*plot spoiler* this post is likely to ramble!
In the world that may be strange to many readers but is actually fairly indicative of my job context, I taught my little congregation the song 'Blessed Be Your Name' yesterday.
One of the joys of leading a small church is that you know where everyone is at- and so as we sang the words together there was a real resonance. People who have lost children, husbands, partners. People who daily struggle to keep going, as they stumble through wilderness wondering if they will ever feel alive again.
And in the midst, someone who cannot read- someone whose medication timetable just now means they missed my little bit of sharing on the Lord's prayer (they were snoozing by that point).. but someone who is joyful. Why?
Well her boyfriend died two years ago.. self immolated. As a homeless man he was given a pauper's funeral (they are not solely the stuff of Dickens) and was interred in a cemetry on the other side of Leeds. And my friend couldn't find the grave.
Just before Easter she brought red roses to church- and through tears she explained that she wanted to take the flowers to his grave, but she couldn't find it.. "I don't know where they have put him".
Last week I found his grave. We are going to buy flowers and then we will go and lay them on his grave.
And so yesterday, the sun was shining down on some- there was joy. There was a sense that we do get through wildernesses, even into patches of oasis for those whose life has been hard.
And as for me- well I stand at the edge of a wilderness this morning. Except I don't know which way it starts or stops. I wonder if I have been living in wilderness for a year and am invited into a verdant green pasture, or whether I am being cast from a sanctuary city into the wilderness again.
But somehow I trust- Blessed be your name.