Today is Tuesday, Aug. 15 and summer is rushing by at a lightning-fast clip. Normally, I would be trying to hold onto all the summer days I can in an attempt to tuck them away in my memory so I can call them forth during the cold winter months to come. Yet, this has been a sad summer for me in many ways, and today brought more sorrow.

In July, a dear friend, Dan Mouhot, passed away at age 55 after a prolonged illness. Dan lived a wonderful life filled with friends and loved ones, and experienced all the joy and sorrow we all feel as “travel this sod” as the old hymn goes. On Aug. 6, I co-celebrated a celebration of his life via Zoom. We used Zoom because Dan had friends all over the world who wanted to attend the service. We had over 75 people from places such as Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and all over the United States. I was reminded again of how powerful a platform Zoom can be for bringing people together. At the conclusion of Dan’s service, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was a lovely service and a fitting farewell for my friend of many years.

I thought the rest of the summer would lend itself to peaceful evenings on the deck, mentally and spiritually preparing for the upcoming season of church activities, a cookout in September, Tag Sale in November, Thanksgiving, Advent & Christmas, and so on.

Unexpectedly, my phone rang this morning. I was surprised to see the name of a friend and member of my former church in Methuen. She called to tell me that her 21-year-old granddaughter, about to start her senior year in college, had been killed last night in a freak accident while vacationing with her family in Maine. My world stood still, while rain fell, as I struggled to comprehend the depth of this tragedy.

Alyssa was the daughter of a dear, dear friend and member of the church. Her mom and I led the youth group, of which Alyssa was a part. Alyssa was a talented actress who was in the theater arts program in college, destined for a life of performing. When her grandmother called me this morning, she asked me to pray for the family, because she always felt my prayers carried more weight than those of others. That isn’t true, but if it brings comfort, I’ll not disallow her feelings.

I will be praying without ceasing for this broken family, asking that God pour out His grace and comfort upon them in the face of an incomprehensible loss. A young life ended far too soon. A family left grieving forever. May God have mercy.

My prayer for every family is that they would never know this kind of heartbreak, but should tragedy come, that we would hold one another close in prayer, for sometimes, prayer is the greatest gift we can offer.

In Christ,

Pastor Sharon