I hated history in school, and I think politics mimic a good Broadway show. I don’t pretend to be highly informed on either topic – I take in the highlights, follow the rules and keep my opinions secure in my bubble, to avoid conversations I cannot confidently defend. The war on Ukraine has sparked a hunger in me to learn more, listen longer and recalculate my priorities. I never thought I would witness anything like the devastation unfolding.
My daughter just celebrated a very special Valentine’s Day, getting engaged to her boyfriend, who is from Ukraine. Now, they watch together as he clings to every phone call, news clip, bomb launched, missile fired, and braces himself wondering if his family has been hit. The Russian soldiers are in his home town now, as I type. The agony is not something I can pretend to know. It’s truly unfathomable and bone chilling. This young couple will start a life together experiencing strength, faith, pain and loyalty at the roots. Oh, the depths of our love.
This morning, the cries from a mother hit my soul, hidden in a bomb shelter with her 3 kids, pleading on the national news, to please help Ukraine. I saw the desperation in her eyes, as her baby slept in her arms, and it was not about politics, religion, or war – it was a humanitarian plea, to simply survive. As my eyes filled with tears, I came unraveled listening to her cry for help, in my warm bed, in my safe home – almost guilty. I am not experiencing the same fear as she, but my heart is bleeding for her, and all the Ukrainian families. Oh, the depths of our love.
The father leaving his wife and child on the train, to protect them while he stays to defend their country, “at all costs”, and a sacrifice at its finest. Saying a final goodbye to my spouse and children, with breath still in my lungs, is a place my mind has never traveled. I cannot imagine searching for the strength to take those steps. Gut wrenching and so undeserving. Oh, the depths of our love.
Today, my stepfather will speak at his lifetime-best friend’s funeral, not due to a political war, but a war against sickness and time. The years of friendship, memories, and stories are irreplaceable. Looking back, I am sure he will consider it an honor to speak about and celebrate his friend’s life, but today I know his heart is broken. Oh, the depths of our love.
My sweet neighbor across the street, lost her husband during the holidays in 2020 – a sudden heart attack with no warning. A love and life gone too soon, while she also battles cancer and cares for her twin sisters. Recently, the cancer treatments targeting her brain, have caused strokes. Today, she is now home resting, on Hospice. A family so deserving of all good things, is fighting and hurting. Oh, the depths of our love.
My husband has a cat at work that he loves. The cat was wild and after months of love and attention, she became somewhat tame and his new best friend. He takes her food on days off and makes sure she has a warm place to sleep in the cold. This week, she was missing for a while and came back with an injured leg. She ran as he tried to catch her and care for her. This morning, as he prepared to go visit “Goldie”, I noticed he is cooking a piece of fish in the oven. He said, “she is hurting, and deserves a warm piece of fish”. As simple as a stray cat, it was a refreshing act of kindness, and a front row seat to pure love with no boundaries. Even if it’s just a cat. Oh, the depths of our love.
Driving in to work this morning, my mind is spinning with images of Dan speaking at the funeral, Nick pacing the floor waiting on updates from his family taking shelter in the basement, the Ukrainian mother crying to the world for help, the father leaving his wife and child on the train, my own children witnessing this disgusting war on innocent people, my neighbor fighting for her life, and the injured cat that will get warm fish. The radio is playing “Cornerstone”, and my heart flees to that safe space, that God is with us and will not leave us. He is our Cornerstone, in ALL things. We cling to this hope in chapters of pain and loss, but let’s also cling here in between the pain. Oh, the depths of our love.
As we lay our heads down and wake again, be reminded that Love is Love. We all bleed red, and breathe the same air. Hug a jerk, pay it forward, help a neighbor, feed the stray cat, smile for no reason, listen even if the story is boring, forgive with gratitude, go in early, stay late, speak more life and less doubt, love on others whom are different from you, talk to God even when things are not tragic, and be a LIGHT in this very DARK world.
As I try and soothe this heavy heart, I ask – If we could reorganize our priorities to reflect on the depths of our love, what would that look like? We might think twice before getting twisted over something meaningless. Will it really matter, when we are facing the end of the flame? Love deep and hurt deep, from the inside out. Spread it everywhere, as deep as the oceans are wide, as tall as the mountains can peak. This difficult week looks different for all of us. My hope is placed in the Cornerstone, and my prayer is we stay focused there, for all the days of our lives. We get one chance. I pray for all the broken hearts, as we press on and cling to the One where Hope is found.
Lord, hold us close.
Isaiah 28:16, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”