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March 2021   Dear friends,   Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   Most of you know that my Uncle Ron Roosa, who had been on our prayer list, passed away recently. I greatly appreciate all of your kind words, texts, messages, and cards. It has meant a lot to me. Thank you for walking alongside me through the ups and downs of life in our time together.  

I want to use this opportunity to speak with you all about grief, and all the complicated baggage that comes along with it. I’ll probably make a devotional video about the subject some day, but in the meantime, in this moment, allow me to talk about it briefly. Grief is multifaceted and multilayered. Sometimes, grief and loss can evoke certain feelings and similarities, other times it is completely different. Every encounter with grief is unique. And, I encourage all of you to give yourself the space and grace necessary to process it in your own time; and to ask for help when you need it.  

Each encounter with grief affects each of us differently. Our grief is tied up in love, and our relationships. Sometimes relationships get strained, and that makes grief that much more complicated. We grieve when we lose someone we are close to, and we grieve when we lose someone we used to be close to. We grieve when we lose someone at the peak of our relationship, and we grieve when we lose someone with whom we are estranged. This happens with friends, and it happens with family.  

I didn’t know what to expect at my uncle’s funeral. My mom and her brother had experienced some trying times in their recent years together, and I grieved that for my mother. But, thankfully they had made their amends for the most part and I believe that being surrounded by the rest of the family during this time of loss was good for us. It was a healthy transition into our next phase of the grieving process.  

It was especially good to see my cousins and my godchildren. It afforded my cousin Brindy and I the opportunity to recreate a photo from the baptism of our Godchildren, Brylee and Henry, 11 years ago. And, being the theological thinker that I am, something occurred to me while posting this photo on Facebook. I think it’s important to note that both pictures portray parts of our lifecycles as people and families, baptisms and funerals, joys and grief; and more importantly to note, and to be comforted by knowing, that Christ and His promises are at the center of both.  

My friends, be patient with yourselves wherever you are encountering grief right now. And, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you ever want to talk about it. I have a lot of experience with the subject. I may not know exactly what you’re going through, but I have trod similar paths. Take care of yourselves, and each other, Pastor Robert