Wednesday, February 6, 2008
We closed Mom's memorial service with the song from Mandissa's new album. Mom liked watching American Idol. So we ended her funeral on a high note, "Only the World," played as people hugged and exited the church, a feeling of celebration in the air rather than sorrow. I had Marty buy the album that morning because the idea to play that song hit me the day of. So I listened to the rest of the album as I drove home that night. Track 3 is called "God Speaking." The first line of verse 2 says, "Have you ever lost a loved one who you thought should still be here..." Why wasn't Mandissa sitting right there in the passenger seat asking me the question in person? She might as well have been. "What if He's somehow involved? What if He's speaking through it all?" There was no question that God was evident throughout Mom's battle and death. I've never felt closer to Him. He was there. Yeah, God speaking. I get it. A few weeks ago I read a book called Into the Deep, about a man who lost his wife and 4 kids in a flash flood earlier this decade. It was about how he kept his faith in God intact through out any man's worst nightmare. I read it wanting to be encouraged to be that kind of man, a man of faith no matter what happened in my life, no matter the loss, no matter the tragedy. I finished the book in less that 24 hours. Gripping, heart wrenching. Marty asked me why I was torturing myself while in my own state of grief over Mom, but I told her I had to read it. Who would want to read about a man who had to identify all 5 of his family members after such a calamity? I surely wasn't reading it for pleasure. I just had to read it. Finished it on a Saturday, got a phone call from my sister the following Monday. In tears, she said, "I don't know how to say this... Dad has cancer." After the shock set in, the disbelief hovered, and a few shakes of the head, I thought, "Well, at least it's not my wife and 4 kids." Don't misunderstand me. I'm not making light of that man's tragedy, not in the least. I bawled my eyes out for him as I read his account. And I'm certainly not minimizing my dad's condition. I just realized, if we think we deserve fairness, then this life is not for us. Life is not fair. We get dealt heavy blows. Messenger after messenger after messenger approached Job telling him how he had lost everything and he was still able to fall down in worship and say, "May the Name of the Lord be praised." Yeah, the time between Mom's passing and Dad's imminent death (stage 4 lung cancer, people), seems cruel and unusual, but at least it's not my wife and 4 kids. And even if I had messenger after messenger approach me with debilitating tidings, I could do it. I could handle it, with Job as my example and God as my Father and Jesus as my Savior. Another line from Mandissa's song says, "His ways are higher, His ways are better..." Better? Yeah, better. I am so very glad I can hear God speaking through it all.