“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
The Beatitudes, or the Sermon on the Mount has to be one of my all-time favorite Bible passages for a variety of reasons. In its simplicity, it has provided me with whatever I needed, whenever I needed it.
When I was a child in the early 1970s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka the Mormons) had a series of TV commercials. I was about 8 years old when one called “Pass It On” became popular. It showed people receiving small acts of kindness and then paying it forward with more random acts of kindness, while a catch little jingle, “Blessed are the peacemakers, the Lord says, ‘Pass it on, pass it on'” played in the background. As a middle child, the natural peacemakers, according to birth order experts, the message struck a chord with me.
I also liked, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” I was very shy as a child and this verse helped me to be more accepting of myself. Later, as an adult working in a competitive corporate environment, this verse also helped me to stay true to my God-given nature even when manager and mentors pushed me to become more forceful when relating to peers and subordinates and to “promote myself” when surround by members of upper management.
However, I never quite understood the verse which read, “Blessed are those who mourn” until the tragic loss of my 23 year old son, nearly two years ago. Initially, I struggle; people talked about relying on faith, but in the first weeks and months after Aaron chose to end his life, God just felt very far away and I couldn’t imagine feeling comforted, let alone “blessed.”
I couldn’t relate to the people who said, “I just turned everything over to God and he immediately took the pain away.” But lately, I have been experiencing comfort in little things: a single red rose growing in my backyard which I had never noticed before, or a random Facebook message from a young woman who told me that my son had once taken her on a date and had been such a gentleman that she thanked me for raising such a kind-hearted young man.
While part of me will probably always “mourn” at some level, I do feel God’s presence more now that I am learning to recognize that it is the smallest things that provide the most comfort and the biggest blessings.