Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. My husband and I always attend the Ash Wednesday service at our church, and it is one of my favorite services. It is somber and contemplative, and at the end of the service, instead of coming to the front to receive communion, the congregation files to the alter to receive the ashen mark. With each mark on each forehead you can hear our pastors murmur “From dust you have come, to dust you shall return.”
While this can certainly by an unnerving reminder of our mortality, I find comfort in the tradition. Our pastor calls the Lenten season a time of “bright sadness”. Its is the most somber season of the church calendar, but you can’t help but rejoice a little while observing it because we know how the story ends.
On Monday our African Operations Director, Ryan, wrote a post about the death of a client. The loss of a client is an incredibly tragic experience that happens too often in this world, but there is a bright kind of sadness that we can find in our work during these times. While sitting in the serve at my church last night and thinking of Ryan’s post on Monday, I kept rememberinga client named Lucy.
Lucy went through the CARE for AIDS program and passed away in 2013 due to complications from an opportunistic infection. We still mourn her loss, but the phrase bright sadness is the perfect description of what I feel when I think of her. I know that we will see Lucy again, and I rejoice in that.
At CARE for AIDS our utmost desire is for each of our clients to find a personal relationship with Christ. We pray for life sustained and life eternal for each client we are blessed to work with. When loss comes, and it certainly has and will continue to come, we know that there is a brightness in our mourning, because we know the end of the story.