It's hard to find a funny or even light-hearted topic for this week's offering.
I can think of some beautiful things that have happened over the past three weeks, including a two-week international symphony academy, and a five-day international choral festival held in our community. The music was glorious as musicians and singers from, literally, around the world regaled us with their harmonies and melodies.
For several hours at a time, I nearly forgot what was happening outside the concert halls.
In the nearly 20 years since I first began writing these columns, it's been a personal commitment not to focus on news or politics, but this week I can't help but offer my prayers for so many who are suffering so much.
There's always suffering in this world, but this week so much has come so close to home: floods, tornados and winds wrecking havoc across North America; fires that claimed the lives of children and firemen; the stoning death of a young pregnant woman in Pakistan who had dared to marry someone for love rather than family tradition; and, in a story that is gripping the hearts of Canadians, the disappearance of a grandpa and grandma and their five-year-old grandson.
Although each person's grief is unique, perhaps the strength gained by others can be a source of encouragement to each one passing through such deep valleys. The Psalmist David confessed: "I have wept until I am exhausted; my throat is dry and hoarse; my eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to act." Psalm 69:3, Living Bible).
In the midst of that pain, however, he found his strength. "…You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not tarry!" (Psalm 70:5, AMP).
My prayer for you: "May the God of love and peace be with you"