Surfing or Drowning –
I just finished reading an article from seven years ago today about a father and son who were killed by a drunk driver. The mom shared it on social media and the heartache is still present and the wound raw. I can’t imagine the pain. I knew the father a little. He was in our church’s youth group. He was a few years older than me but always seemed cool. He was an athlete. He ran, biked, swam, and surfed. The morning dad and son were killed they were training for a triathlon. The father was named after his father and the son carried on the tradition. He was the III.
How do you have hope in the midst of such loss? How do you not drown in sorrow? How do you not get lost in such darkness? I don’t think there’s an easy answer. Quips and quotes don’t begin to address the brokenness and reveal our lack of intimacy with death. We do everything we can to avoid it. Most of us try to prolong our lives by any means necessary. When death finally does come we are quick to make the arrangements, organize a memorial or funeral service and push past it as fast as possible. But even then, death finds a way to corner us, trap us, confront us. After the hustle and bustle of meals, flowers, sympathy cards, and services we find ourselves alone when death, misery, mourning, comes calling.
Experts tell us that when we are caught in a riptide to not fight the current or it will surely drown its victim. Let it grab you and then slowly, moving parallel to the shore, slip from its grip. I think this is how we deal with the loss of those we love. There’s no escaping and fighting and refusing to acknowledge its power end in certain defeat. To allow it take hold, scare us, shake our faith, sweep our “normal” life away, but not giving up is the key. Slowly our strength returns, we regain our bearings, we slip from its grip, rise above the waters and live.
It’s been raining all day, since yesterday. Non-stop dripping, dropping, sometimes a mist others times buckets, of precipitation. It’s muddy, cold, windy…yucky.
Out in my workshop there is an area where the roof dips and water likes to gather. Most days it’s not a problem but with all the rain we’ve had the last couple of days, and forecasted for the next couple, it’s going to become an issue. I have buckets at the ready, the location cleared of anything water could damage and now its a waiting game to see if the puddle on the plastic roof gets big and full enough to make its way into the workshop.
In life its the opposite. Anger, anxiety, stress, despair, pain, hopelessness, pool inside of us as the storms of life batter and beat us. We do our best to be prepared for the worst but sometimes reality supersedes our greatest fears and dreaded expectations.
Sooner or later what the storms bring into our life have to come out. Emotions in themselves are not negative or positive. It is what we do with them, how we react to them, ways that may inflict pain upon ourselves or others that is good or bad. When the rain of life falls and keeps falling, when we are drowning in stress, rage, disbelief and can’t see an end to the chaos we run the danger of pulling those who would help us under the waves.
Wisdom reminds us how important it is to deal with our feelings, draining away the unpredictability and hardships life can drop upon us. Knowing how to deal with chaos and catastrophes may just save us and those we love.