Keep On Keeping On

IMG_0122How does the cliché go? I think it’s something like if you fall down 9 times, but you get up 10 then you are successful. Grieving is essential to loss, but life goes on in the presence of grief. Falling down is negative, but getting back up is positive. Those two things are certain to all of us, and there’s not a single one of you reading these words who hasn’t experienced what I’m talking about. It’s catholic to the human lifespan.

We couldn’t be as grateful for happiness if there wasn’t sadness. I’m going to camp out on the human experience during this post because I want to be intentional about the here and now. I don’t want to speculate on what the afterlife is like because I’ve never been there. This is what I know, and even though I do call upon the LORD Jesus Christ I think He wants me to be intentional about life as it is now.

I’ve lived in Nashville for almost 30 years. Twelve of them have been operating my own business. I’m proud of that achievement. I sense now even in the midst of many failures that something good and big is going to happen. As you very well know I fight depression, and I have since the third grade. I grow tired of being sad, angry and fearful, and even though I will likely fight depression the rest of my life I’ve lately been praying that God would take it away. I’ve never prayed that before. The past 6 years I prayed over and over that God would heal David, but that answer was obviously no. Sometimes God says no. I’m still grieving that answer, but I’m trying not to ruminate negatively about it like I have other no’s. When I ruminate negatively about an outcome I didn’t like my depression gets worse. I’m not going to deny said negative outcomes didn’t happen, but I’ve got to get up quicker from a fall than I have in the past. I hope you’re following me. Proverbs 3.5-6 seems appropriate here.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Suffering, pain and loss are real for all of us. I do not make light of the suffering we go through. We must not stay there. We have to get back up and keep “fighting.” There’s not a road map for how we go about this. There’s not an instruction manual that outlines the steps to take to get back happy thoughts. There’s not even a pill we can take that will fix the brokenness. Christ’s presence is the common denominator for believers who know and have been touched by the Savior.

Now I take medication. I sleep with a CPAP because sleep is essential to a functioning human being. I’ve started back to counseling for reasons I’m not going to elaborate on. You will fall down. Whether you get up or not is completely up to you. Life isn’t fair, and it never will be until we are together in our new bodies on the new earth. Then posts like this will be unnecessary.

Tomorrow my company is cleaning two houses. These two houses have been cleaned before, and they will be cleaned again. Today when I was cleaning I kept thinking that I love my job. I’ve enjoyed my work for the past 12 years, but the work before that I did not. It’s always taken me longer to learn than most, but one of my favorite fables is the tortoise and the hare. I’m the tortoise in case you were wondering, and guess who won the race?

I’ve never fit in anywhere because I had an unconventional childhood, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. I care about what people think, but I’m not going to let it keep me from fulfilling my cosmic purpose. That purpose is to bring glory to God, bring my best to every house we clean and bring Carey and Chloe closer to the LORD Jesus Christ. Suffering, hardship and loss have made me stronger, and now when I get knocked down I get up a hell of lot faster. I look fear in the face, and I say let’s do it again.

I’m tired of being controlled by fear and sadness. I’m also going to try with the Spirit’s power to stop letting others control my emotions as it relates to anger, but I will not stop missing Bop. Bop can no longer put his arm around Chloe like he is in the picture above, but I’d like to think that he can look in on us wherever he is, and when I visit Wrigley for the first time I’d like to think he’ll be there in spirit smiling that Rossy is the new manager.

We love you David, and we miss you like crazy. We always will. It still feels surreal that you aren’t here, but the love you left behind was a testament to Jesus’ love. Please tell Him we said hello.

Who am I kidding? I miss David oh so much, and I’m hurting like hell that he is gone. My tear ducts haven’t gushed with tears like this since the funeral, and I’m glad you’re reading my words because this is an ugly cry. David was Jesus to so many people. He was Jesus to me when I hit rock bottom, and now that he is gone I am leaning on Jesus heavier than I ever have. David taught me the importance of prayer. He held me accountable for praying for those I did not like or who were hard to get along with. He showed me how to love those people too. He was such a good man. Carey in the last days started calling him sweet daddy, and that just broke my heart. It’s still breaking as I type my grief for the whole world to see. I don’t care. One day everything we’ve ever thought, felt or done will be on display for the whole world to see, so in a way these tender deep feelings I have for my father-in-law will be fodder for their eyes. Whatever. The greatest of these is love, and I loved David.

That’s all that matters in the end, and that’s what was in David’s room at Alive Hospice when he took his last breath – love. Our family surrounded him, and no one could have left this earth any better than our dear sweet David.

Father we know that you lost your son. We know you willingly gave him up for us because of your great love for us, and we cannot thank you enough. We know that you will sustain us in the coming weeks, months and years as we adjust to a new normal without David. You know our love for him, and you know his love for us. You know too the physical pain he endured, and we find peace knowing he doesn’t have to suffer through that. You also know that doesn’t make our pain any less trying to live without him. Grant us peace and comfort as we go through the holidays and his birthday because they are going to be hard as hell. Thank you Father for your presence. Thank you for defeating death even though it doesn’t feel like it. We trust Your word that one day death will be no more, and we confess our mustard seed faith to that reality. In Jesus name amen.

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