Nothing to say, nothing to do

Curving Road
It is a cold road that we travel.

It has been over 5 weeks since Mack passed and while I have posted about one or two other items besides our grief I think you can understand why it is a topic that will be with us for a while.

Perhaps the hardest aspect of grieving is that there is nothing to do about the situation. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am used to problems or circumstances where there is at least something I can do to mitigate the situation. If we have a leaky skylight I can get up on the roof and put some roof cement to patch it until we can redo the whole thing. If I child is sick we give her medicine, take her to the doctor, care for her.

But our son is simply gone.

We cannot help him and there is nothing we can do to rectify the situation. He is gone.

So what do we say in the face of this loss? A lot and nothing. When I announced that Mack had died I said, “There are not words that can comfort or theology that can accommodate such loss.” That is not completely true. Elizabeth and I have been greatly comforted by the presence, through writing, phone calls, and personal visits, from so many. We have even found some support and encouragement in certain writings about grief. It is not so much the words that bring comfort, as it is the people who bring the words to us. And while I have rejected various theological (or quasi-theological-poor-piety) explanations, I still continue to pray, read, and write about where God and our faith can be found in this tragedy.

I have expended a lot of words, especially considering I have said that there is nothing to say.

And what is there to do? In the short 5 weeks we have seen the community raise close to $100,000 for Mack’s scholarship. In the week following the funeral, thanks to incredible efforts by Todd Hoffard, Penn State Athletics, and PSU Men’s and Women’s Soccer we had an incredible soccer clinic for over 140 kids that raised a further $4,000 for the scholarship. The Philadelphia Union has offered to host us and Mack’s team for their June 23 game against the NY Red Bulls and will have special ticket rates for those in central PA to raise funds for the scholarship.

We are pretty busy considering there is nothing we can do.

And that is the point that Rabbi Kushner (When Bad Things Happen to Good People), Westberg, and others make. We cannot affect the past but we can determine our response to it and in so doing we create our future.

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