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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

March 20, 2017 marked a day of loss for a very good friend of ours. Her mother passed away. Less than two years ago, I lost both of my parents and so I understand how she is feeling at this moment.

We knew her mother and she was a wonderful Christian lady. There is no doubt in my mind that she is now absent from her body and present with her Lord. I know that the family is as assured of this fact as I am, but it does not take away the sorrow and loss that is being felt right now.

Sorrow and loss are feelings that we all must face because our original perfection was destroyed by our open rebellion against God. Yet God, in His mercy, chose not to leave us in our sinful state, but in His Sovereign Will, would one day restore that perfection.

Until all of creation is renewed, we will be very well acquainted with shedding tears. There is nothing wrong with expressing sorrow over lost loved ones. Jesus himself wept in the Scriptures. There are two recorded instances of Jesus crying. Once over the loss of a dear friend and the second over His beloved Jerusalem. However, Isaiah 53:3 tells us that the suffering Messiah would be “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”

Throughout the life of Christ, I believe that he saw tremendous amounts of sorrow and grief. I also believe that because of His love for us, he shed many silent tears.

We are told that time heals all things. As nice as that sounds, I do not believe that. Death is our enemy. We were created to live, not to die. I’m not even sure that time lessens our sorrow and grief over the loss of a loved one. I think it is more accurate to say that we become adjusted to live with the loss. Regardless of the years that will pass, one rogue memory brings everything back, and that feeling of loss will still be there.

First Thessalonians 4:13 is the light at the end of the very dark tunnel of sorrow. That light is hope. So yes, even as Christians we will experience sorrow and grief. Our consolation in this is that we know a day is coming where our hope will be fulfilled in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Revelation 21:4 which states “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

For now, my family grieves for our friend and her family for their loss. I pray that in the days to come, she will cling close to our Savior and be assured that one day soon, the sorrow will be gone and our age old enemy, death, will be swallowed up in Victory.

 

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I was watching some news for a bit. I felt like being nauseous, and the news is usually the best way for me to accomplish that.

The last thing I looked at was the story of the disabled man being tied up and beaten in Chicago. One news reporter mentioned that if this case is “raised” to the level of a hate crime, the four attackers could face up to 30 years in prison. Most of you have probably seen the news report but here is a link to what happened.

Chicago beating

As I watched the video, and read the report, I wondered something about hate crimes. Is not “hate” the motivator behind all crimes? People love to jump on the “No Hate” band wagon for their favored group. But is one group any more important then another? Politicians fight and babble over gun control. We can take the gun out of someone’s hand, but until the hate is taken out of the man’s heart, there will be no change. If not a gun, then some other weapon.

So we as society have decided how much hate constitutes a hate crime. And what if I disagree with the measuring rod? Does that make me a hater? Am I as guilty as the attackers in the video if I don’t agree with someone?

You are by now thinking this post ridiculous. Maybe it is. Just seems to me that it is just fine for me to hate, as long as I hate the same things you do. Just don’t let my hate leave the boundaries set by society.

But wait…what if we lived in a world with no hate, no violence, no crime, etc. Oh wait, that would be called heaven. I’m not there yet, but watching the news often makes me wish I was.

 

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It has been so long since I have logged into my own blog that I could not remember the password. That may be good for the two of you that read this, but I’m not sure yet.

Do I have a good reason for dropping out of life? Or perhaps I should ask is there ever a good reason for dropping out of life. I wish I had a good answer to that question without relying on some old and pat cliché.

The past two years have not been good. Starting with the death of my mom on July 7, 2015, a very good friend on July 18, 2015, my father-in-law on September 5, 2015, my dad on October 9, 2015 and the list continues on like that for two years.

Of course many have told me that I am depressed or wallowing in the depths of despair and need to seek out “professional” help. I do not feel depressed and I am not wallowing anywhere (outside of the occasional times I get my wheelchair stuck in the mud).

What I do feel is reflection. Even now I have a very good friend in New Zealand, from playing on line games, who is only 35 years old, laying in a hospital bed, and feels like giving up. I also have another very good friend in NYC that is scheduled for back surgery on Tuesday for spinal stenosis. So this new year is not looking much brighter then the last two years.

It is very easy to ask why…but we all know why. What I ask is “Have I done enough?” Have I been there when people need me? Have I offered a smile, held their hand, laughed with them, cried with them. Could I have done more? These are the questions that cause me to reflect as I go into 2017.

My only New Year’s resolution is that I want to be a better person for people when they need me most.

In my book, regret is a much worse feeling then depression.

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Greetings to an audience long since gone. It has been so long since I logged in here that I had to look up my login information.

I wanted to pass along some information about my youngest daughter, Ariel.

Just three more days and she will be finished with her MAT. (Masters of Art in Education) Her diligence has amazed me. I do remember being her age once upon time, but I get tired just watching everything that she does.

Her entire life is centered around serving God in whatever capacity that would be. She has always had a heart for missions and has eagerly prayed that a door would open for her where she could serve best.

Well, the door has been opened. She will be leaving in July for Mexico. There she will be teaching a classroom of 5th and 6th graders at a school belonging to New Tribes Mission. You can check out there web site at New Tribes Mission

She is currently in the process of raising support, both prayer and financial, and is busy getting out to churches, writing prayer letters, prayer cards, and many other things that I know little about. I believe her old dad is becoming technologically challenged. lol

She has also started her own blog. This blog will be her way of staying in touch with people interested in her ministry/adventures in Mexico. And yes I believe she will have plenty of adventures to share. The name of her blog is Lion Of God

I hope that you will check it out and follow it to offer her encouragement along the way. When she was young, she was terrified to not be within reaching distance of her mother. So watching her grow up into a confident young lady, who has such a passion for people, has been an amazing journey.

She leaves for Florida mid June for some training before heading off to Mexico. I personally covet your prayers and well wishes for her mission, purpose and safety. I have no doubt that she has become a Lion(ess) For God and am eager to see the fruits of her ministry.

 

 

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sunshine_through_cloudsI thought I would use the title of my blog to do a little preaching at myself. Though I must admit that wallowing in sorrow at times is much easier. 

I do not need to reiterate how difficult the past three months have been for me. At times it has felt like I was at the bottom of a very deep, dry well; and the only help I got was someone threw me a shovel. That sounds rather dramatic, but there it is. 

As I am writing this, I am in my bedroom with the door closed and the lights off. That in and of itself is nothing rare. But what is rare is that in the living room of our home I am hearing gales of laughter and giggles from a bridal shower. One of my nieces is getting married next week and my daughter, as her maid of honor, is throwing her a shower.  

Laughter, fun, refreshments, hugs, gifts, etc. Everything that stand in stark contrast to how I have felt all summer is just a few yards away from me. Is that wrong? Of course not. Is it wrong that I just now answered a call from a good friend with news that he is getting married? Of course not! I am very happy for all of them.  

Yes life has sorrow and tears, but life also has so much love and happiness. Always look for the silver lining in whatever storm you may find yourself in. So taking another dose of my own medicine….life does go on.  

James 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 

So the trials of life will seem very burdensome at times and attempt to squelch our joy. But through it all, we can take comfort that the ultimate joy of Jesus Christ in our lives will produce an unshakeable faith. 

Something that my parents would have, and did tell me over the years. I must always continue to remember and live out the biblical truths that have been passed down to me.

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IMG_1064At 12:57 AM, Friday, October 9, 2015, my dad passed into glory. Three months and two days after mom. Dad’s health was on a steady decline after mom passed away. The hospital labeled it as “Failure to Thrive”. I labeled it as a broken heart.

Over the past three months I had the joy of spending many hours with him. Albeit many of those hours were at the Emergency Room or by his bed in a hospital. Since the technological wonders of this generation do not work in hospitals (maybe for a good reason?) we got to sit and talk. Much of the talk consisted of dad grumbling that he was ready to go home. That was always a good indication that he was feeling better. So we would talk about things important to him, and the topic always centered on his eagerness for the rapture to occur so that he could once again be with mom.

He could not speak of mom without tearing up and telling everyone with a willing ear, what a wonderful woman she was. He showed everyone in the Scan0018hospital, and later at Gosnell, a small black and white photo that he had of mom. It was her graduation picture with a faded inscription on the back speaking of future plans and how much she loved him. He was so proud of mom, the love of his life, and that picture never left his wallet.12079439_498722676962734_22662963006478559_n

As the days wore on, I could hear increasing sadness in his voice, see the loneliness in his eyes, his walk turning to a shuffle and his overall decrease in health. He had been admitted in the hospital several times for pneumonia and falling. Even though we were making sure that he would eat, he was rapidly losing weight. I hired a Health Care Agency to start assisting him at home. All of us were taking turns doing his medications, housework and errands. Yet in spite of all we could do, we all knew we were losing him. One day my brother and his wife showed up at his house and found him lying on his kitchen floor. Living alone was no longer an option for him.

My wife and I found a wonderful assisted living home for him just a few miles from his own home. I talked with him about the necessity of the move. He just simply agreed and went along with everything we suggested. Once living in his new “home” he seemed content but he often told me that it was not his home. That he was tired, missed mom, and was ready to go to his final home.

IMG_1046He lived at the assisted living home for one month, and every day his health and strength continued to decline. On September 27th, Wendy and I brought him to church with us and out to eat lunch. He was very weak and slow but always happy to be with family. The next day, he went into the Emergency Room for what I thought was another case of pneumonia. Every test (and there were many) that they performed indicated nothing physically wrong with him. Though he had no strength and could no longer walk. They admitted him for the night for observation. The next day I went to the hospital and had a meeting with the social worker. She had been following his case since mom’s death, and she told me that the decline in dad’s health was severe and rapid. Failure to Thrive was the diagnosis and she told me he now was at the point of needing Hospice.

Difficult words for all of us to hear, but we all knew she was right. The only difference is that we said he was dying from a broken heart.

Gosnell Hospice Home in Scarborough was mentioned and chosen. The next day we met him by ambulance as they checked him into his private room. I cannot begin to say enough good about Gosnell Home or the loving staff. Everyone we spoke with always had the time to listen and acted like dad was their only patient.

His room was usually flooded with so many faithful family and friends. All very special moments with laughter and tears that I will forever hold very dear to my heartV9595EDE7IMG_1065

From October 2nd to his death on October 9th was without doubt the hardest week of my life. Mom’s death happened so fast that none of us hardly had time to think before it happened. This last week that I spent with dad has bitter sweet memories for me that I will carry to my own grave.

I was there every day before sunrise and left late in the evenings. Outside of stealing a catnap in my van a couple of days, I sat by his bed holding his hand. No longer able to swallow, he ceased eating and drinking and we did all we could do to keep him comfortable. He slept most of the time, but would wake to our touch, offering a small smile and a raspy hi. He told me numerous times how tired he was and that he was ready to go home.

Unable to open his once brilliant blue eyes, speak or move for the past two days, I would take a pillow, lay it on the bed by his head and I would just sit in my wheelchair, resting beside of him while holding his hand and often softly humming to him. Somewhere in his mind I hope he knew how much I loved him and was there for him.

He slipped away in the middle of the night peacefully drawing and exhaling his last breath. A man of great faith that was finally at home with his Savior and reunited with his wife. No longer with a broken heart, but singing praises to his God and King for all eternity.

Both of my parents now deceased, in earthly terms, leaves me an orphan. Yet both of my parents made sure that I would never be an orphan. They left me with the knowledge of my heavenly Father leaving me not an orphan, but a child of a King. That is the legacy that my brothers and I were left. That is the legacy that as parents, I pray that I can pass on to my children.

John 18 says “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him”

I am not an orphan. What I am is a son that was blessed with a wonderful earthly father that taught me about my heavenly father. Someday soon, I will see my parents again and be part of God’s family where we will never be separated again.

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I’m sitting here in dad’s room alone with him, and the time is precious and needed. I have sung a few hymns to him, held his hand, prayed with him and even played some fake piano to him on my iPad.

A mix of the present and the past. He is lying peacefully in bed, breathing slowly and never moves. How much longer will this be? Only God knows. This makes day four that he has had no liquids or nourishment because he can no longer swallow.

I don’t have a lot to say here at the moment, but I did want to share an old family picture that has been taken out of hiding after many years.

IMG_1063The person on the far left is my Uncle Les, now deceased. My dad is the dashingly handsome man (my words) behind him. Next is the youngest of the four brothers, my Uncle Fred. The man with the pipe is my Uncle Walt, now deceased. The young lady in front is my Aunt Ruth, then my Grandmother, Carlotta, and my Grandfather, Carl, both deceased.

Looking at this picture now, about 60 years after it was taken, my dad looks so much like his father that it is uncanny.

From that small group came 20 grandchildren, great grand children and more than I can remember or count or future generations.

Time marches on.

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