Agape: March 25, 2020

Agape: The 2020 Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

A couple of years ago my family suffered a devastating shock, one of those moments when the course of life changes on a dime. No warning, inexplicable- things will never be the same again. One of the most important things I learned from this time was that feeling anxious is a perfectly normal reaction to grief. The body and mind brace for “what might be next”, the next unexpected thing around the corner. Everything seems like something to fear.

Although it’s hard to put into words, the greatest love that was shown to me/my family during this time was offered by a couple close to us. While there was never going to be a “fix” for this situation, they showed up and sat shoulder to shoulder with me, prayed for me, and sat with me through many difficult moments. The act of physically surrounding me on either side meant so much- it felt like the only thing grounding me in this time of tremendous change when there really was no “normal” left for my family. I began to think of them as my “guardrails”- they kept me moving forward and safe on the road I was about to travel.

May we all remember that just showing up–without the right words to say or a solution–is proof of our love for each other. Standing shoulder to shoulder with someone suffering or anxious is a physical demonstration of emotional support, proof that we are not alone.

Lord, I ask that you quiet my mind during this time of prayer so that I can look back and give gratitude for those that stood with me during troubled times. Thank you for the gifts of friends and family who took time to be present despite their own struggles and challenges. Lord, help me to honor you and learn from their examples and be present for those that need me now and in the future. Amen.
-Lara Cole

Lara's guardrails