Death in Christ…..

During my wife’s recent surgery and subsequent hospitalization due to complications (see posts here and here), our marriage grew based on a conversation that we had never had in all the years we were married.

In the evening and early morning before I rushed her to the ER, she had held back something from me. She had been thinking that each time she closed her eyes would be her last and that she would wake up in heaven. She wasn’t ready to die but she was at peace in her faith knowing where she was going and knowing that she and I would be reunited in Christ in heaven. Now that’s not to say that it wouldn’t suck for me and it would be terrible for the kids. If she were to have died it would have had a huge impact to our family. However, she and I are confident in the fact that God would get us through that valley and we would see each other again when we came home to Jesus.

Interestingly, I had also held something back from her. I saw her limp, crumpled, bloodied body on the floor of our master bedroom that early Valentine’s Day and, as I drove her to the ER, I did not know if I would be driving her home. She was in terrible shape. However, while I definitely did not want her to die, I was confident in her faith and my faith in Christ that we would be reunited at home in heaven. Her departure would resonate indefinitely in our family impacting each of us deeply. But God would get us through it and we were not without hope — we would see each other again based on our faith in Christ.

We did not reveal those experiences with each other until several days after she returned home. But the conversation and marriage growth that resulted was incredible. We had never talked about death or the loss of either one of us before. That tends to be a topic that most of us relegate to the back dark corner hoping that if we don’t think about it, it won’t happen. But the freedom and hope we both felt after that conversation was truly perspective changing. And while we cannot dismiss the impact to our children, we are both now in better places mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I can only hope that others have this same faith confidence in Christ with their cherished relationships.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Sad but true…..

These funnies might be funny if they weren’t so true. Hat tip to Dad.

I am really concerned about North Korea’s appointment of the “dear leader”, Kim Jung Ill’s youngest son to be the new leader of North Korea– a nuclear power!

After all, Kim Jung Un (pronounced Kim’s young-un?) had NO military experience whatsoever before daddy made him a four-star general in the military. This is a snot-nose twerp who has never accomplished anything in his life that would even come close to military leadership: he hasn’t even so much as led a cub scout troop, coached a sports team or commanded a military platoon… …So, setting that aside, next they make him the “beloved leader” of the country. Terrific!!!

Oh, crap! I’m sorry. I just remembered that we did the same thing here. We took a community organizer who has never worn a uniform and made him Commander-in-Chief; a guy who has never led anything more than an ACORN demonstration and made him the leader of this country. I’m sorry I brought this up, never mind.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Moving forward, but falling behind…..

Add another book finished on my 2012 personal reading list. I finished “Switch” this evening. It was a very good book on change and how you can break it down, provide clear direction, and smooth the path towards acceptance. The plus side was that I am still two days ahead of schedule — I have already started my next book, “Hurt Healer” by Tony Nolan, which I do not officially need to start until Monday. The down side is that I lost my significant head start I had. I was on an awesome roll right out of the gate in January. However, February has been fraught with medical challenges with my wife and managing the household, kids and work via the hospital. I thought I would get some good reading time in at the hospital but usually used it for power napping or managing social media updates for wonderful folks who kept us going with prayers, visits, meals, cards, flowers, etc. Reading wasn’t very high on my list and my progress and habit were watered down by life’s emergencies. Thankfully, we are through most of that and I am optimistic that I can return to very productive reading now.

Also, because it is the end of February, it will be goal review time soon. Stay tuned.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Friday morning events…..

Today my normal Friday morning pre-work routine of serving breakfast at Wayside Christian Mission and praying at 40 Days For Life had a few anomalies that made it stand out from a normal Friday.

The first was a reunion with Freeda (who I posted about back in April). I had only seen her once but she was a stand out ray of Jesus sunshine. She made an impression on me and my son — he frequently asked if we would see her last summer when he would join me. Unfortunately, we went the rest of 2011 without seeing her. However, I assisted a very sweet lady with donuts and a napkin. She warmed my heart and, while I did not immediately recognize her, my heart went to her. So when she came back for something I introduced myself to her and asked her name. When she said “Freeda” my eyes widened and I reacquainted her with me. She remembered that day long ago and she gave me a quick summary of what had been going on. We gathered together at the end of the food line and said a quick prayer with one another. She is such a blessed, Spirit-led sister in Christ whose prayer was heartfelt and Scriptural. It made my day to see her and, as I said in my previous post, it wasn’t 8am yet.

The next event was quite humorous. I was at the head of the line serving up ‘taters and handing the plate down range to my mentor friend who has been joining me at Wayside for the last several months. I was handing him a plate while trying to efficiently manage a new plate — which happens to be this big monstrosity plate like they hold up at Wimbledon. It is unwieldy and not terribly practical for food kitchen use because its large size dwarfs even the large portions of food that are put on it — which is a rare thing seeing as how we try to stretch all the meals in an effort to feed everyone that comes through. So, like some of the professional NFL running backs, I fumbled said plate. It only dropped a foot and a half but once it hit that linoleum tile floor it not only busted into pieces, but made the loudest breaking/clanging/smashing sound that filled the dining hall. I held up my hand in embarrassed acknowledgement and received an applause from the heckling homeless. However, I did receive appreciation from others on the food line knowing that the plate was out of place in its use there, and they were glad it was not headed out in a Hefty bag.

The last observation was while praying at 40 Days For Life. There was an older Nissan Maxima that was squealing loudly but not moving parked right in front of the abortion clinic. A tow truck was called and after some lengthy maneuvering with traffic and such, hooked up to the broken vehicle and proceeded to take it away. I commented to my friend Donna (a true saint and disciple of Jesus) that it was a metaphor for that place that kills babies and leaves mothers and fathers broken and carts them away. She agreed and it reminded me of another similar observation on that same sidewalk (see post here).

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Happy birthday, Mom!!!!!

Yes, in our family we have a back to back birthdays. Yesterday was a very special girl’s birthday — my oldest daughter’s! And today is another very special lady — my Mom’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!! I love you!!!!!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Happy birthday, R!!!!!

My oldest turned 19 today. And today is the first birthday she has been away from us. Luckily we were able to Skype with her after dinner and she has had a great day.

R, I love you and am so proud of you!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A funny quote…..

I heard this on a Dave Ramsey podcast today driving home.

“The downside to liberty and freedom is that stupid isn’t illegal.”

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. – Proverbs 1:7

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

If I knew then what I know now…..

Today I started a new volunteer opportunity — a 7 week stint with the Louisville Junior Achievement organization. Every week for the next 7 weeks, I am in a high school class for 45 minutes to teach the JA’s Success Skills module. There were actually 13 business/community volunteers and we all spent time in class today teaching our different classes. It was very different than my normal day and it provided me a unique view into today’s public school teenagers that I don’t normally have.

What it also gave me was a reflection opportunity — if I could convey to those students what I know now, what would be the most important salient points?

  • Learning never stops – it is a lifelong process. School does not define learning and learning does not define school.
  • If you continue an open learning attitude, that alone will catapult you towards success.
  • Attitude determines your altitude.
  • Your youthful outlook, hopefulness and energy can compensate for lack of experience and naivety.
  • Your hair, your clothes, your trends and your accessories don’t matter at all and don’t make you cool.
  • Cool is fleeting. Knowledge is not.
  • Look around at the folks around you. If they aren’t family, you probably won’t see them in 10 years.
  • Trust the wisdom of those older than you but also don’t let them tell you it can’t be done (these are parts of the same coin like heads is to tails).
  • Cherish the time you have — with youth, with family, with friends, with events. It might seem like time is creeping by, but it continues to accelerate until you can’t remember what’s going on.
  • Don’t hang on to anything negative too long (emotions, grudges, friends, thoughts, the past).
  • Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the combination of a good attitude and hard work.
  • Start your true relationship with Jesus sooner rather than later. Parents dragging you to church doesn’t count. You are now old enough to own it yourself.

I’m sure there are more but those are what came to mind. It made for an interesting exercise. I wonder if I would share this with them next week.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Post by the Mrs…..

The post below was on my wife’s Facebook status this morning.

Last week about this time I really thought if I closed my eyes I may not wake up. Two thoughts crossed my mind:
1) I wasn’t afraid; I was ready to meet Jesus
2) yet I wasn’t ready to die

You see I have this incredible hope and faith and I thought about the people out there suffering that didn’t have hope or faith and how that broke my heart. How they could be at a low point and have no hope? Having God in my life makes all the difference in everything I do and how I live. I, more than ever, want to bring my non-believer friends to the light. I believe this experience wasn’t about me at all. God was using me to bring people to Him. He wanted to hear from people and if it was praying for me then so be it. So for all those people who struggled to pray and find the words, you brought tears to God’s eyes and He wants to continue to hear from you. He cares immensely about your heart . There is hope and light and love and you have a Savior. God loves you so.

Pretty cool insight considering all she’s been through these last several weeks.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Signing singing…..

With my wife still recuperating from her surgery and trip to the ER, she has been unable to join us for worship. She has missed service all February and I really miss worshiping with her.

This last Sunday with my oldest daughter in town for her birthday, she wanted to go to the late 11:15am service. I have only been to that service one or two times so it was a bit different for me.

One difference of the 11:15am service is the hearing impaired translator. He/she is positioned down front facing the front row of one of the sections. Consequently, the first several rows of that section are reserved for deaf or hearing impaired worshipers. I looked down there during one of the worship songs and noticed hands flying. It had not occurred to me that they sing with their hands just like the interpreter does. It was so cool to see them joyously and passionately signing and singing. And it was truly inspirational — I wanted to join them.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net