April 24, 2024

Just My Opinion - by Mary Kilen

Small Towns Are Communities
Life in a small town brings its own uniqueness. That includes the close-knit relationships across the community. Living in a small town, you know almost everyone. You celebrate all of the successes of those around you. You also feel the pain of those around you.
For a small town, Stanley has had what seems to be more than its fair share of that pain recently.
We support families as they go through difficult times. That is especially true in times of health crises. For the past few months, the community has been supporting a teacher and a student with cancer. There have been benefits and fundraisers, as well as emotional and prayerful support of both the individual and their families.
When an elderly person passes, we mourn with the family. We also celebrate a life well-lived. We share the stories of their past and the memories they leave behind. I’ve had friends who have lost a parent in the last few weeks. I feel their pain having lost my own parents and Dale’s parents over the past years.
As I write my column on Sunday night, I’m reflecting, though, on the more difficult moments. It is hard to fathom what families in this community are going through right now.
A 39-year-old father lost his life last week in a motorbike accident, leaving behind his wife and children.
Last week, a 25-year-old young man lost his life suddenly.
Over the weekend, a six-year-old child lost her life.
This community is rocked right now by the loss, tragedy and sadness that has enveloped it like a gray cloud.
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Stanley hosted a 40 hour devotional continuous Eucharistic Adoration for one of their members, the fourteen-year old dealing with cancer. At the same time, they were inviting the community to join them in prayer.
I am not sure how many additional community members will have joined them, but I am also sure that I am not the only one that has spent extra time praying for all of those experiencing the tragedy in our community.
May we all spend time lifting up the entire community. These tragedies have affected all areas including businesses and our schools. We need to support not only the families directly affected, but also those around us that are struggling to find answers to the difficult question of “why”.
One of my friends shared two posts with prayers that spoke to my soul.
The first is a Prayer for Comfort and reads:
Heavenly Father, I lift my friend/fail to you in prayer. I ask that you would surround them in your peace and comfort as they walk and try to maneuver through this great pain and loss. I pray you to wrap them in your loving arms and let them know and feel you are so very close during all of this. Be their strength. Be their guide. Give them wisdom. Help them choose you in every moment as they grieve and heal from this. By your power, Christ conquered death and the enemy. I pray you will give my friend/family the blessing of your peace and your joy amid their grief. Jesus died and rose again and is sitting at your right hand, interceding for your people. Please intercede for my friend/family. Your Word says that Jesus sings over us and loves us more than we can every imagine. It also says you are near the broken-hearted. I ask that you would not only remind my family/friend of all this but bring comfort to their weary heart. I thank you for them and their life. Help them see the good in every day. Help them see you in this deep pain. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The other was shorter but just as impactful. It reads:
Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by recent tragedies. We remember those who have lost their lives so suddenly. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them consolation and comfort.
As we work our way through the next few weeks, there will be times when the sorrow will hit seemingly out of nowhere. There will be times when we need to support those around us. I pray for our schools, our children, teachers, and staff. I pray for our medical staff, law enforcement and emergency services providers. May we find a way to support them all in whatever way possible as we go through this dark time in our community. And remember to hug those you love and tell them that you love them. If nothing else, the past few weeks have reminded me that you never know when it will be the last time you get the chance.
I’ll close with the following poem another friend shared from Journey of Life by Joanne Boyle.
If tomorrow never comes,
And the angels want to play,
Remember you were loved,
Every minute of every day.
If tomorrow never comes
And I never got to say goodbye,
I’ll send the words in whispers.
You’ll hear them in the sky.
If tomorrow never comes
And I didn’t do enough,
Forgive me and yourself
And that days that will be tough.
If tomorrow never comes
There is only one thing to do.
Put me inside of your heart
So I can stay with you.
If tomorrow never comes
And this moment is our last,
See my life in colour
And paint pictures of our past.