Widows and orphans. Two of the most dreaded labels placed on people enduring grief. Also the two types of people that are often perceived as “weak” or “hurting” by today’s society.
Widows and orphans are mentioned quite a bit in the bible. In fact, just this weekend the readings at church were mainly about widows and the fatherless.
While reading these readings, I got to thinking about what would happen to me if I were placed in my same situation during the biblical days. Well, first, at 26, I would already be married and have quite a few children. But, aside from that…..there is something else. As a woman, my father would have been my guardian. And when my father passed away, it would have been the custom for my oldest brother to take me in and provide for me. He would have become the new head of the household and assume the role of providing for his younger sisters. And, if my mother were still alive, he would have had to take care of her as well. Obviously, this has not occurred in my life and my brothers are nowhere near being able to take care of me. In fact, they don’t know much about my life. I haven’t talked to one since my father’s funeral and the other for a few months. There is just no thought of me in their life.
My main point here is where is the compassion that existed during biblical days? Back then, when women became orphans or widows, men stepped up and took care of them. The community had compassion for them as the Lord says, “the least you do for one of my children, you do for me.” Sure, these people were labeled as “widows” and “fatherless,” but people provided them with compassion in their grief. People comforted them and didn’t shove them off to the side to heal on their own. People stood with them and helped them. Society doesn’t really do that anymore. Where has that concept gone?