Friday, March 31, 2006

My Week

It's Friday evening, 7:38pm and this week from hell is finally coming to an end. While the actual Viewing and Service for my father went well, it was all the shit in between that was driving me crazy! Just like many families, my family is dysfunctional. My father was married and had two sons before he married my mom and had myself and my siblings. So we had both sides of the family here including BOTH ex-wives. My father left the youngest of his children, my sister, as the executor of his will, which is just fine with me because I wouldn't want the stress, but my half-brother feels slighted. Needless to say there has just been a lot of immature fighting on both sides and then people get mad at me because I refuse to jump in. I just have had no emotional energy to waste on fighting this week.

Anyway, like I said...week from HELL!! But it's over now. The service today was great! Some of my college kids from church played and sung and they just did an outstanding job. I was able to make it through my little talking part without completely breaking down. Here's the text of what I had to say:

I read I Corinthians 13 (The Message)

It wasn'’t until Monday night, after having almost a full day to process the passing of my father, that verses 9 & 10 of this chapter really jumped out at me. Let me read just those two verses again:

9. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.
10. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

Many times we as Christians feel like we have to have definitive answers concerning every aspect of our faith leaving no room for mystery, but there is mystery and we should embrace it. Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of our faith is love, the complete and perfect love of Jesus Christ. Our present understanding of love has been warped by both society and the Church.

Throughout scripture love is the constant theme: it was in love that Adam and Eve were created, it was love that gave mankind a second chance through Noah, it was because of love that our Creator was born of flesh and it was love that ultimately nailed Jesus to the cross.

My father loved his God and he loved people. Some of my strongest memories of my dad were the times I would see him cry. I didn'’t know it at the time but those moments had a profound impact on my life in teaching me that it's ok to weep. My father may not have always expressed his love with words and while he lived here on this earth his love certainly wasn't perfect or complete. However, we can rejoice because now not only is his body complete, not only is his sickness completely gone but he now knows the complete love of our Savior and my father's love is now perfect and complete, his incompletes have been canceled out by the perfect love of Christ.

Love is not a simple concept, in fact it may be perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of our faith. Think about it, it'’s much easier to hate those that hate you, it's much easier to despise those that have a different ideology than yourself, it's much easier to declare war against those that would wish to harm you. Christ made it extremely clear that there is always a third way and that third way is the way of love. When asked to break down all of the Old Testament law into the greatest commandment Christ responded with, "Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence -- and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself."

There's the chorus of a song that sums up just how difficult love is:

'Cause love is different than you'd think.
It's never in a song or on a TV screen
And love is harder than a word
Said at the right time and everything's alright
Love is different than you think.

Until we are face to face with our Savior we will never know the complete, perfect love that Christ spoke about, but it is imperative that we do our best to live it as best as we can until that time comes.

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

I first began thinking about what I would say at my father's funeral the moment I learned he had cancer. It wasn't a morbid thing but I just didn't want to get up and spew out some sentimental b.s. because that's what you do at funerals. I admit I had issues with my father up until the day he died. These weren't issues that kept me from speaking to him, at least for not great periods of time, I didn't love him less than my other siblings. I just refuse to sugarcoat my childhood and pretend like things didn't happen.

I don't know. Maybe I am being an ass??? It wouldn't be the first time nor will it probably be the last. I do miss my dad and I loved him very much. It's still just so hard for me to think he's actually gone...that I can't just pick up a phone and actually here him bitchin' about something. :-)

I do believe he is a Christian. I believe he was way off on a lot of things and he was the type of Christian absolutelyes me absolutly crazy but he knew he was a sinner and needed the love of his Savior to rescue him from that.

Well, that's it for now. I promised myself a couple glasses of Jack & Coke tonight but I am already feeling sleepy so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2006

My Grief

This morning between 4-5am my father passed from this world into the next. It happened fast and was at least unexpected so soon. I can't really believe he's gone. I've had my moments this morning from tears to anger. In my preparation for my father's death, because I knew it would come at some point this year, I had convinced myself I wouldn't have any regrets or guilt...but damn it all because the regret and guilt hit me like a fuckin' hurricane this morning.

I spoke to my father briefly as they were putting him in the ambulance this morning. I asked him how he was and he said he was ok and that they were taking him to Sacred Heart. I assumed he was having a panic attack, he had been getting those lately so much so that the doctor had prescribed what my dad affectionatly called his "crazy pills", so from there I drove to the hospital because I knew my sister was already there waiting. I regret that I didn't tell him I loved him one last time. It wasn't a mean thing I just thought everything for the most part was ok.

This is going to be one long week.

I miss my dad.

I know now that he is in the presence of our Savior. I don't want this to be a cliche idea for me. I want to live my life this week with the full realization of this truth.


You have led me to the sadness
i have carried this pain
on a back bruised, nearly broken
i'm crying out to You

i will sing of Your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy

when death, like a gypsy
comes to steal what i love
i will still look to the heavens
i will still seek your face
but i fear You aren't listening
because there are no words
just the stillness
and the hunger
for a faith that assures

i will sing of Your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy

alleluia, alleluia
alleluia, alleluia

while we wait for rescue
with our eyes tightly shut
face to the ground using our hands
to cover the fatal cut
though the pain is an ocean
tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
higher mountains have come down

i will sing of Your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy
i will sing of Your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy
alleluia, alleluia
alleluia, alleluia

Words and music by Aaron Sands, Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Stephen Mason,and Matt Odmark (C) 2003 Innocent Smith/ASCP )adm. by The Loving Company)/Bridge Building Music, Inc. /Pogostick Music (BMI). All rights administered by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Friday, March 24, 2006

My absence

It has been over a month since my last post. I'm not sure why I haven't had the energy to sit down and write, but I haven't felt normal for the last few months. Some of it has to do with depression over my job situation but for the most part I have once again been struggling with life in general and just wanting my life to be meaningful in this F'd up world in which we live.

I fully admit I spend too much time thinking and worrying about things I have no control over and the simple thing to do would be to give it over to God but sometimes it's just not that simple.

Well, here I am again. There hasn't been one specific victorious moment but I have felt the gentle touch of my Father pushing me forward, encouraging me in a way that only He knows how.

On a sidenote I am quite impressed with my friend Jack who has taken a liking to this whole blog thing and at times has had some lively check him out. As if there is anyone really reading this drivel of mine anyways.