My heart is so heavy today for my friends, Frank and Carolyn James, as they grieve the loss of Kelly James and as they agonize over whether Brian and Nikko are still alive. As Frank said at the press conference a little while ago:
"This is a difficult day for all three families. Our hope was that Kelly, Brian and Jerry would all be rescued safely and that has led these families to become very, very close. We’re persuaded that Kelly has been found. But I feel like I have two other brothers still on the mountain, and the James family is deeply, deeply grateful to the rescue efforts to date. We wish the rescue workers godspeed in their ongoing efforts to bring Brian and Jerry down that mountain safely ...
"We find strength in your support and we join all of you in your prayers for the safe return of Brian and Jerry ... As Christians, we find peace that Kelly is with God .¤.¤. Kelly always told us he felt closest to God when he was on the mountain. That is what drove him to climb. We find enoormous comfort in knowing he lifted off that mountain from a place he loved, and from doing something that he loved very, very much.¤.¤.
"Thank you for all of your support. The family is very grateful."
I know the families would all appreciate your ongoing prayers. To let them know you are praying or to offer your condolences to the James family, visit the Mt. Hood Climbers blog they set up.
I wrote this poem about Mary of Bethany a few years ago and dedicated it to Carolyn James as it was inspired by the lessons she taught me and by her book, When Life and Beliefs Collide, which everyone should read. I am comforted today by Mary's story. Jesus invites us to sit at his feet and know him deeply. He knows that we will need to know him deeply for the days ahead. He grieves with us in our moments of deepest trial. And he has not only wept with us in our grief, but he has drunk the cup of grief to its dregs so that we do not face sorrow or death alone. In short, he is the trail-blazer who forged ahead to meet and conquer death and rise again so that we might not grieve as those who have no hope. I pray that Kelly's family will find comfort in Christ, our trailblazer, who went ahead of us on a journey we were not fit to take to conquer death that we may live again.Read more