I have been thinking a lot about what constitutes community, and how the virtual community I now find myself spending more and more time in is as real, to me, as the community I live and work and worship in. The similarity between the two types of community -- the virtual and the real -- was brought home to me today in a way I didn't expect.
I had been all prepared to write about how I knew the virtual community was real by the way people have responded to two unexpected tragedies among our membership, when I got word that my friend Patty had died this morning. It was not unexpected, as she'd been ill for several years, and when I saw her yesterday I could tell we would be losing her soon. I just didn't expect it to be quite that soon.
But do we ever expect death to come quite that soon? I have been privileged to be present, in a virtual way, as two people I have come to know exclusively through twitter, each lost a child to sudden and unexpected death in recent weeks. I have been further privileged to witness the community responding with love and prayers and support, in precisely the same way my own community here in Arlington is responding to the loss of our dear Patty.
Sometimes, it's best to use as few words as possible, and I think this is one of those times. It is spring, bringing the promise of new life, at the same moment we are reminded that the natural course for life is for it to end, and death will come to us all eventually.
Peace be with you on this day that brings, unexpectedly, hope and love even in the face of death.