Not all the chairs fill up every Sunday, but when you know someone who used to occupy a chair and now doesn't, it makes an empty chair stand out all that much more.
Our little community is a dichotomy--it's both large and small. We feel close when we see each other, but there's so much we don't know.
And when someone doesn't return, we think back when we last spoke to them and wonder if we had been able to see the future, what would we have done different? Would we have taken more time with them, been more interested in their well being? Would we have seen something in their eyes, in the way they spoke that showed a hint that things might not be as they seem?
The chair is only just that, a chair. It's a place for us to sit semi-comfortably for a period of time. Everywhere we go, there are chairs for us, places for us to be. When the chair is empty it means somewhere else a previously empty chair is now occupied. I hope that wherever they end up, they'll be happy.