It is a haunting image. The moment, captured by Kristina Guerra (Indianapolis Star, Monday, February 24, 2014) reveals a little 7 year old girl kneeling on the ground, wrapped in a red checkered blanket, being consoled by her mother.
The little girl's friend had died last night in a house fire that claimed all 6 members of her family. Surrounded by stuffed toys at the make-shift memorial, little Jade wept on the ground, embraced by a red checkered blanket and the loving arms of her Mommy.
When life seems to fall apart, when the people who seem to make your life normal are not there, it matters that you touch the ground. This image embodies some of those things that help ground us when we feel scattered and in chaos.
There is the winter ground--the base on which our life is built. We are sustained by the earth. Some people love to garden--to kneel down and get their hands in the dirt. Some like to hike--putting their boots on the hard soil of stability. Some like to lie back on the hillside and create characters out of the clouds in the sky. Some kneel on the ground in prayer.
In the image there is a warm wool blanket secured by the warm arms of a mother's hug. When we hurt, we seek out someone who can simply hold us while we work through our pain. Companions on the journey of grief are vitally important. There are certainly times we need to be alone in the company of our own thoughts, but there are other times when the wrapping presence of strong friendships help hold us.
And the stuffed animals anchor the photo. There on the ground, representing the comfort of the familiar are teddy bears and candles. When things seem to be coming apart, the presence of those things that comfort our soul are important. They may be symbols of love we have received from those who are no longer with us. They may be stories of life that has been lived. They may be symbols of a religious tradition that grounds our chaotic, wandering mind in a larger family of faith.
All these are captured in this powerful image--reminders that we are not alone. While we may not have answers to why, we can have the presence of others with whom to wait till we have the strength to get up off the ground. And when you think about it, that is quite a lot.