❝And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed–and a sword will pierce your own soul too.❞ Luke 2:33-35
Reflection by Debra Rankin
Joseph and Mary marveled at what was being said about Jesus. And Simeon, after blessing them, said to Mary that a sword would pierce her soul and that Jesus would be rejected by many in Israel, much to their undoing, but that he would be a great joy to many others.
Like Joseph and Mary, all parents marvel and find great joy in the good things in their children’s lives, not knowing–and surely not wanting to know–the bad things that lie ahead.
When I was asked to write this reflection on this week’s theme of “loss,” the first thing that came to me was the loss of my twin brother who took his own life right after Thanksgiving at the age of twenty-eight. None of us ever really understood why. He had been an Air Force medic during the Vietnam War stationed at a hospital in the Philippines where the most badly wounded had been taken. There were times when they got no sleep for days. He was a gentle soul, and I always wondered if the horrors of what he lived over there contributed. I wonder if he could never get the images of all the losses he dealt with out of his mind.
And, oh how it pierced my parents’ souls. They never got over it. This was the only time I ever remember seeing my Daddy cry. My son Tift was three months old, and I will always remember my mother sitting and rocking him for hours in the same chair she had rocked us in.
The losses we feel–the piercings of our souls–never really go away. But as time goes by, his family and friends find great joy in the wonderful memories this loving man left in our hearts. Perhaps the same could be said of Mary, too.