Thursday, August 25, 2011

Light Shining Through the Darkness

Within a three day period, thanks to the power of the Internet, I have had an incredible experience of solidarity in grief from Denver, Colorado; to St. Joseph, Minnesota; to Ogden, Utah; and beyond.

Here's the cyber-map. On Sunday, August 21, my nephew in Denver emailed to ask for prayers for his best friend, Bryan, whose sister was killed in a horrible accident. She was swimming as she did every day in the Pineview Reservoir in Ogden, Utah. Esther was an accomplished scientist at University Hospital's neurobiology and anatomy lab. But on the evening of August 21, she was struck and killed by a motorboat. Friends and colleagues remember Esther as a good friend, the kind who always remembered specific details about others' lives.

I immediately emailed Bob, and assured him of my prayers that those of the monastic community. Bob forwarded that message to his friend Bryan on Tuesday. Wednesday Bryan emailed me with thanks, saying that he wishes to bring light to the world so that Esther's goodness lives on.

At lunch on Wednesday, I met Sister Marilyn Mark, who lived at the monastery in Ogden before returning to Saint Benedict's. She had read the article, knew exactly where the Pineview Reservoir was and also had a friend who had been badly injured by a motorboat as she was swimming there. This seemed to be another web of connections where grief could be shared in solidarity with one another. By 1 p.m. I emailed Bryan and told him of this connection to Sister Marilyn and Ogden, Utah.

I may, at times, decry the technology that has overtaken the world, finding it too fast and too invasive. And yet, here is an example of the wonder of connectedness, solidarity in grief, expressions of care and consolation that can happen in an instant and travel great distances. Indeed, light can and does shine through the darkness!

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