there is a fine line between being honest and open and, say, vomiting verbally on a web page. life has recently been a series of difficulties following challenges following crisis. so, to prevent a messy blog i've refrained from writing. but here is my effort to write about one challenge that has left me grateful and worn.

last weekend i was talking to my neighbor when my friend jon tapped me on the shoulder and said, "sunia. chris died." at first i didn't know what he meant. "chris who?" i thought. but jon went on, "chris died. he went sailing and he drowned." and moments later, as the news sunk in, i knew he meant chris lee: the guy who first began to open up to our community through my conversations with him, the guy who bought us all slurpies and could drink his faster than anyone else, the guy who brought crackers and cheese every monday night, the guy who helped me move my furniture, the guy who was at every event we ever had, the guy who just got a great new job - my friend chris.

this was the blow that knocked me to the ground. i was tired. i was mad. but i didn't have enough energy to even try to stand up. in the last four months our community has dealt with three divorces, endured members with unemployment, seen a 30% drop in giving, supported a friend during/after hospitalization, and most recently experienced the loss of one of our own.

thank god for friends and family who pray and surround us with support during times of tragedy. let me say that again, thank god for friends and family who pray and surround us with support during times of tragedy.

in this moment (only five hours after the memorial service) the redeeming truth i have is that our church truly loved chris, cares for his family, and cares for one another. i saw my closest friends sacrifice and give beyond themselves in the past couple of days. i felt the prayers of people all over the country as we grieved. i know that the presence of god is demonstrated through people - i have experienced this truth.

let us love one another. let us continue to be with one another. let us not take any moment for granted or waste another second in strife or anger or resentment. let us forgive. let us live abundantly. let us dream together. and hope. and wait. and truly, truly, truly love.

as the apostle paul write, "i'm pressed but not crushed". i am more tired than i have ever been, but more encouraged too. thank you to everyone and the groves community for supporting me through words, prayer, and labor. i love all of you and look forward to our future together.