life, unraveled…

“Life has come unraveled, but I’m trusting the ‘Master Weaver’ with the frays of life… at least I’m TRYING to trust Him.”

These words I penned just the other day, however they reflect many chapters of change that I’ve experienced through several years of my life. Lately it seems I’m learning to resist change less, and embrace the opportunity for growth more. I’m beginning to realize that change (both positive & negative) represents “movement”, which in turn reflects “life, healing & hope”. I’ve caught glimpses of such hope & healing since my wife Dianne died two-years ago; learning to “continue on” with life, knowing that it’ll never be the same, but also knowing that I will adjust to the constant changes.

unraveling

Recently my friend and pastor Jim Kallam shared his insight into what it means to “struggle well” as a Christian. He noted that many of us work harder to avoid “life unraveled”, instead of seeing where God is working in our lives.

“Life is a love story, not a detective novel…In this love story there are twists and turns and ups and downs. Very few of us look to engage in the struggle. Instead, we look to numb the pain to get out of the struggle.”                                                                                                                                                                                                            –Jim Kallam

 

As I open my heart to God’s love story for my life, I am growing in a greater love and dependence on Him “no matter what”, which is a scary proposition. I don’t particularly like the “no matter what” seasons of my life, filled with uncertainty and struggle. But I KNOW that those uncertainties and struggles are bearable if I truly believe what I proclaim about my God; that He is trustworthy — He is faithful — He is good — and SO MUCH MORE! My stability doesn’t rest on MY ability, but on HIS alone. “Lord, help me to truly rely on You; and help my unbelief when it wavers.”

Lately it seems I’m learning to resist change less, and embrace the opportunity for growth more.

Another thing I’m learning, is to be THANKFUL in the midst of “life unraveled”, even when it means I may feel unsettled with the way life seems to be turning out. One of the primary reasons I attribute to this heart attitude is God’s faithfulness, love and character. Even if life comes apart at the seams, I know I can rest in His care with a heart of gratitude. Is this “easy to do?…NO! But it’s something I’m learning to do as I continue to move forward with life.

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Reflections of an Aching Heart

It’s been 11-months since my wife Dianne passed away. The tears have recently given way to bouts of heart-aching sobs that reflect a deep yearning for the way things ought to be. This longing seems more pronounced as I think of where we were just a year ago. In January 2014 we were already aware that the cancer, that had been held at bay for over two years, would most likely take Dianne’s life; however on February 20th we were given more specific news that left us completely numb, hearing that “There is nothing more we can do”, and that the tumors were not only still present, but were growing rapidly as pancreatic cancer often does. Reading our journal from this time last year brought back a flood of emotions, especially in light of knowing now that we’d have about 1-month left before Dianne would take her last breath.

As I approach the 1-year anniversary of Dianne’s death on March 24th, I pray that I will continue to cherish the memories that we made throughout the years…that I will continue to cultivate hope in the depths of grief….that I will continue to to trust God with a thankful heart.

“The tears have recently given way to bouts of heart-aching sobs that reflect a deep yearning for the way things ought to be.” 

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In light of this, I’m also sharing words that I penned 1-year ago as Dianne and I sat by the fire in our den. It seems that many of the issues we wrestled with back then are similar in nature to issues I wrestle with today, and serve as a good reminder of where I find my strength when facing hard times.

Thank you for continued love, prayer and support.

Mark

****

“Ramblings” of the Heart — Feb 24, 2014 

There is so much that Dianne and I could share and/or want to share that it makes it hard to share anything… So, I’m just going to try to share a couple things that are currently on my heart/mind while I sit quietly with a cup of coffee by the fire. *(incidentally, the picture I posted with this journal entry reflects where I am most mornings; sitting in our den where Dianne tries to sleep. The den has a bay window facing our backyard where Di and I enjoy watching birds throughout the day.)

The first thing that comes to mind is a discussion Dianne and I had yesterday morning after reading a devotional from ‘Jesus Calling’. The author used passages from Psalm 89 & Hebrews 12 to warn about the danger of “feeling sorry for yourself” (a place where Di and I find ourselves vulnerable lately):
     “BE ON GUARD against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face. Don’t even go near the edge of the pit. Its edges crumble easily, and before you know it, you are on the way down. It is ever so much harder to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it. That is why I tell you to be on guard.
     There are several ways to protect yourself from self-pity. When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me, it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself. Also, the closer you live to Me, the more distance there is between you and the pit. Live in the Light of My Presence by fixing your eyes on Me. Then you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you, without stumbling or falling.” (Feb 23 – Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)
This reminder to keep our eyes on Jesus and continue to trust God is SO needed right now. I’m sure you can imagine the “hard discussions” that have come up (or need to be talked about) as we face the inevitable. We could choose to simply ignore these issues and pretend that death is not on the horizon, but we choose to live life knowing the reality of a broken world that has yet to be made right. Dianne and I have always tried to face reality, as hard as it has been to face. The HARD thing about doing that is not becoming FOCUSED on those hard realities…which is SO easy to do and usually ends up in “feeling sorry for myself”. As a family we’ve been fortunate to have others come alongside us during those hard times in life and help balance our focus, reminding us of a God who never changes. The same has been true during the last 30+ months that we’ve faced the hard reality of Dianne’s battle with pancreatic cancer, however keeping a “balance” is still hard to do. With that in mind we cherish your continued thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement!

***

*taken from CaringBridge, February 24, 2014   http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dinemitz/journal/view/id/530b4cfcac7ee949319a3807

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Faith in the Face of Fear

Aching with mixed feelings this morning, echoing the thoughts of a Steven Curtis Chapman song that “in spite of all the questions and pain, I will trust You God!”. These yearnings are nothing new…in fact Dianne and I experienced a day two years ago that is etched in my heart and mind as a day that was wonderfully memorable, terribly difficult, yet incredibly significant in our journey of faith.

It was a beautiful, autumn day, October 2012, when Dianne and I took a short trip across town to Treehouse Vineyards for a wine tour. Di was always on the lookout for “deals” and had bought this for us as a special “day trip”. It was a small vineyard and not too many people on the property, so we were really able to relax and enjoy some peaceful time together, walking the property, taking pictures and sharing life. *(Dianne was even willing to pretend to “whine” for a goofy picture I took next to a banner).

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Our drive back home that afternoon was also leisurely, taking back roads through the countryside, enjoying the clear skies and the change of season. Partway home we got a phone call from Dianne’s oncologist with results from a recent biopsy. Though Di was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2011, she had been officially “in remission” since April 2012. Now, just 6-months later, we were getting news that the cancer had returned in a metastatic tumor in her neck. I don’t recall everything that was said, but I do remember pulling off the road and getting the hard news, holding Dianne’s hand and “feeling numb”. Even though we knew there was a likelihood that the cancer could return, we didn’t live out of that possibility. However, fear was definitely lurking, waiting to pounce on our hopes and dreams. We spent the next couple of hours sitting in our car in a parking lot, crying, talking, praying…trying to process the seeming uncertainty of life.

This is one of the most indelible moments in my life – a real “tension” of faith in the face of fear. It almost feels like that day was representative of our view of life – placing our stake in the ground, saying “THIS is WHERE WE STAND, no matter WHAT comes our way!”

As we finally made our way home, after an exhausting afternoon, we were surprised to find a package in our mailbox. Dianne opened the large envelope to find a gift and letter from a friend she met months beforehand, who was also battling cancer. He had gone through several ups and downs, yet in the midst of the fluctuating circumstances he found his faith in God to be a stronghold. The gift he sent Dianne was a t-shirt that he had printed with the bible verse from II Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”, along with the phrase “NO FEAR”. Dianne and I wept, overcome by the simple reminder that God IS in control, and we don’t have to be afraid. Even though we knew this to be true, it had so much more significance to be able to accept that truth in the midst of such uncertainty. This is one of the most indelible moments in my life – a real “tension” of faith in the face of fear. It almost feels like that day was representative of our view of life – placing our stake in the ground, saying “THIS is WHERE WE STAND, no matter WHAT comes our way!”

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If there were ever a day to be described as a “roller coaster day”, this would be that day. Yet, in spite of the ups and downs of life, I continue to be reminded that the One in whom I place my trust doesn’t waver. My God is faithful and I continue to choose to trust Him.

***

If you’d like to hear DIANNE’S side of the story, and how this day impacted her, please read below what she wrote in her CaringBridge journal in October 2012.  Her testimony continues to amaze me and inspire me, as I know it has many others:

BIOPSY RESULTS:  By Dianne NemitzOct 12, 2012 

I closed my last post with a verse from Matthew that reminds me of one of my favorite childhood songs, “The wise man built his house upon the rock….” I think much of the reason I liked that song was because I liked this part, “…the rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand went SPLAT (big clap)!”

 
Today the “rains came down and the floods came up” and our windows were rattled but our house is standing firm. Sadly, we learned today that the biopsy shows pancreatic cancer cells in the lymph nodes in my neck. This is an extremely unusual metastasis, and one my oncologist (who specializes in pancreatic cancer) said he had not seen before.
 
I was very surprised to learn this and greatly disappointed as I really thought it was not going to be cancer. I am so grateful he called to let me know in spite of the fact that he didn’t want to tell me over the phone. I will have an appointment with him next week to discuss treatment options. It was just after five when he called today so I wasn’t able to schedule that yet. His initial thought is to treat me with Xeloda, the oral chemo I had during radiation as I tolerated that much better than the IV chemo. Radiation is also a possibility since it would reduce the masses in my neck and help eliminate the neck pain I’m experiencing. Please pray that we will figure out what will be the best plan of attack to stop the cancer from spreading and to get rid of the areas of concern.
 
While disappointed at this recent news, we know without a doubt that God is in control and that He loves us greatly. I’d like to share three ways we have seen that this week. The first was Thursday morning, the day I was to have the biopsy. When I was given the appointment for the biopsy, I was told I couldn’t eat for six hours prior to the procedure. Since my appointment was 1:30pm, I knew I’d have to wake up early and have a good breakfast. However, Mark and I both completely forgot about that when we went to bed Wednesday night. I woke up Thursday morning at 6:50, checked the clock and rolled over to fall back asleep as I didn’t have to get up yet. As I was beginning to drift off to sleep again, I remembered I needed to eat. Now those of you who know me well know that I’m not alert enough to think about anything that early in the morning. I know it was God reminding me. My dear hubby got up and made breakfast and served it to me in bed. After I finished eating, I crawled back under the covers for some more sleep, feeling incredibly loved that God was in even the seemingly unimportant details of my eating.
 
We were out today when Dr. Reza called, and it was several hours before we arrived home. While we were out we had had plenty of time to talk with each other and call the family to let them know. As we drove home my mind began to wander to other things that were impacted by this news such as my ability to work and the bills that will surely be ours before long. I honestly started feeling sorry for us and was bemoaning the fact of how we won’t be able to save money for a newer car for me like I had hoped. Then my mind turned to more practical issues such as paying property taxes. At that moment I was reminded that God provided a large sum of money we weren’t expecting (but needed) this week.
 
In my ramblings to Mark about all that was coursing through my head, he said, “The financial aspect is just another part of the uncertainty that we have been called to have as part of our lives now and is going to require trust as well.” I totally understood what he was saying but as I pulled onto our street, I said, “Can I just say that I’m already tired of uncertainty?” I was still in my little pity party in spite of those two reminders God has given me this week. As we pulled up to the house, I stopped at the mailbox so Mark could grab the mail. He held out a large manilla envelope and told me where it was from. I instantly knew what it was…..a t-shirt from friends I made at Joni & Friends Family Retreat. It wasn’t just any t-shirt….it’s one they designed when he was going through cancer treatments. It says, “NO FEAR ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’ 2 Timothy 1:7” WOW! I couldn’t wait to open it and did so as soon as I stopped the car. I cried at other points today but upon seeing the t-shirt, I just lost it…..they weren’t tears of sadness either. I was overwhelmed with God’s love and timing! My friends told me eight weeks ago they would send the shirt. They had no idea about my biopsy but God knew that I would get this news today and He made sure I got His encouragement to have NO FEAR at the moment I needed it most!
CaringBridge –  By Dianne Nemitz — Oct 12, 2012 

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Consolation from the Past

Most people that sympathize, do so by hearing what you’re going through, THEN sharing a similar experience that they’ve had. Today I read something that was shared 4-years ago, helping me to know that I’m not alone in my season of grief. 

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I use a smartphone app called “timehop” to remind me what I’ve posted on social media in years past. A couple days ago I was directed to 2010 when my wife, Dianne, was taking a 14-week intensive sign-language residency in Utah. I had posted a link to her blog, where she was journaling her experiences while away from home. When I read it, I was amazed to see how she was experiencing similar emotions that I’m having (sadness, loneliness, irritability) while being separated from those she loved. Needless to say I’ve ALSO experienced bouts of sadness, loneliness, irritability, as well as many other emotions since Dianne passed away 5-months ago. Many times I wonder if my spectrum of grief is normal, or if Dianne would grieve similarly if she were in my shoes. In reading her blog from September 2010 I was touched to know that she could sympathize with me on some level…even after only being apart for a relatively short time:

RESIDENCY REFLECTIONS – Dianne Nemitz (September 7, 2010):

“Well, today has definitely been one of those roller coaster days! Class started at 10, instead of 8 or 9, so that was nice. We did some interpreting to other interns that went pretty well. I had a nice lunch out on my deck again. Then this afternoon we used the VPs (video phones) to make some mock business calls. I got to call Mark and talk to him through an interpreter (another intern) as if I was a deaf caller asking about some home repairs I needed done. Then I got to be the interpreter for a couple of calls. It was TONS of fun!
I did homework, had dinner (yes, on the deck again but this time needing a sweatshirt!). But I started feeling down…..the homework I did before dinner was a comparison of my ASL to English interpreting to a very accurate interpretation. I realized I made more mistakes than I knew when I was interpreting, so that was disappointing. Then I really started missing my family. I quietly shed a few tears as I thought about how much I wanted to see them and to be home. I’ve never gone 11 weeks without seeing Amanda or Clay before and I have three to go! I do miss Mark and Brad but have seen them more recently.

I was also easily irritated tonight….I’m usually pretty patient but everything was driving me crazy…..the people in the apartment above us sounded like elephants running up and down the hall and roommates on the phone talking loudly made it difficult to concentrate on my analysis. I finally finished my analyses and realized I didn’t do as badly as I thought earlier.

So as I head to bed, I’m feeling more normal…..yeah, I know that’s a scary thought! Tomorrow is a new day and one day closer to being home! Don’t get me wrong — I’m so thankful for this opportunity and I know it’s where I’m supposed to be but some days it feels like torture to be away from my family this long!

Prayer requests:
Realistic perspective of my skills
Wisdom to know how to use my final weeks to prepare for the NIC
Comfort for my loneliness
Continued health — my right wrist has been popping almost like a knuckle and feels a little irritated
Spiritual growth and ability to reflect Jesus”

 
– Dianne
***
What a consolation to be encouraged by something written years ago, by the very one whom I miss deeply. I’m grateful for the years, months, weeks, days and moments we did have together, as well as the hope of eternity together someday with our Savior. Trusting that until that day arrives, God will continue to comfort, strengthen and use me for His glory.
 
 

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a “No-Brainer” decision

Decisions, decisions…made that much harder by not having my bride & best-friend by my side. Lately it seems that my “to-do lists” have grown exponentially, causing me to feel paralyzed at times when trying to make even the simplest decision. Such was the case this past weekend. I had worked my day job, and then had to decide what I would “do” with the few hours in the afternoon before dinner. I had it boiled down to two choices: (1) stay home and do some much overdue cleaning; or (2) attend our annual church baptism. ???
 

my decision could be called a “No-Brainer”… which makes me wonder if I need to make more choices that follow my HEART instead of just my head? 

 At the time it seemed like a very difficult decision, weighing factors of household obligation, guilt for not “keeping up with things”, emotional concern about attending a function that Dianne and I had attended together last August, desire to support my church family, concern over attending another event “alone”, etc. I was leaning towards attending the event, but also was concerned about my heart motivation; “Was I just attending this because it’s something Dianne and I did together?”;  “Will I be able to join in worship as I’m reminded of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection as fellow believers are baptized?” This same weekend we had a communion service at church, which challenges me with similar questions; knowing that Dianne and I shared our faith and regular worship, including communion and baptism services.
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Well, I ended up attending the baptism, at first wrestling with issues of loneliness and longing for Dianne to be there with me. As I enjoyed the fellowship of other Christians, friends and church family members, I was both encouraged and consoled. Our baptism service is held outdoors at the home of one of our church family. In this beautiful setting we are led in songs of worship before and after the baptism, which helps focus my heart on where it needs to be. Members of our pastoral staff took turns baptizing over 2-dozen believers, each of whom had chosen a passage of scripture to be read before they publicly professed their faith in Jesus. I was moved to tears on several occasions, seeing both young and old proclaim with joy that they have placed their faith in the completed work of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection; a hope I also share. My heart was encouraged and I was reminded again that I serve a faithful God.

As I left, I wondered why it was so hard to choose between attending this event or staying home to clean? In talking to a couple of people I trust, they reminded me of the story from the Bible about sisters Mary & Martha, who struggled with similar choices. Martha was “busy”, choosing housework and anxiety, while Mary chose to worship at Jesus’ feet. Jesus affirmed Mary’s choice (Luke 10). In retrospect my decision could be called a “No-Brainer”…which makes me wonder if I need to make more choices that follow my HEART instead of just my head? Maybe then I can be more open to love myself and others better, and not miss out on precious opportunities like the one I attended this weekend.

 

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Live in the Present!

Many people have asked how Dianne and I  were able to handle her terminal illness as well as we did. I try to explain how we would take turns “leaning on each other” when one of us was strong while the other one had a bad day. I try to capture the way we faced each day according to Proverbs 31:25, “…laughing without fear of the future.”. I also try to convey the faith that we clung to , knowing that God was ABLE to heal Dianne’s cancer, continuing to trust Him even if he didn’t…

But as I sit, pondering what helped us handle imminent death as we did, I think much can be attributed to the fact that:

  • We REMEMBERED the PAST…

  • We CONSIDERED the FUTURE…

  • We LIVED in the PRESENT.

I often told Dianne “I love you!”, a statement in the PRESENT tense. Not bemoaning times gone by, or worrying about what might be in days to come, but enjoying the moment we have right now!

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a Roller-coaster “low”

Working through grief has been compared to riding a roller-coaster, to which the valleys are often summarized as: “I’m having a rough time right now.” Well, this morning I was “having a rough time” and decided to journal some of my thoughts. Be mindful that the following is only reflective of a fragment of my journey, of which there are also many “peaks”. So, if you’re willing to sit with me for a few minutes of my coaster ride, then buckle up…

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“…as I continue to move through life with an unfamiliar hollowness, the SILENCE seems to echo loudly, and the intense pang of loneliness grows more intense.”

I am hurting deeplyimmensely lonely… much of this is seemingly due to “delayed or absent responses” from others.
On first observation it may seem that I’m just being “overly sensitive” to my high expectation that others reply more “timely”, or in a manner that seems reasonable to me — however, in the absence of my bride Dianne, my life partner, my best friend and one with whom I shared most all of life with, there is an ominous void left to fill.

Sending text messages and waiting hours to get a reply (if any)…making phone calls and leaving a voicemail which may or may not illicit a return call…meeting with others where conversations accentuate the feeling that “Nothing would be missed if I weren’t here right now.”…all this, and more, contribute to these feelings. Not to say that others aren’t “trying” or aren’t “doing” what comes natural in most situations, but as I continue to move through life with an unfamiliar hollowness, the SILENCE seems to echo loudly, and the intense pang of loneliness grows more intense.

“…in a sense I’m also thankful for this “season of pain” that allows me to understand my deeper need for God and His comfort.”

Being “around” people doesn’t guarantee that I won’t feel “alone“…in fact some of the deepest times of loneliness is WHEN I’m around others! I’m acutely aware of the lack of Dianne’s presence, even when around friends and family — even in my own home. This feeling of “solitude” can be SO sensitive at times, that even well-meaning whispers between others can feel like sharp knives piercing an already aching wound. Being in crowds of unknown people — whether at the airport, the ball park, or shopping mall — is also extremely hard. The spell of loneliness is occasionally broken by a meaningful smile, or intentional eye-contact. It’s amazing how a glancing look, or even a gentle touch from a total stranger can soothe the hurting soul. I’ve experienced a few such “happenstance interactions” over the past few weeks and sometimes wonder if God is using angels in my midst to minister to me? Maybe He’s simply using people in my path to meet deep needs? I realize He has made me extra sensitive to recognize that whatever the means of encouragement, that the SOURCE is His loving hand. Overall, I’m grateful for the comfort…and in a sense I’m also thankful for this “season of pain” that allows me to understand my deeper need for God and His comfort…even when the expected response seems absent or delayed.

 

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Guarded Interaction

I’ve found myself “stifling” certain aspects of my personality over the past few months, unsure of how I’ll respond to the resulting interaction. This is especially true when it comes to “humorous quips and puns”, something I’ve done most of my life. Engaging people with “humor” naturally evokes a response from others (groans, rolled eyes, more puns, hopefully mutual enjoyment), however since Dianne’s death, my emotions have been so unpredictable that I may feel completely jovial at one point…moments later needing a shoulder to sob into.

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With all that said, I “let my guard down” yesterday. I was shopping in a Family Dollar type store and came down the aisle that had electronics. I spotted a ridiculously oversize TV remote on the shelf. I picked up the remote and turned to an employee, who was stocking merchandise nearby, and asked (with a deadpan face), “Do you have any LARGER remotes?” She was the perfect audience – responding with a look of stunned disbelief that the GIANT remote was somehow “too small” for someone… Then I smiled, put the remote back on the shelf, and turned to walk away. As I left, she began laughing out loud, probably somewhat relieved that I wasn’t as crazy as I looked. The simple interaction brought a smile, laughter and a glimpse of joy to both of our days.

my emotions have been so unpredictable that I may feel completely jovial at one point…moments later needing a shoulder to sob into.

A couple minutes later, as I stood in line at the store register, feelings of grief began to creep back in…and I “sighed”. Apparently it was quite a *S I G H*, because the two people in front of me quickly turned to see what was the matter? (you’d have thought I had dropped a tray of dishes!) I guess I not only “wear my heart on my sleeve”, but also “announce my inward turmoil with my breath”.

Both of those moments of interaction yesterday gave me a glimpse of the rollercoaster that I’m apparently still riding, and may be for some time to come. Hopefully these moments will also give you a peek into my life and help you to know a bit of where I am. Thanks for continuing to pray, encourage, interact, listen and BE there for me. It all means so much!

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Empathetic Music

About a month ago I attended a “house concert” with Eric Peters. I was feeling “shaky” and unsure of myself emotionally – kinda like the first day at college without knowing anyone else…excited, but mostly afraid of my own emotions. A friend of mine, who had lost his own wife to cancer just over three years ago, had posted about the concert on facebook, so I was also anticipating being able to touch base with someone else who was further along in their journey of loss.

Eric Peters - house concert

Eric Peters – house concert

I did end up enjoying the concert immensely! It’s amazing how music that’s been formed from personal experience can touch the heart. I also was able to speak to my friend, who happened to mention another artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, whose album Beauty Will Rise had ministered to him in the weeks after his wife died. That album was forged in the wake of personal tragedy as well.

Being able to have someone else not only sympathize, but empathize, really means a lot. At this point that empathy is coming in small doses of happenstance meetings, random phone calls and songs that meet me where I am.

As soon as I was able, I found a copy of the CD, Beauty Will Rise, online and ordered it. Yesterday I got it in the mail and have only been able to listen to the first few songs (Heaven Is The Face, Beauty Will Rise, SEE) but it’s already connecting with my heart in ways that I’ve been aching and hoping for. Being able to have someone else not only sympathize, but empathize, really means a lot. At this point that empathy is coming in small doses of happenstance meetings, random phone calls and songs that meet me where I am.

Thanks for bearing with my random thoughts of gratitude. I hope you’ll also find something that connects with where you are today!
beautywillrise

Right now all I can taste are bitter tears
And right now all I can see are clouds of sorrow
But from the other side of all this pain
Is that you I hear, laughing loud and calling out to me?

Saying “See, it’s everything you said that it would be,
And even better than you would believe.
And I’m counting down the days until you’re here with me,
And finally, you’ll see.”

But right now, all I can say is “Lord, how long
Before you come and take away this aching?”
This night of weeping seems to have no end.
But when the morning light breaks through,
We’ll open up our eyes and we will see

It’s everything that He said that it would be
And even better than we would believe
And he’s counting down the days ’til He says “Come with me.”
And finally he’ll wipe every tear from our eyes
And make everything new, just like he promised
Wait and see, just wait and see, wait and see

And I’m counting down the days until I see
It’s everything He said that it would be
And even better than we would believe
And I’m counting down the days ’til He says, “Come with me.”
And finally, we’ll see. We will see.

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, the Lord is good
The Lord is good. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good
The Lord is good.

*(SEE, from Beauty Will Rise, Steven Curtis Chapman)

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Questions?

I’m a fan of the “rhetorical question” — something that doesn’t require a response, but usually invokes deeper thought and consideration of something being asked. For those that know me, I present a LOT of those types of questions. In fact, my kids recently pointed out that I tend to “process externally”…to which I responded by verbally evaluating whether or not I actually did that, thus proving their point! It seems that this characteristic has been magnified as I continue to grieve the recent loss of my bride, Dianne.

Therein lies the crux of the issue with the way I process — Dianne KNEW me well; how I thought, how I struggled, and was able to recognize my many questions that didn’t need anything more than a willing ear to hear what I was thinking through. Many times (my journal & blogs included) I will present a query, only to “sit with it” for a while…sometimes a LONG while, wrestling slowly with a thought or an idea, seeing if there is something God is doing in my life or the lives of those I touch.

I’m grateful that God has brought individuals into my life that allow me the freedom to “think out loud” without trying to answer my queries, or trying to find a solution to the issues I’m working through. Some people have the ability to “touch base” with no overt expectations, assumptions or presumptions…just a willingness to listen and allow me to feel cared for and loved.

I almost hate to share these thoughts, as honest as they may be, for fear that I’ll cause people to avoid me, or “walk on eggshells” around me.

I know that I can’t control how people respond to me, and also recognize that there are usually good intentions with most people’s interactions with me…but that doesn’t alter the way I feel lately, much of which is colored by the nature of the mourning process.

Which leads me to another complex issue I’m battling, the question most often asked of me over the past two months…

“How are you doing?”

This question is the hardest one for me to answer, and usually one that I don’t want to be asked. HOWEVER, just to be confusing, that same question is one that I wish more people would ask me! It’s a paradox similar to feeling lonely, but not wanting to be around anyone else. This confusion doesn’t help with the feelings of isolation, which I’m told is also normal for those who are grieving.

  • So what do I do?

  • What do I want?

  • What do I expect from you?

  • Are these just more rhetorical questions?

  • Will you risk entering the chaos?

query

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