All posts tagged: death

When Sorrow Shadows Our Days

In light of recent tragedies, people are grieving on a global scale. Collectively, we are more aware today of our loved ones and of our fragility than we were yesterday or even last week. With much to hold dear and much to say in times like these, we can turn to One who knows just what to do when death stops the world in its tracks tracks.

Tin Man Heart

1961 Thanksgiving Eve an untimely tragedy left my father fatherless and you the only grandpa I ever knew.   Model airplanes on wire, Posters of cars, Hawaii. Jam jars of nails and screws. Drill press Band saw Pine planks Light bulb glow on sawdust drifts. Miniature engine parts, boxed beside piles and piles of Popular Mechanic.   1966 Chevelle. Three on the tree. Dueled exhaust. Cherry-bomb mufflers. Your apple-red beauty, polished to mirror gentle hands, oil-black and coarse.   1956 The girl from Iowa chose Spokane and you.   One daughter, a wealth of sons to pass along your lessons on the mechanics of life and love. A generation old enough to tell of your mischief and kindness. Babies too young to remember your hazel eyes, but small enough to wrap tiny fingers around your thumb.   1995 Frantic surgery. Aortic-valve. You almost died. Then, tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick a Tin Man heart.   Years and years and years, mercy-filled and overflowing. Moments of fragility, Brokenness.   Your heart clocked a lot of mileage. More than …

His Desire for You

Read Ezekiel 18:24-32 A year of loss has me musing on the brevity of life. Age and health guarantee nothing. The unhealthiest of us live forever it seems; the youngest of us die before life begins. Death is sometimes senseless. It is mysterious. Spiritual death, which is the consequence of sin, is no less mysterious and the Prophets have much to say on the topic. The exchange between God and Israel in Ezekiel 18:25 addresses spiritual death and is an uncomfortable read. Israel: The way of the Lord is not right. God: My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? Essentially, Israel deems God’s judgement unfair. They were dying for their own sins and the sins of their fathers. It must have seemed immensely unfair to suffer for someone else’s sins. After all, they were God’s chosen people. Didn’t that exempt them? Nonetheless, God pleads with Israel to turn from wickedness and walk in his way. He reveals his heart. “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone …

In the Midst of the Temporal

Read Psalm 103:13-17 When I moved from Texas to Butte, Montana, everything was different. The spring air was cold, the jagged earth elevated, and we felt lonely in that historic mining valley. Unwanted, maybe. I’d swing on that blue swing set the yellow Red Ryder truck had brought all the way from Wichita Falls and look at the sky. If I focused only on the sky, I felt like I was back home. Each time we’ve moved since, I have only to look up and feel at home. The earth and everything in it is temporal. The sunshine, the seasons, the people, the items we tow behind us, the memories we keep, and the dreams we nurture. Even the autumnal changing of the leaves is a tangible lesson in the temporal nature of our existence. Yet, the reliable changing of the seasons and the way the sun burns on through the centuries gives us a taste of constancy. Some things last longer than others. Some things outlast our own lives. Every good gift and every …

Time

T.S. Eliot’s poetic line, “April is the cruellest month,” always seemed a cruel statement to me. In my family, April is a celebratory time. It is September which is the cruelest. It is autumn which mixes “memory and desire.” Almost all the great losses of my life all begin in autumn, though I have lost in the winter, spring, and summer. Perhaps it is the dying fields and fading light which enhances sorrow experienced in autumn. Mercifully, the work of the Holy Spirit and the passage of time work together to bring perspective and healing. We can once again welcome any season with undying hope. On the anniversaries of loss, we can praise God for His infinite wisdom and mercy. See, I am doing a new thing!     Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness     and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19). Just as we cannot see the radiant blue above unstable, stormy skies, we cannot always see what God is doing through sorrow, and even …

On Grief and Genuine Prayer

Death sharpens the senses. Stars don’t sparkle; they burn. The crescent moon doesn’t arc over unnoticed; it glows, suspended in time over the sparkling dark ocean or the sleeping neighborhood. Like the moon you notice for the first time in a long time, you wish time would rewind and then suspend midair. Seventeen days ago, an emergency rattled me, and I began to pray unceasingly. I prayed while eating breakfast, while pushing the stroller, while driving to the store, and while washing dishes. I prayed in the quiet moments. I prayed in the busy moments. I prayed like my prayers were medicine. For those who also prayed, thank you. Though she slipped away from us, God is good. Though she slipped away, God taught me to pray, and for that I am grateful. I’ve never prayed unceasingly, and at just the right time, God gave me these four words: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. These four words – printed on a Bible study worksheet – revived my relationship with God. I am no stranger to “urgent …