Invitation to Share

In his book, To Heal a Fractured World, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks reflects on the Jewish practice of sitting shiva. The word shiva means seven to reflect the practice of immediate family mourning the loss of a loved one for a week. After immediate lamentation there is a time of embracing the comfort of the community and it often can be – like in many funerals – a time of story telling and giving thanks for the life of the person. Anyway… Sacks reflects on sitting shiva for his father and all the wonderful stories he heard in that week, stories of deep impact his father made in the world. Stories he wished his father had heard when he was still alive.

Bringing that forward to my own life I am currently walking with two of my best friends in cancer journeys. My father Bob Kukla and Duncan Filson, the office manager at work. They both discovered agressive cancers around the same time at the end of last year and are both going through equally agressive treatments to hold cancer at bay and maybe even try to beat it into submission. They have both spoken to me about being overwhelmed at how many people have reached out to them. My dad keeps talking about fraternity brothers… from 55 years ago!! Duncan said to me today, “it is like getting to attend your own funeral. If I don’t die, which I don’t intend to do any time soon, I will almost feel guilty. I will feel like I owe these people an apology that they came out of the wood work for me and it wasn’t so fatal after all.”

And I realized… why does it have to be death? Why do we wait for the tragic to happen? How many have not know the impact they have made in other’s lives because… we just don’t do that… until they have died… and we share with each other what we never shared with them?

So here is my invitation. Reach out to that teacher that made a difference in your life – and tell her. Reach out to that coworker or boss or mentor who inspired to you dig deeper and reacher farther. Reach out to the parent who you told that you didn’t need them. Reach out to a sibling who never had to ask why when you called on them for help no matter what baggage there was… Remind your spouse why you married them!!

Reach out and tell someone now, while there is still time, while they can still feel uplifted in the knowledge. Sit shiva with the living – and promote that which is good through the sharing of our gratitude for one another. Reach out and share.. No matter how awkward it may seem I guarantee – I GUARANTEE – it will be a mutually upbuilding experience… and it will make you want to do it even more. Champion that which is good, and right, and whole.

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on February 18, 2021, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “Sit shiva with the living” – it’s a wonderful challenge.

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