I miss writing. Life tends to get so busy, and I find myself not able to keep up with things like this blog, as much as I wish otherwise. It's not intentional neglect. It's all competing priorities, and real life is at the top. My thoughts are all over the place tonight.
With Election Day coming tomorrow, and school cancelled for the day, I took my wonderful daughter to her grandparent's to stay overnight, so I can work tomorrow. After enjoying a nice dinner at Urban Barbecue, I said goodbye and headed for home.
But before that, I decided to get lost for a little while. It was a beautiful evening, and the top was down. I had some great tunes playing, and I was surrounded by back roads. Feeling a little bit melancholy, which is typical when I'm by myself, I took off and found myself...well, a little lost. It was not a sense of direction issue, though. I tend to have a very good sense of direction, which is connected to my love of maps and a desire to travel, to be on the road. This feeling of being lost is more connected to an event from my past.
Twelve years ago, on April 19, 2004, my life changed forever. While every moment of life has the potential to be life changing, there are specific kinds of events that impact us like no others. Life and death events.
On that day, my wife died. She collapsed right in front of me, while on an evening stroll with our at the time 5-month old daughter, from a massive heart attack. I watched her body die in that moment, though at the time I didn't know she was gone. In fact, I was convinced that she would be okay. It wasn't until we arrived at the hospital that I was told she was gone, and that was when reality hit and the tears came. And I've been grieving this loss ever since...the loss of my wife, life partner, best friend, and mother of my daughter.
So, for twelve years, I've been finding my way. Life goes on. And while there are moments of loneliness and sadness, and being lost, I'm constantly in awe of the saving grace of God. My wife was a believer, and I know she is spending eternity with our Father, and I know I'll see her again. Even after she was gone, she was helping realize this fact. She had written a verse on a piece of paper that I found months later, and it spoke to me like nothing else:
1 Peter 5:10 - "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast."
Good night, everyone.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Anniversaries create wonderful memories and signify times of celebration...most of the time. Today is an anniversary that is the worst kind: twelve years ago today I lost my wife. It is said that time heals all wounds, and that is true in a lot of ways. But Teresa's death has shattered me to the depths of my soul, and I continue to struggle every year on this date, April 19.
It had been a beautiful day, and we were out walking around the school where Teresa taught 9th grade English and Public Speaking. She had taken the year off following the birth of our daughter, Melody, in November. Suddenly, Teresa collapsed. She had suffered a heart attack, caused by an enlarged heart and mitral valve prolapse. Paramedics arrived and worked on her, and they took her to Howard County General, where she was pronounced dead. I was a widower at the age of 34, with a 5-month old daughter, after less than five years of marriage. And I was devastated.
While my faith in Christ remains strong, I struggle so much with an at times overwhelming grief. You never recover from devastating loss. Instead it becomes a part of who you are.
I know Teresa, as a Christ-follower, is experiencing eternity, and I will see her again. But life goes on here on Planet Earth, and I've chosen to continue living in hope despite my struggles.
1 Peter 5:10 - "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
Thank you, Lord, for your care and presence in our lives. Thank you for your grace and comfort. Thank you for memories, both bad and great. And thank you for giving us such a wonderful life together, despite how short it was.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
As I mentioned previously, a lack of blog posts means I'm on the road traveling. It might also be a pre-trib rapture...but that's just wishful thinking right at the moment. Maybe soon, maybe later, but only He knows for sure...
We have been out of town quite a bit lately, so this week was a catch-our-breath moment of rest and relaxation. I know that will change at any moment.
We had just returned from a week of Spring Breaking when we headed north again for the Grace Community Church Youth Spring Retreat! My daughter Melody went on her first retreat in October, and I went along to serve on the work crew, which prepared and served the food all weekend to over 400 youth and adults. Melody had a blast, and while I had to work, it was an extremely rewarding and fulfilling weekend. We were anxious to do it all again.
The Spring retreat was even better, despite rain and freezing temperatures. I wish the sleeping accommodations were better (they are lousy...the bunks are plywood with a mattress, and are made for people much shorter than my 6'2"), but otherwise, it's a nice place.
The only other negative is that I got sick right before we left. I felt well enough to make trip, but I think I spent more time in the bathroom and in bed (though not resting...) than doing actual work. I felt terrible. And I felt terrible about not being able to assist as much as what was needed. Bruce, thanks for praying over me. And, Gary, I think you were more concerned about me than I was about you! Elizabeth, thanks for going easy on me. We have such a wonderful work crew!
It was an exhausting weekend in a lot of ways, but the impact this youth program and youth leaders have on the kids makes it so worthwhile, and I'm so thankful for the energy and effort they put into this weekend. Melody had a memorable time.
Have a great evening, everyone!
Sunday, April 3, 2016
We had a beautiful sky last evening, as indicated by this wonderful picture my daughter took (above). We had just arrived at home after a week of road tripping and riding roller coasters, and while we saw much of God's beautiful handiwork on the road in the Great Smoky Mountains, there was this sky right here at home, reminding us that we don't have to go very far to be reminded of God's beauty. So what did we do last night? We went to the drive-in, and that beautiful sky turned darkly spectacular in a much different way...
It was a pretty great lineup of entertainment last night at the ol' Bengies Drive-in, and we were excited to see both movies. The place was extremely crowded, and rightly so with two wonderful movies and THAT sky!
However, after sitting thru ZOOTOPIA, the sky clouded over completely, and a storm erupted unlike any I've seen in some time.
We had just returned from the snack bar during the intermission and found a downpour, and we ran back to our Jeep. There was a pickup truck filled with a gaggle of youth parked next to us, and they were hiding under a large tarp trying to stay dry. The wind was gusting hard and I watched a pizza box shoot out of the truck and run in the direction of the snack bar. Moments later, we saw a beam of light shoot out of the stars and clouds, followed by an earth shattering thunder clap that sounded like the world was in peril. That was enough to frighten the teens, and they gathered their stuff and started to leave. The wind grabbed the door, though, and it flew open and hit the side of our Jeep with enough force that I was sure it had stripped off the paint. I jumped out to see, but I was immediately pelted with hail. This was one mean storm!
Many of the great patrons of the Bengies decided to call it a night, and there was a long line of vehicles headed for the exits. It reminded me of a Terp's football game during a blowout.
Anyway, we stayed thru most of STAR WARS, and the storm had pretty much subsided by the time we decided to head for home. The wind was still howling, though, the temperature had dropped more than 20 degrees. We arrived at home at about 1:30 am, and slept like a couple of rocks. My daughter finally got up at noon.
We had a wonderful vacation, though, and we're happy to be home.
Have a great evening, everyone!