There is a TV show on NBC called THIS IS US. Perhaps you've seen it. It's a very well-written, well-acted drama about the Pearson family, featuring Milo Ventimiglia (Jack), Mandy Moore (Rebecca), Justin Hartley (Kevin), Chrissy Metz (Kate), and Sterling K. Brown (Randall). The show is unique in that it plays with the timeline, showing the parents, Jack and Rebecca, early on in their role as parents of infants Kevin, Kate, and adopted Randall, then fast-forwards to when the kids are teens, and then as adults themselves.
The show's storylines tend to illicit joy and sadness, as the family experiences life in all its myriad forms, from happy times to tragedies. The show lets on fairly early that the father, Jack, dies when the kids are in their teens, but it has been a mystery as to how he passes on. Until now. Last night's episode following the Super Bowl showed what happened to Jack, and it was absolutely tragic.
I won't spoil the show for anyone who hasn't seen it, but it was a major topic of conversation at my office today. Apparently, many people either watch the show, or happened to catch last night's episode, and there was a lot of shock and sadness over the fate of poor Jack. And it bothered me that so many people were upset over the death of a fictional character.
I realize the show is an escape from the realities of life, but for too many people, events such as the ones depicted on the show ARE life. You likely know someone who is hurting, and they are likely going through experiences much worse than the characters on that show. Maybe they lost a spouse, or a sibling, or a child, parent, or friend. Maybe you are the one who experienced it. And maybe it happened last week, or last year, or maybe a dozen years ago. But it still hurts, and the grief is as strong now as when it happened. Maybe you suffer from depression as a result of what happened.
It is my belief that those loved ones who had a relationship with our Lord and Savior will spend eternity with Him, and that knowledge is enough to provide comfort. But the loss is still severe, and may continue to significantly impact them in many ways. They may seem fine, and show no signs of suffering, but sometimes all it takes is a specific memory or trigger to set them off, and the grief may be as strong now as when they experienced their loss.
Please remember those who are suffering. A kind word can go a long way. If you know of someone who suffered a significant loss, please pray for them, or reach out and let them know you're thinking about them. They may not respond at first, or perhaps they never will, but they will know you care. And that may be just what they need.
Death does not discriminate. It can come at any time. It may be sudden, or it may come after a long illness. But all of us will be touched by it. Don't hesitate to hug and tell your loved ones how much you love them. You can't say it enough.
Have a great evening, everyone.