Goodbye… (Part 2)

I’ve been home for two days now, and it’s a different atmosphere. I can say that much that’s for sure.

But I have this incredible peace…which can have only come from God. There is no other way that I could be this emotionally stable throughout this time. For that reason, I’m incredibly blessed.

But there is certainly sadness that I’ve experienced and will experience.

I sit in my grandfather’s chair, watching the television that was given to him by his boss during his recovery from the open heart surgery he went through in November. Around me are the mementos that he collected, all sorts of deer, guns, knives, and a couple of mounted fish.

His shoes sit on the floor, untouched from when he last took them off. His glasses are on the counter in the kitchen, left them in the same place every night. Still there along with his cell phone. He annoyed me with the cell phone. He never carried it unless he was at work, it sort of defeated the purpose of a cell phone (insert laughter here).

Monday when I got home, I headed in to my grandmother and grandfather’s bedroom. The bed was unmade. His pants were laying where he put them every night.

The house was full of people when I actually arrived, and there were tears shed. Not soon after, we were off to the funeral home to set up calling hours and other such details. Now that I look back, it must have been tough on my grandmother. A little over twelve hours prior to the funeral home, she had lost her husband.

From what I’m able to piece together everything happened in their bedroom. Everything occurred very quickly, but apparently my brother, a volunteer fire fighter, arrived and took command. I have to imagine that it was difficult. So incredibly difficult for him. He told me that he first checked for a pulse and then breathing. I think he might have been the first to know my grandfather had passed away. We’ll never know for sure.

My grandparent’s had only recently gotten DVR’s and it was still set up to record the wrestling that he watched. Monday night, it was recording and my mother saw and began to break down again.

Needless to say, things have changed.

Things have changed greatly.

I realize that I won’t come home from college to see his smiling face.

I know that he won’t be at my graduation, nor my brother’s, nor my sister’s, nor anyone else’s graduation.

He won’t celebrate his birthday on Monday. Nor his anniversary on March 10th.

It’s not going to be easy, nor fun, but the human spirit is enduring. Human’s are a mystery because they are so resilient to grief and sorrow. We feel it for a time, and then move past the sadness into celebration.

There is a time for mourning, but eventually every person must move past that into celebration.

I have mourned the loss of my grandfather, but now I am ready to celebrate the life he lived.

Will I be sad about it? Of course, but I have a peace that comes from heaven. For that reason I will always follow the God I have come to know. He is Love, and He is a love that I will learn to know only more.

Advertisements

Goodbye…

There are no words I can say that will grasp the depths of the grief I feel.

I knew it would be hard.

I knew it would be sad.

I knew it would be awful.

I knew people would cry.

I knew people would say they’re sorry.

But I never really knew.

I can say that I’ve experienced something brand new this morning. I’ve experienced death. I’ve tasted of the last great enemy.

Sure for me death has come close. People grow old, others get into accidents, fall from buildings.

Some die peaceful deaths, others die tragic deaths. It’s all a very, very sad event. Not one that I’m a fan of at all (just between you and I, if Death were a Facebook page, I wouldn’t like it…).

The first phone call was made at 2:24 this morning by my mother. I didn’t get any of them because I was sleeping until 6:44.

I can’t imagine the pain that they’ve been going through while there. The events that must have transpired, things moved quickly, that’s all I know.

I talked with the man, my grandfather, yesterday. One of the last things he said, “All I have to do is make it to May.”

This man, for some odd reason, was so incredibly proud of me. I’ll never understand it. Just back over my February break he had talked about how he would have put aluminum siding on the house he lives in. And I said that for the month of May and June I would gladly paint the house. He said he’d buy the paint.

Every time I called home he would ask about my car. Every. Single. Stinking. Time.

But he cared about me. Wanted me to be safe.

“Be careful.”

“I always am.”

Anytime I left the house to go anywhere that’s what I would hear.

I think that he was just beginning to learn how to really say “I love you.”

He was always playful with my grandmother. Always picking on her, doing the dishes when he wasn’t supposed to while he was recovering, his hunting trips, his plowing, his family out west, all things that while although we may not ever see again, I don’t think they’ll fade for a very long time.

He was a brave and bold man.

He had been inspired to lose weight here at the end. He was doing it too, when my grandmother didn’t offer him food hahahaha, you see she’d offer him food, and being a man, he’d take it (I mean what kind of man doesn’t take food given to him from a wife of more than 55 years?).

Oh and he was looking forward to their anniversary. I don’t think my grandmother ever realized how much he loved her.

He loved her with everything he had. As far as I know, he never held anything back. Ever.

He was glad I went to Clarkson. He would always tell people about me. How I was “smart as a whip.”

He kept telling me that he was glad I was smart, that way I didn’t have to work in physical labor like he did. He wanted me to get a “desk job” of sorts. Just something where I wouldn’t have to go day in and day out shoveling or driving heavy machinery.

This man freaking loved people. Loved me. Loved family. Loved his children. Loved his wife. And loved life.

Is it sad that this was snatched away so soon after his recovery? Yeah…it’s really sad, but as long as we hold to our memories and the love we had for him, I think we’ll make it through just fine.

There’s another thing that I found out this morning. I really do believe in God. After I hung up with a tearful mother, I only had one thing running through my head.

“You are my supply, my breath of life, still more awesome than I know.”

He’s God. He can do anything he wants to. He has taken my grandfather, but I know that he will provide me with the strength to go on. He will provide all who ask with the strength to go on. And you know what, I still love Him.

Fall in His arms, and all things will fade and you will find comfort and peace. Oh, and love. You’ll find love. Blessed, sweet, redeeming love. A love you have never known before. A love I want to know even deeper.

Well, I’ll leave you now, I have things to prepare for my departure home. But here’s a song that I feel is fitting for his passing. And anyone’s passing for that matter.

And if you can’t tell, this post is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, Walter Lewis Barker.

Writing Prompt Bonanza Week 5

In an effort to aid my goal of writing a novel for this year, I needed some kind of motivation.

And so an idea popped into my head.

Writing Prompts.

I know, I never thought I would use them either. I’ve been generating a list of writing prompts, so far around 60 or so, and starting tomorrow I’m going to focus on hitting 500 words for each prompt. 500 words at the least. One prompt a day.

Every Sunday, I’ll post a new list of prompts that you will begin to work on the next day. You should shoot for 500 to 600 words. Remember, these are going to serve to jump-start our creativity.

Anyways, I challenge any of you young writers, or writers in general to work with me on these writing prompts if you want. Keep what you write to yourself, or send them to me and I’ll post them on my blog for others to see. It’s completely up to you.

If you want to send them to me, send them to runafterthe1.prompts@gmail.com and I’ll post them as an addition to my prompt or as a post all on their own if I didn’t write one for that day. If you send them to me, be sure to include your name at least so that I can give credit to you.

So…get your pens, or fingers ready because tomorrow it continues, and without further ado, this weeks writing prompts!

Monday, February 27:      I carefully backed away from the snarling dog. His teeth were bared and a long strand of saliva dripped from his mouth.

Tuesday, February 28:     “I must say, I do enjoy a delicious apple once in a while.”

Wednesday, February 29:     And then the lights went out.

Thursday, March 1:     First, an elbow to the jaw, second, open palm to the solar plexus, then the killing blow.

Friday, March 2:     “Duck!”

Saturday, March 3:     The tiger paced back and forth, never moving its eyes from her face.

Sunday, March 4:     The cat just lay there in the sun, sleeping as if that was all it needed to do.

Without You, I am done for

Without You, the first time I heard the song I enjoyed it. And up until a few weeks ago, I just thought it was a good song.

I listened to it again, watching a lyrics video on YouTube, I realized it was much more than a good song. I read some of the comments, and it appears that people think the song is about a break up. Perhaps it is. But after listening to the song, I realized something. It really personifies my dependency on Christ. It demonstrates how I am so completely dependent on Him.

I can’t win, I can’t reign
I will never win this game
Without you, without you
I am lost, I am vain,
I will never be the same
Without you, without you

I won’t run, I won’t fly
I will never make it by
Without you, without you
I can’t rest, I can’t fight
All I need is you and I
Without you

All of these lines state that we are desperate for companionship not to mention our desperateness for God.

Without God we can’t win. We’ll be lost, floundering in vain. We won’t be able to even make it through, enter true rest, hold our own ground against the world. If we keep with God, things become even better. We can fly in this world, we can climb mountains never encountered before. We’ll enter a rest that we’ve never known before.

Jesus in His Glory

There’s a song that I heard by Kim Walker Smith. For the first couple times I didn’t know what it was called, but I can tell you that my favorite part was the chorus.

“This is Jesus, in His glory, King of heaven, dying for me, it is finished, he has done it, death is beaten, heaven beckons me.”

I tend to just picture Jesus, hanging on the cross, and realizing that this is one reason he died for us.

This is Jesus in His glory.

Heaven wasn’t His glory. When He resided in heaven, He was in splendor and glory. Angels bowed to Him, awaited His every command. Every step He took on earth was undoubtedly watched and guarded by the Father, His way directed and protected by the angels.

When He hung on the cross, the angels were restrained, no doubt waiting, terrified as Jesus hung on the cross. His ragged breathing leaving them on the edge of eternity wondering whether the Father was going to truly let his Son die.

Was the God of the universe going to die?

We know of course that He did.

But not only did He die, He finished it. Done. Over. Complete.

That’s absolutely critical because a lot of Christians believe they still need to do something to accomplish their salvation. But they don’t. It’s finished.

It. Is. Finished.

Death, commonly called the last great enemy, is beaten. Death has no sting at all. The only strength it has is that we die once. But when we die, we awaken into life.

Once we’re alive, as long as we continue to partake of Life, we will never die. That is amazing.

This isn’t really a Songs that Mean Something post, but at the same time it is. So, that being said, enjoy the video. This version happens to be by Tim Hughes, but I like both Kim Walker Smith’s and Tim Hughes’s versions of the song.

Writing Prompt Bonanza Week 4

In an effort to aid my goal of writing a novel for this year, I needed some kind of motivation.

And so an idea popped into my head.

Writing Prompts.

I know, I never thought I would use them either. I’ve been generating a list of writing prompts, so far around 60 or so, and starting tomorrow I’m going to focus on hitting 500 words for each prompt. 500 words at the least. One prompt a day.

Every Sunday, I’ll post a new list of prompts that you will begin to work on the next day. You should shoot for 500 to 600 words. Remember, these are going to serve to jump-start our creativity.

Anyways, I challenge any of you young writers, or writers in general to work with me on these writing prompts if you want. Keep what you write to yourself, or send them to me and I’ll post them on my blog for others to see. It’s completely up to you.

If you want to send them to me, send them to runafterthe1.prompts@gmail.com and I’ll post them as an addition to my prompt or as a post all on their own if I didn’t write one for that day. If you send them to me, be sure to include your name at least so that I can give credit to you.

So…get your pens, or fingers ready because tomorrow it continues, and without further ado, this weeks writing prompts!

Monday, February 20:      “Careful, you don’t want to go in there!” the officer shouted.

Tuesday, February 21:     Thump, thump, thump. His heart raced as the footsteps got closer.

Wednesday, February 22:     There was no way she was ever going back there again.

Thursday, February 23:     “I wouldn’t even try doing it that way.”

Friday, February 24:     The river flowed swiftly, his future being swept away with the cold waters.

Saturday, February 25:     She stood on the threshold, tears rolling down her face.

Sunday, February 26:     The smoke curled slowly up from the sleeping dragon’s nostrils.

Defying Gravity, and a Little Bit More

I discovered Wicked somehow. I don’t necessarily remember. I heard this song, and then read the book, and then bought the soundtrack for the musical. If there’s one musical I were to see, I’d want it to be Wicked.

Wicked, in case you don’t know, tells the story of two witches in the Land of Oz. Yup, those witches show up in the Wizard of Oz. The story version of the Wizard of Oz is different from the movie version, as things often are. But the thing is, Wicked tells the story of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West.

Glinda and Elphaba become the best of friends and then some things happen, and they’re enemies as seen in the Wizard of Oz.

The main song at the end of Act I in the musical is Defying Gravity.

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

Just the first verse speaks immensely to Christ followers. Once we follow Christ, something has definitely changed in us, and we will never be the same again. There is no chance to second guess our decision. The die has been cast, and we have entered into a new world. We’re suddenly cast into a new world where we may not know up from down, or left from right. We just have to close our eyes, and leap as the verse suggests.

The chorus speaks just as much:

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!

We’re called to defy this world. To rise above the influences of sin, something that is very difficult to do. But with Jesus having gone on before, sin has no hold on us. It cannot pull us down to where we were. Now that’s not to say that we can’t go back there. We can if we want to, but at that point it’s our choice, and not sin that pulls us back down. Sin’s power was broken the moment we trusted in Jesus.

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I’m flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

This one’s a biggie. Sort of. The main thing to take from this is that we will no longer be the same person we once were. We’ve been given the freedom to follow God wherever he decides to take us AND to decide whether we want to follow him there or not. He won’t force us to go with him.

There are lots of people in the world who follow God and say that they know what he wants to do. I’ve said the same thing myself. “I know that this is what God wants me to do.” That sort of things. And as I heard it put not too long ago, the people that say that, including myself, “better know damn well that the almighty God of the universe told them to do that before they run around telling everyone that He told them.”

There are people who will stop at nothing to ground you, but you need to remember that the God who has called you to follow him will not leave you out to dry. He will bring you into himself, and take you places that he knows you can handle. So, never be afraid of God, and definitely do not be afraid to defy gravity once in a while. Just don’t try to do it while on top of a tall building. Or any building for that matter.

In fact, defy gravity in the metaphorical sense.