Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I haven't posted in a month.

It's been that long since my friend J.R. died.

I miss him.

I miss being able to call him on the phone and talk for hours; I miss getting together for coffee or breakfast. Everywhere I look around me I see reminders of him. Even writing this post, I see a small mixer board next to my computer that I was going to use to do a podcast with him. We never did it. We wanted to, but somehow "life" crowded it out.

I haven't been overwhelmed with the waves of sadness like I was at first. I served as an usher at his funeral last month. My prayer that day was "God, get me through this day." He did. It wasn't easy, but we got through it.

The World Keeps Turning

I stopped by to see J.R.'s widow Candee a couple of weeks ago. I dropped in unannounced, but she seemed glad to see me. She is not the kind to ask for help much. But I hope she will take it from those of us who loved her husband so.

This month has been like being on the end of a whip held by some invisible hand. I can't act as presumptuously as I did before; life is too fragile to me now. I find myself thinking that if a good man like J.R. can die young, what about the rest of us who aren't as shining an example of following Christ? David says in the Psalms that "all my days were written in your book before ever one of them was." But none of us has read that book. We only see the pages as they turn.

I didn't think fear would be part of this process. Fear of bad things happening, things out of my control. I find myself wanting to hold my wife tighter now; sometimes I feel scared to let go of her. I want to get more richness out of life because it could be over so soon. I also went back to therapy.

Victory in Jesus?

Sometimes I hear people talk about how triumphant they are in Jesus, how they have the victory in everything, how they can do "all things through Christ who strengthens me!" I'm not sure they're reading that verse right; Paul was talking about how he could handle all the horrible things that happened to him as well as the good things through Christ. Right now I just feel shattered, like someone who survived a plane crash or a car wreck.

I find myself wondering about people I read about or hear about on the news, people who were killed in car wrecks, in the war in Afghanistan, in storms or floods or earthquakes. Do their relatives feel the overwhelming sadness I felt? How are they living? What do they do to cope with the pain of loss?

What on Earth am I here for?

I also find myself asking whether what I am doing is what I am supposed to be doing. Is the work I am doing what God wants me to do or am I just occupying space? I read an article about five signs of a lousy job on MSN's careers page and I have four and a half of the five at my work. Kind of made me wonder.

I've had that thought too, since J.R.'s death. Many people try to console themselves by saying he 'died doing what he loved.' I even said that. But what if tragedy befell me? Would they say that about me or would they say "He died doing what he had to do." What an awful thing to have written or said about you. There's no life in that, no love, no joy, no peace, no kindness. Only neccessity. And for what? For money? For the praise of others? Because I don't know how to do anything else? I know there is more. I have to find that life that my friend talked so much about. The abundant life he always pointed to. That's what I need more than anything.