I’ve sometimes wondered why, given the extremes in temperature that can happen in one day in Colorado, our skin doesn’t just crack and fall off, what with all that shrinking and expanding.

Similarly – but with more emotional impact – some days have extreme pain or sorrow and incredible joy within the same 24 hours. It hardly seems possible given that so many days are just pretty normal with some really good days and some really bad days mixed in.

But every now and then, one 24 hour cycle has both extreme highs and lows.

I had one of those days on Monday. I found out the thing that broke my heart and the thing that made it soar within an hour of each other.

On Monday I found out that our dear, long time friends, who are also part of Highlands Church, Chris and Lala Wing lost their son Peter to a fluke skiing accident on Sunday. Our youngest daughter Emma grew up with Peter and continues to be friends. She has been absolutely devastated, as has the crew of friends that all grew up in our neighborhood together. Chris and Lala, along with their daughter Cori, now have the seemingly impossible task of somehow appropriating this tragic loss into their lives knowing they aren’t just going to wake up from this nightmare.

Beautiful, playful Peter’s untimely death knocked the wind out of me and my family and some of our closest friends from living in our neighborhood of the last twenty years. Many of you have gotten to know Chris and Lala at Highlands. We will be gathering Monday evening at 5:30 at church to celebrate Peter, support the family and share our grief, our love and our stories.

In roughly that same time frame that I heard the tragic news. Colorado Public Radio was interviewing Rev. Dr. Dawn Riley Duval, who, along with Rev. Tawana Davis of Soul2Soul Sisters, masterfully served our church by leading our Facing Racism and Privilege Cohorts last year. An anonymous white woman who found out her grandmother had owned a slave named Alice had inherited $200,000 and decided the best and most just use of this money was to donate it to the work of Soul2Soul sisters for their continued and vital work. Soul2Soul is a fiercely faith-based, Black womxn-led, racial justice organization focused on Black healing and Black liberation.

This news made my broken heart soar! What a beautiful expression of reparations, knowing-like all of us white folk-that the wealth of our country was built on the backs of slaves who never profited from their unpaid labor. The donor chose to stay anonymous because she didn’t want the story to center on her, but on Alice and Rev. Dawn and the crucial work of Soul2Soul Sisters.

Both the tragic loss and the beautiful gain on Monday will have ramifications for a lifetime. While they hit me hard at both ends of the emotional spectrum, what I know is true is that God has embraced both of these life changing events with love and will use them for good in ways we may not be able to presently imagine.

Nothing but love in the mix of grief and joy,
Mark