We often go to extremes to comfort ourselves while walking past the very things that will comfort us. One of the most shocking and unsettling things we experience in this life is losing a loved one. It hurts. To go from having someone in your life that you see and spend time with to them suddenly not being there is disorienting.
Christians who lack a hunger for God are spiritually unhealthy. I'm not suggesting that every season of our lives will go "up and to the right" on the bar graph. Seasons of drought are inevitable.
tanding on the grassy spot where others will one day dig a hole and bury me was sobering. Katrina and I met the funeral director and a family member at the graveyard where we planned to bury our son in a few days. Kaleb died a few days prior, and we were finalizing his arrangements.
I finally found the crack in Matt's defenses when I raised the subject of love. He was a hardened atheist. We were friends and conversations about faith and philosophy were not uncommon. Calling him smart is an understatement. Science and math were fun to him.
The first time I met my wife, we were both on dates with other people. I use "dates" loosely. We were in junior high and I invited a bunch of my friends to go eat downtown and attend the Nashville Knights hockey game -- there's a rich irony in Katrina and mine's first time together being a hockey game.
"We'll find each other," I told Katrina. We were picking out burial plots for our family. Nobody leaps with excitement about that conversation. We were deliberating whether to secure burial plots for three of us (Kaleb, Katrina, and me) or five (our daughters Kaleigh and Kyra included) of us. We never pondered that question a week before.
The first day of my sabbatical was the last day of my son's life. Writing that sentence is still strange. I struggle to believe it's true. But it is. I created my sabbatical plans months in advance. But my plan did not match God's plan.
I read John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (this edition) in 2019. My Worship Pastor, an elder, and I read it together and shared our insights via a text message thread. Our reading plan made this task manageable over the course of the entire year, breaking the two-volumes down into five weekly readings.
I don't want to think about the flood of emotions that will bombard me on his birthday. I don't want to envision Kaleigh (10) and Kyra's (6) weddings and try to imagine the glaring absence of Kaleb's presence. Those things - Lord willing - will happen one day. But we don't need grace for sadness fifteen years from now. We need grace for today's.