Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Not So Great A Beginning To 2008

The longer I live, and the longer I serve in a ministry position where there is always pain and heartache and someone in need, it should not come as a surprise that it is bound to happen more close to home at some point.

It's not the way any of my family wanted the new year to begin, but the phone call came this morning around 10:30am, and the day has been brutal to say the least. My sweet wife's father, Byron passed away this morning as his sweet wife, Carolyn was taking him to see the doctor because he had not felt well these past few days due to what we thought was a simple cold.

I spoke with a friend on New Years Eve whose mom passed away a few days ago, and it seemed like similar stories - things seemed so normal, then.......they're gone. They are GONE - no more time with them - no more words to be exchanged - no more hugs - no more pats on the back - no more hurts to see my wife, my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law hurt like this.

As if that was not enough, I had to take my 18-year-old to juvenile traffic court this afternoon because of a speeding ticket he received a month ago when he was still 17. The "court experience" began with a high school senior reading aloud an essay he wrote about dying in a car crash and what it was like for his parents to identify his body because he chose to drive 93 mph in a 70 mph zone.

Having just come from sitting in the ER with the body of my "just deceased" father-in-law, the reading of that essay was sobering and even more painful.

So, 2008 is off to a not so great beginning. As my beautiful wife said to me in the midst of her sometimes uncontrollable sobbing this morning, "I don't know how people with no faith deal with something like this"........she is so right - I don't know how they deal with it, but it is a powerful reminder that as long as there are people out there who don't believe in the Jesus we believe in, then we continue to do whatever we have to do to love these people, and introduce them to this Jesus who in times like today reveals Himself in ways never before imagined to help heal hurt and pain that is so deep words fall short in describing it.

Thank you, Byron for your constant words of encouragement, your love of life, your faith, your laugh, and your example of how to live a life of significance for the will be missed, and I know you are already enjoying your eternity!

(I love this photo because it was captured following a most incredible evening at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center last spring when we enjoyed an evening of hymns with our incredible symphony and several special guests artists - Byron loved that evening - he told me that often - it was a memory that will remain with me forever.....)