survivors, and the friends who walk with them.
When I looked through the installation service photographs again this morning, this is the one that struck me. These are the folks from our home communities who came to celebrate with us. The man to my right is a good friend with whom I have shared training and experience as a spiritual director. He's also an elder in my home church and delivered the charge to the newly installed pastor (that would be me) yesterday. The woman to my left is one of our home church pastors and delivered the sermon yesterday. The man to your far right is our home church senior pastor and preached Josh's funeral service. The woman smack in the middle is the Musical Friend to whom I've often referred, whose husband died very suddenly only a few months before we lost Josh.
Four of the people in this photograph have survived seminary (which would have been quite sufficient by itself), the suicide of a child, and the breast cancer of the mom over the past few years. All of the other folks have known us through all of that and, in most cases, for two decades before.
Really, these are the faces of friendship and love.