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.
Enemy Within –
I had a meeting with my talk therapist yesterday. It went well. She is professional, a good listener and has a way of pointing out things I miss in life experiences. We were talking about a certain subject, one I struggle with mightily at times, and asked a question that made me think in a completely different way. She didn’t say; “Think this way.” Like a good therapist should do, she allowed me to look inside and find my way out of dark corners.
As someone with a Chronic Severe Depression disorder the battle with ruminating thoughts, anger, doubt, confusion, and fear cover my mind, emotions, and spirit like a wet blanket. Some days I can shake the blanket off of me, other days it’s like a chill in my bones and I can’t get warm. Therapy helps remind me that many of the feelings, and non-feelings, which come with depression may not be gotten rid of completely but a new thought, a burst of light, a letting go of some of the negative, can make room for hope and a willingness to continue the journey.
All that’s Left –
A nasty cold front moved through our area last night and it is cold outside today! The temps haven’t ventured out of the 20’s with a stiff wind and layer of ice covering the places rain fell as the temperatures plummeted.
As the arctic blast forced its way through Tennessee mighty winds shook the big Oak tree just outside our front door. For several hours we’d hear crashes on the tin covering our front porch or in the yard. Each time we’d grab the flashlight, peek outside and see another dead limb had fallen. Our Oak tree for all its beauty, has many branches, big and small, no longer alive that need to come down and the storm, for all its ferocity, did a good job at shaking these limbs from their place among the live ones.
As I stood outside today, letting the dog run, sniff and explore the patches of ice that litters the ground, I thought about life and the storms we face. Most often we do not welcome storms, we do not ask to be shaken, blown back and forth. We like stillness, security and the sense our lives are not in danger of being knocked over. However, if we are self-aware we also recognize that many times it takes these unwanted storms to rid us of the dead, unneeded things of life. The winds may threaten to topple us but they also dislodge places in which we’re stuck.
All that’s left from the storm last night is picking up the branches in the yard. May it also be this way in our lives.