I am sitting on a beach watching waves today. Their continuous rhythm reminds me of the hearts within our chests.  Beating continuously, not always at the same pace but, always beating.  Sometimes slow and steady and sometimes with greater force and speed. While I sit watching, I am trying to come to terms with a painful fact. A few days ago, a dear friend’s heart suddenly stopped.  In my mind’s eye, I can see his smile.  I can hear him telling me a story and laughing with tears in his eyes. My belief is that although his body is gone he is not gone–he has moved on and we will meet again.  But his physical death came suddenly and his loved ones weren’t ready.  We are in shock. We are grieving a great loss. Yet somehow, like the waves, we will keep moving along in the flow of life. 

Collectively John’s loved ones have lost a friend, mentor, brother, Father, Grandfather, Uncle, and husband.  We are a community of grief. Thankfully we are also a community of support. We will share our grief and help each other. I am grateful for this multilayered support system of friends, family, co-workers and church members. The hurt is lightened by the oneness of grief and love.

John and Kelly are the kind of friends that feel so much like family that for a time, our children thought we were. We live in different states and are sometimes unable to see each other for long stretches of time.  But our reunions always feel as if we were never apart. I believe it will be like that when we all get to  heaven. But for now, John is already there and we are left behind, grieving. This community of loved ones will hold each other, share stories, laugh and cry together. Grief and joy will roll in and out like the waves.  We will get through this together.

Our oneness in grief includes a oneness in loving John.  He loved God, his family and everyone he met. He loved roughing it in the Boundary Waters. He loved woodworking. He loved the imprint of God in all of nature and in each person.  John’s love was inclusive.  He was an encourager and a servant hearted man.  We miss him and I think the Minnesota Boundary waters miss him. I feel and imagine him out there somewhere, loving God, humanity and nature–listening for the Loon.  

In honor of John, I invite you to focus on the beauty of each human being you encounter and the beauty of nature. I invite you to focus on oneness!  Oneness in our ability to care for and encourage each other. Oneness in our ability to help each other flourish. In oneness, we push away loneliness. In oneness, we invite joy, hope and wisdom. In oneness we can see life through eyes that focus on the wonder of all of nature and of each unique human being. In oneness we can encourage each other as if it is the last chance we will have.  The oneness of inclusive love, faith and hope helps us see more of God. I invite you to focus with awe at each other.  I invite you to focus on the beauty of nature. I invite you to do this with someone you love or a willing stranger–because everything is better when we experience it together.  This spring, challenge yourself to plant seeds of encouragement in everyone we meet.  We can overcome loneliness one person at a time and what better way than to chat in the beauty of spring!  

                “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”  GK Chesterton

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  1. Ann 1 month ago

    A beautiful tribute and thanks for the reminder to find the ‘oneness’ and encourage ourselves and others as a daily practice.

    • Author
      Ruthie Krause 1 month ago

      Thank you, Ann! You encourage all of us so much.

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