Fred Phelps is in the news again this week - this time because he is reported to be dying. According to a post by his son on a social media site, Phelps is under hospice care and “on the edge of death.” Phelps is the founder of the Westboro Baptist “Church,” the infamous “church” known for its slogan, “God Hates Fags,” and for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepherd and others whom they identify as sinners worthy of Hell.
It has been interesting to see the responses that folks have expressed to this news on Facebook. They have ranged from prayers for his peaceful transition and for his eternal soul to one person’s very succinct, “F**k him.”
So I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about how much of our pain comes from relationships with people we love. A real bummer, right? But stick with me - there’s usually good news by the end.
I don’t think anyone is exempt. I have simply never met and gotten to know anyone, even fairly well, who has not experienced the soul-searing pain of being misunderstood, betrayed, left, or otherwise hurt by someone s/he loved deeply. We all have those stories. Some of them are real heart-breakers.