A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

The title of today’s entry will likely elicit an immediate response within the minds of most readers.  Some will be pointed to the original source of those words in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.  Others will first recall the eternally famous musical interpretation of those words as rendered in the 1960’s by The Byrds.  If you’re in the latter camp, there’s no shame in that!

Many people around the world – sports fans and non-fans alike – were captivated last month by the words of Monty Williams.  Williams is an assistant coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, and was previously the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.  Monty’s wife, Ingrid, was killed in a head-on collision.  Instantly, the coach became a single father of five kids ranging from ages five to seventeen.

Monty chose to deliver a eulogy for Ingrid, a task he executed masterfully.  For me personally, I was most impacted by his admonition to the audience that they shouldn’t say we’ve “lost” Ingrid.  His reasoning?  If you know exactly where someone is then they aren’t lost!  The mainstream media didn’t want to emphasize that too highly, it might be offensive.  😉

The portion of his speech that did receive much attention were still more than worthy.  Monty requested prayer for the family of the woman responsible for the crash (who also died), reminding the audience that two families were hurting in the same way.  He expressed that his family held no ill-will towards the lady’s family, and that was perceived on most fronts as extraordinary.

I had thought about using that eulogy as the basis for a post.  I’ve been drawn to it since the day it occurred, but the timing didn’t seem “right.”  Until two days ago.  His team issued a statement informing the world that Coach Williams won’t return to the sidelines this season.  He will continue to take time off to focus on healing for himself and his children.  What a contrast: the man who masterfully delivered such a powerful message at his own wife’s memorial service is the same man who will step back from the majority of his job duties while he grieves.

I see a daffodil in those circumstances.   Monty Williams is demonstrating that there are two sides to the coin of grief, even if the world only sees the side facing up at the moment.  Sometimes we tend to think of grief as “either/or” when we ought to see it as “both/and.”  On the days that your coin lands with the “dance” side up, it doesn’t mean that your grief is forever gone.  When “mourn” wins the coin flip, it’s not an indication that you’re failing at life.

There’s a time to mourn AND a time to dance.  Have an awesome day and find some daffodils for me!

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One response

  1. Yes, grief is filled with mournin and dancing. I’m better now than I was a year ago. I am able to dance with my memories and thoughts more often. But, grief still emerges when I least expect it. Donald and I were married for 53 years so I have plenty of memories. Thank God for the daffodils!

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