wednesday night we held a candlelight vigil for kids that had come in town for greer’s funeral. we weren’t sure how many to expect… maybe 15? maybe 150? over 200 students showed up. over 1200 attended the funeral the following day.
at the vigil, each person was invited to come to the front of the church and light their candle from the pascal candle, the candle used in easter tide to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. john left a small mic (the kind you attach to your shirt) at the candle for people to speak into if they wanted to share a blessing from greer. because the mic was small, people had trouble finding it and getting it to work. lisa (another of the clergy) turned to me and said, “why don’t you go up there and hold the mic?”
so i did. which isn’t saying much. but i got to look into the faces of every person lighting their candle, whether they spoke or not. what i found was that just standing there was actually a huge deal. people wanted to make eye contact. to be acknowledged. they sought from me looks of empathy or encouragement, even without knowing me. some mouthed ‘thank you’ as they passed by. others, including greer’s mother, reached out and touched my arm or squeezed my shoulder as they spoke. what might have been a mundane job of holding a mic turned into a meaningful and totally needed means of connecting. this is a need we share. and all you really have to do is just be there, be aware, and be open.