a friend said today that a special person had left after a visit and my friend was despondent since there had not been an opportunity to “share the word”. another friend tells that a close friend to my friend was married today…in a civil union. two females. a third friend has family that has separated…moved out! one spouse left the other spouse. no phone contact or knowledge of where the removed spouse has gone to. and yet a fourth friend’s wife was found to have “a cyst the size of a grapefruit” inside of her. the understatement of the day…”the doctors were a bit surprised!” all today! since this morning when i rose out of bed! now, i am not sharing these anecdotes for empathy or sympathy but, rather, to make the point that i made with even another friend just a few days ago…a person can deny any complications in life, it is just an “attitude”, it is all ok “because jesus is with me”. and on and on and on… but how naive! life hurts! life is painful! and if you or i are not feeling the burn, then maybe we have our eyes closed, ears plugged, and senses numbed out. people hurt even if you or i don’t think we do or that they do. i am reminded of “jesus wept”. i am reminded of jesus calling out for exception…the pain was going to be too much. i am reminded of jesus praying for his disciples…then and now. yes, the world is tough, ugly, painful, hurtful. and i need – really bad – church community to keep me focused on, attentiveto , and grateful for all of the good that is in this world and beyond. and there is much! if i think the smoke and fog is all there is then i am doomed. but church community life can keep me strong, prepared, and sharp. how about you? do you need some honest, authentic, and caring support? let’s talk.