I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month thinking about the Emily C. Specchio Foundation. Most of the organizations I donate to are born of sadness, but none have touched me in the same way as this one. It seems that Emily Specchio’s life was a seed that her family cultivated in their grief, and I admire them tremendously for it. To me, sadness is the most debilitating of injuries, so to see evidence of strength where I wouldn’t think it could ever live is hope-inspiring.
I’m reminded of a lady I met during my first visit to Westminster Presbyterian in Alexandria, VA. I had been to many kinds of churches before, and I was often left to cry alone in the pew throughout the sermon – or worse, pressured to talk. But this lady sat next to me and just gave me tissues. Then at the end of the service, she said it was wonderful I could experience such emotion.
Noone had ever looked at my tears that way before. I always considered them to be a character flaw and something I learned to hide everywhere except in church. So when I found out the lady’s name was Bea Hurt, it made sense. Like she was put on earth to give us permission to feel.
I think about her often, especially when I want to stop caring about people because the sadness or meanness is just too much. She reminds me that the same part inside that allows us to hurt also allows us to hope, if we can look at things a little differently.