I had planned to write about something else today, ingredient related, but to be honest, my heart isn’t into it. The past week there have been many tragedies (Berkley balcony collapse, Charleston shootings, and recently a house fire of a friend of a friend), and as I struggle to come to terms with the loss and pain of strangers, I can’t help but to put myself in their foot steps.

I watched in horror as the the events of Charleston played out on TV and I felt helpless, and saddened. I cried for the victims, the African-American community and my country. I then watched in complete awe as the families who spoke to the shooter at his arraignment one by one spoke of forgiveness. Their grace and love spoke volumes of the kind of faith, character and integrity they have and I will take that lesson with me for as long as I live.

During difficult times, there is a poem, written by Kahlil Gibran, which brings me a lot of comfort. I have share it many times with friends and family when they have lost a loved one. I share it now with the families of all of those tragedies. Yes, we are with you. We may not know you personally, but we are here, praying and sending love your way.

On Death
Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Funds have been set up to help the families of these tragedies, please consider a donation if you can…

Charleston shooting fund: http://www.charleston-sc.gov/index.aspx?NID=1330

Berkeley balcony family fund: http://www.gofundme.com/j1tragedyfund

Family friend loses everything in a fire fund: http://www.gofundme.com/lostallinafire

And make sure to hug your loved ones a little extra tight this evening….