“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,” Psalm 30: 11
Artwork by Freya Barber
A hopeful image from the book of Psalms, but I wonder how much comfort it would give a young couple mourning the loss of their only child…
It was my first year working at OIM when I met with Hali and Danny Barber. They looked exhausted, still in shock after the death of their 17 year old. My heart sank when they told me that she had taken her own life after struggling with mental health issues.
Joy was so far away from them. They appeared to be struggling to make it through each moment.
They told me about their daughter, Freya – a creative artist with a passion for helping others and a desire to connect with those who don’t fit into society. They wanted to honour her passions by donating in her memory to Innercity Arts. They felt it’s what Freya would have wanted. It was an action that touched my heart – and I felt hope for them. Hope but not joy. Joy was impossible.
Over the past few years, the Barbers have stayed connected with Innercity Arts. Attending art shows, donating supplies and taking the volunteer training. But this year, Hali felt she was finally in a place that she could volunteer at Innercity Arts. She is now attending every Thursday evening and is a support to youth who desperately need the kindness of an adult.
I’m not sure that Hali and Danny would say their mourning has turned to joy. They are still grieving and will always mourn for Freya. But what struck me is that joy was not impossible.
Joy has come to others through Hali and Danny.
When youth opened the donated art supplies….joy!
When Hali sits with a youth at Innercity Arts and creates art with them…..joy!
When we can support more youth through the funds raised at the carving festival…joy!
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30: 5