplary leadership" as Head of School last Tuesday. It was a joy filled evening. It was an evening of warmth, admiration, love, laughter and respect. His staff and students sang to him. His three sons told heart warming stories about him. Students raved and parents, teachers, board and community members expressed their appreciation.
And on Friday we celebrated our 12 year old son's graduation from 6th grade and move up to the Upper Campus. This was also a morning filled with joy, song and a tremendous atmosphere.
These two events framed a deeply tragic loss of a friend's husband, a parent of 4 children, to suicide.
It was the raging storm bookended by sunshine. It was the rain soaked leaves surrounded by beautiful new blooms..
We jolted from joy to tragedy and back to joy like a rollercoaster ride.
I had a restless Friday night's sleep. How could I celebrate with my family in the wake of such tragedy? How could I support my friend authentically, whilst being in the midst of our family's joy?
I had some insight as I sat in synagogue on Saturday morning.
Many families celebrated events that morning. A mother whose parents had died in a car crash was celebrating her son's Barmitzvah. Parents were celebrating their son's upcoming marriage, having lost a nephew in a horrific accident. Grandparents celebrated a new granddaughter having mourned the loss of another grandchild to stillbirth just weeks earlier.
Their lives are like our week. Like today's weather, marked by torrential storms and beautiful sunshine. Lurching from joy to sorrow and back again.
How do we handle this?
How do we find the strength to celebrate and the strength to mourn?
I think we find it by supporting each other. By being there for the ups and downs and in-betweens. For being consistent in our friendship, love and compassion for the people we care about deeply and the people we barely know.
I think we need to give and receive in equal measure so that we can build others up when they are down and seek solace ourselves when our spirits are low.
Life is very complicated. Like weather patterns, it is unpredictable. When the storms come we must put up our umbrellas together to manage the impact of the rain.
And when the sun comes out, together let's face towards the sunlight so the shadows are behind us*.
Sending peace and comfort to all who are struggling. Send me a message to tell me how you are.
Please share this post to let others know they are not alone and we are here for each other, always.
*Phrase based on a Maori proverb
Here are some other posts to bring you comfort
Why Routine brings Comfort
6 Ways to Build Certainty In an Uncertain World
Pondering On The Porch
When There's Trouble Brewing -Do This
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback.
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