Thursday, December 28, 2006

what day is it?

Last few weeks have been a whirlwind--some good, some very hard. I'm going to just pour it all out and then move on. December was already packed, trying to prepare for next year at church, then had a death in the church (a very sweet 89-year-old woman) and a funeral.

Last week Jamie's best friend back home in Washington died of a heart attack. Kimmi was 36, wife and mother of a 3-year-old son. Jamie was devastated. We were fortunate and got a great deal on Priceline to go home for the funeral. It was a hard week, but good. Good to be with Jamie's family, good to help out with Kimmi's family and friends. I spoke at the funeral; just tried to offer some encouragement and comfort. Jamie's dad shared (he was a second dad to Kimmi) and did a beautiful job. Several others shared, including Jamie. She did great.

It has been hard watching Jamie hurt so much and not be able to do much about it. She has been amazing through all this. Brady did great traveling, but while in Washington Jamie got a cold, then passed it on to Brady and me. I'm still feeling pretty weak. I'm a big baby when sick--feel like I can't do much of anything.

We flew home on Christmas day; been tired and sick since. But it is good to be home, and all together (Ashley was at her father's for Christmas). Mom and Jerry came over last night; we ate dinner and opened presents. Today I try to get some work done.

I need to pause and be thankful; there has been a lot of good in the midst of a tough time--I'm amazed at how good Brady was on both flights--never cried, slept well, played, great mood. Everyone around us on the plane fell in love with him...very thankful for Chad and Linde, Jamie's sister and brother-in-law. We stayed with them in Washington. They are wonderful, generous, serving, fun to be with. Hate that they are so far away!...Thankful for Lisa, who took care of everything at church while I was gone...Thankful for a new year, new opportunities for our church to grow and connect with people and continue to make a difference!

Friday, December 22, 2006

blog about Convergence

My friend Tom posted about Convergence on his blog. Great to hear some perspectives about what we're doing. Thanks for the encouragement, Tom!

Had Kimmi's funeral today; it was really cool. Not a traditional funeral, more a time to celebrate, tell stories, connect with friends old and new.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

too much death

We're in Washington on an unexpected Christmas trip. Jamie's best friend Kimmi died of a heart attack Monday; we flew out here for the funeral and to be with Jamie's family and friends. To top it off, Jamie and I are both fighting colds. I'm going to lead the funeral service tomorrow. Should be a good service, very casual and conversational. Rick, Kimmi's husband, wants it to honor and celebrate Kimmi's life.

I knew Kimmi a little; but she and Jamie had been best friends since childhood. Jamie is devastated. I've never seen her hurt so much, yet she is still so strong--caring for her family, her friends, helping however she can. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful wife.

I'm going to be honest--I'm sick of death. I'm tired of funerals. And deaths like these--far too early (Kimmi was 36, a wife and mother of a 3 1/2 year old son)--really are deflating. There's nothing to say, no answer to why. Nothing to do except cling to those we love and try to get through the grief together. I know God is here in the midst of this, but it takes more work to see it. Part of my role tomorrow will be to help others try to see that He is here, and cares...I know it, but don't feel it much now. I need some time to just be with Him, and let Him comfort and love me.

One of the bright points has been Brady. He was amazing on the trip out here; never fussed or cried on the plane. He is such a blessing. We are missing Ashley like crazy; she is at her father's for Christmas.

It has been good to see family out here--Jamie's mom, dad and step-mom, sister Linde and her husband Chad. In the midst of grief I am so happy to be with all of them for a few days. If you're a praying person, please pray for Rick and Gabe, for Jamie's and my health, and for good time with family. Thanks!

Friday, December 08, 2006

worn out

I am totally exhausted. We had a funeral today; for Johnnie, a wonderful lady who had been part of our church for over 50 years. It was a great service; easy to honor someone like Johnnie. I'm so glad for the few months I got to know her.

But funerals wear me out. Watching her die and spending time with her family after brought back a lot of emotion about the deaths in my family. Over the years I've lost a great-grandmother, a grandmother, a grandfather, and my father. We've lost two church members in last two months, so I've spent a lot of time in the hospital, and done two funerals. We'll probably have more in the not-too-distant-future.

But these are great opportunities to care for people, to help them through tough times. Also challenges me to deal with my own questions and thoughts about life and death. Thinking more about that lately, realizing I'm probably around the midpoint of my life. Strange to think I've probably got more years behind me than ahead of me. Challenges me to make the most of my time; something I'm not really good at.

About 3/4 through Stephen King's newest, Lisey's Story. Some of the best writing he's done in years; excellent so far.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

when will I learn?

Jamie and I have had a rough time lately. She's been kind of grumpy/moody; I've been pretty sensitive, and easily upset. We both get frustrated, feeling like the other is being selfish and not caring about our needs. I'm stressed about church, all that needs to be done, feeling heavy, having spent a lot of time in the hospital lately watching one of our elderly members die (I expect her to go tonight or tomorrow). Jamie is dealing with major life change; going from working in a rewarding job to staying home full-time and homeschooling. (She loves being with the kids; isn't so crazy about housework...)

Tonight we had date night; a nice dinner at a Christmas party. We had a great talk on the drive, and were both able to move beyond our selfishness to try and understand how the other felt.

We do this every few months. Stuff builds up for a while, then we finally talk and clear the air and move back toward each other. I hate the frustration that leads up to it, but I guess it leads us to communicate better and helps us be a little more selfless. I love my wife very much; and now I'm going to bed, where she already is!