Life is Hard. God is Good.
When our mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January, my siblings and I decided to start a Meal Train calendar to let people know our need for care and companionship for her and give them the opportunity to help, signing up for meals and/or visits.
Throughout these ten months, I have been regularly sending emails to this group of about 70, updating them and telling them of our mom’s current need.
When our dad died in July, we began looking for an assisted living community for our mom. That had always been the plan — when dad died, she would move closer to Santa Rosa and her church.
We worked tirelessly to find just the right place.
And we did! Find just the right place. Beautiful residence, gorgeous view, moving date set for October 12.
And then, on October 9, the devastating Santa Rosa, California fires roared through that community, burning to the ground over 8,000 structures. One of those was the community we had been calling her new home. The cable guys were scheduled, the new sofa bed was coming, and she was excited to join the walking group.
I guess not.
We have since found another great community and she moves tomorrow.
So, I sent the last email to our Meal Train friends the other day.
I thought I would share it with you.
To the village of beloved friends who have walked this journey with us —
This is how I ended the last Meal Train email to all of you . . .
“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”
Blessings to you this first day of October. October! Wow.
What a year of grace and mercy.
God is good. ______________________________________________________________________
Exactly one week later, life changed forever.
God is still good, and we are still loved, but many struggle to make sense of the devastation. The loss. The complete upheaval of all of life.
For you who have lost your homes, we mourn and grieve with you.
I said in the last email how I wish we could sit with each of you and tell you how grateful we are for your love and care for our parents these past many months. Now I wish we could sit with you, cry with you and hear your story of that scary, fiery night and the overwhelming days that have followed.
Most of you know that Villa Capri, the assisted living community we were moving our mom into, burned down. How thankful we are that all the residents were evacuated safely. For us that meant the process of finding a home for her had to begin again.
My sister again did her rock star work and found a one bedroom apartment in a hybrid independent/assisted living community in Santa Rosa, one miraculously not affected by fire or smoke. Our mom will be moving in on October 29, and we are elated! Her house sold last week and the new owners, who lost their home in the fire, want to move in by the first part of November.
We rejoice that our parents house sold and our mom has a wonderful place to move to; but we grieve for our friends who have no home left. Nothing. They had ten minutes that awful night. Many left with the clothes they were wearing and their ID.
So, how do we hold both joy and grief in our heads and hearts at the same time? Is this part of the mystery of life and faith? Can I grieve for you and be happy for us? Can you be thankful for our provision but wondering where’s yours?
I struggle with this and I’m sure many of you do too. But in the meantime, we believe that we believe that we believe that no matter what happens here, God is still good and we are still loved.
In the beginning of time, darkness covered the earth and chaos reigned. But God created light to be the boundary for the darkness. He could have taken darkness out of the picture, right? But He didn’t. There will always be darkness, but light is the boundary that pushes the darkness back.*
Life is hard, but the Light WILL ALWAYS shine in the darkness and the darkness will never overcome it, never defeat it, never put it out.
And that’s the good news of the gospel.
*These ideas are from The Very Good Gospel, by Lisa Harper