Some days, the weight of the sadness and pain in the world is absoutely overbearing.
And you carry it around, aware of things lightly connected to you, people hurting, people you don't know hurting, people hurting others.
And then something hits close to home and it all becomes too much.
I am part of a group of local bloggers. We help support each other's blog and social media efforts. And some of the women are fortunate enough to have formed some real friendships. There are many women in this group that I like a lot but I haven't been able to really plug in and make non-computer-land friendships.
One of those women is a mom named Katy. She runs Indy with Kids. Katy often has great hook ups for cool events in the area and sometimes I even get to attend these cool events and help promote them. A couple of months ago, I enjoyed watching Twitter explode with tweets as everyone eagerly awaited the arrival of her third baby - a little girl named Shaundi. I thought it was really awesome that so many people were so excited and so eager and so filled with joy for this family.
I didn't know Katy personally. I'd met her once or twice. But I loved watching everyone who did know her get so excited about Shaundi's arrival.
And then tragedy struck.
Tuesday evening, Shaundi was found unresponsive. Overnight, impossible decisions had to be made. Wednesday morning, I awoke to messages on Facebook about what was going on - I'd been clueless.
A group of us met at a local park and stood together, hand in hand, and prayed. Because what else could we do?
And we learned later that afternoon - Shaundi had been baptized and had died.
Tuesday evening, a friend in my mom group posted about a friend of hers losing her 9 month old.
Tuesday evening, an Amber Alert was issued for an 8 year old girl in my town (who happens to be a classmate of a friend of mine).
Last week, a teacher in our preschool suffered a miscarriage (late enough in her pregnancy that she had to deliver her baby).
A friend in my mom group lost her brother.
The losses are piling up.
Even if you don't turn on the news - which I generally don't - the newsfeed on Facebook and my hoempage on Twitter are flooded each day with problems that people I am connected to are facing.
Illness, death, poverty, fighting, divorce, heartbreak, infidelity, runaways, drug addictions.
It is overwhelming. Absolutely overwhelming.
And the news of Shaundi's passing... after spending time in prayer with a group of amazing women in the middle of a busy playground on a gorgeous sunny day...
I had to step away. From my desk, from people.
I went outside. I am thankful that my new office building is in a gorgeous setting - ponds and wildflowers and ducks and a nice walking path.
I walked to a quiet spot and stopped to watch the ducks.
Amid all the brown ducks that I see every single day was a single bright white duck. I'd never seen this duck before. A bright white duck, the same size and everything as the brown ducks that surrounded it.
And I cried.
Yes, because I was sad.
But also because... there was hope.
I'm not usually one to see signs around me. But I do believe in my connection to God. I do know that I hear from Him. And I do believe that single white duck was a sign of hope. A reminder that there is light.
Dark days are ahead for Katy and her friends and family. Dark days are upon them right now.
But there is light. There is hope. There is love. There is peace.
If you feel so inclined - we are taking donations to help alleviate the costs that are coming for Katy's family. The expense of a very unexpected funeral and the hospital bills that will be coming. The family also recently made changes to their income structure and this will most likely impact their ability to bring in income in the coming months. Even a few dollars helps in a big way.