I do suspect that soon, I will get back to writing more material focused on stabilizing hope. I have those days and I have those thoughts. Deep inside me there is great strength, and it does not come from my mind or will. However, for now, I must continue to write from my brokenness; if for nothing else, I do it to preserve these dark times, in writing, for me and my children. If one day I cannot express my love for them, and care for them in whatever pain they may face, I want them to see my pain. But I want them to see it with a faith anchor that will never give.
I have spoken – so many times – of my family’s grief and loss. I sit here in my father’s house which, just seven years ago, was filled with life, plans, hopes, and dreams. Now the house is dark and painful, overrun with memories from a time taken for granted. But the pain is not something I simply have to bear; it increases and mutates every day. My sister’s death, and my mother’s paralysis and torn mind, I have spoken of many times. But God has placed in my back two knives of which I cannot speak. These have pierced deeper and darker than the other two. My silence is one of honor and hope. Honor because I must protect. Hope because I dream of healing.
I was in Frisco yesterday. I attended Stonebriar Community Church. As I walked through the halls of the church, the sights, smells, and faces reminded me of a time when I was full of life. I knew so much then. I was so strong. I was a pastor to many and a shepherd with a staff. I came to the aid of those who were broken. I guided and directed their recovery. I placed balm on their hearts’ wounds. My strength was their strength. My hopes became their hopes. They would not drown while they were in my care.
I moved to Oklahoma to help those in my family who were suffering from my sister’s death. I crossed the Red River with great sadness and urgency. Kristie, Lindsey, and my dad needed me. My mother needed me. It was time for me to let go of the hands of so many I loved to grasp the hands of a drowning few. I made it two years before the weight, tied so securely around their ankles, snaked its way around mine as well. I began to sink with them. As they gasped for breath, so did I. As they lost sight of the future, so did I. As they hung on to life, so did I. I broke with them. Now we spend our time resuscitating each other.
Yet I say with as much certainty as I can muster, I believe in Christ. Today, I am more convicted of the truthfulness of what he did for me than at any other time in my life. I cling closer to him than I ever have. And my clinging is not for some pragmatic gain. I have little hope of relief in this present life. I suppose this is good (or so I am told by that big book I read all the time).
That Jesus fellow. . . . Boy, he works in ways I don’t get. He makes me tired. He is so confusing. But I have nowhere else to go. He is the only one that has the answers. He is the only one who laid himself bare on that cross for me. He loves me. Me. Some other old guy named Paul says that Jesus loved me and gave himself up for me. Me! For me! That’s crazy stuff.
Someone asked me a few days ago if I was mad at God. My wife asked me again tonight, “Why aren’t you mad at him?” I suppose I am. In fact, I yelled at him pretty good while sitting in the darkest room of this house earlier. But I am not really mad at him for the individual circumstances of my life. I am not mad at him about my sister or my mother. And I am not mad at him about the two other untouchables. So why am I mad? Maybe this is really weird, but I am mad that he has not come back yet. I am tired of him taking so long. I am tired of this world (including myself) failing to give the belief, glory, and honor that is due him. “Why are you taking so long! I am tired of the unbelief.” Ever since the fathers fell asleep, things have remained pretty much the same. No change. No sign of your coming. No, “It’s getting close!” or, “Just wait one more year.” Christ, you left two thousand years go. Two thousand years! What are you waiting on? Why not come with times of refreshing? We are groaning down here. We are struggling with our belief. We need to see you. Do you take office visits?
Well, it’s late and I should not be writing.