The Lord is Good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who Trust in him.
I am not sure if anyone is familiar with the book of Nahum. It is a small book in the bible, and the message is mostly about the destruction of Nineveh. Then among the all the talk of destruction, there is this shot simple verse. It has always been a reminder to me how God’s goodness and love is there even among the hardest moments in life’s journey. And so, my hope is we can all find comfort in the goodness of God as we gather today to mourn the loss of a beloved Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle, and friend.
Not only do I stand before you in mourning, saddened by all the unrealized moments my Uncle Jack will never get to have. I also stand here today in celebration of the life he lived. For me, as I imagine many of you will agree, Uncle Jack was always the type of person you noticed. When he entered the room, it was always with great declaration that he had arrived. He had a way to lighten the mood no matter what the circumstance. The one thing I will remember most, about my Uncle, is his humor. I could always expect lots of laughter when I would spend time with my Uncle Jack and the rest of the family. I view this as one of his many talents and gifts. He had such a love of life, and never seemed to take things too seriously. He also had a great laugh. I unfortunately have not been given the talents he had for telling a great joke, and as much as I would want to tell a joke right now, to lighten the mood. I am fresh out. You are in luck however, because I have a different kind of talent which God has given me. It is with great pleasure I share it with you now.
One of the things that often happens when you experience the loss of a loved one, is you find anger with the fact that such a good person has passed away. You might even question, why God would take such a kind loving soul, and did not give him more time. I know after I had the opportunity to see my Uncle on Easter Sunday, I set aside time to pray for a miracle. I am a person who strongly believes in the possibility of miracles. I know there are people who have had all kinds of afflictions, only to be cured by god’s grace in the last hour of need. So, as I prayed for God to send a miracle to my Uncle Jack; God in his infinite wisdom and grace shared with me how Jack had already been given two miracles. His miracles are his wife Stacy and their beloved daughter Allie Jo. I was reminded in my solitude of prayer, how Jack had always wanted to find someone special to share his life with and to start a family. Although, I did not get the opportunity to see how Jack interacted with his daughter as a father. I know in my heart he was a great dad, because for me and my siblings he had always been such a great Uncle.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
And so, one of the talents which God has given me has been the gift of dreams or visions. As I was still in the presence of my savior, praying for my Uncle. I had a vision of Jack sitting by the water. He was looking out towards the sun – rising in the distance, and the light’s reflection twinkled with delight. As I looked deeper into the bright shining sun, Jesus stepped out of the light and towards Jack. He then reached out his hand, and Jack stood up. No longer was he weary, but standing tall in the presence of God. He took the hand of the Lord and walked into the light. I know in my heart Uncle Jack is now telling his great jokes in heaven, and God is delighted with his child.
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Last night as I was laying down before bed to meditate I had a single thought, which involved the name of my ex. It had been a while since I thought about him. It has been a while since we ended our two-year relationship. As I laid in bed I started writing a letter to him in my mind. Well, that was it. I had to get the letter out onto paper. I turned the light back on and sat there in the middle of the night pouring out a letter to a person who was no,long part of my life. I didn’t quite understand the impulse. Like I said it had been a while since I had even thought about him. I don’t intend to send him the letter, but I think in some way it was the release of any bit of him which was still left. Did I mention that the guided meditation I was doing was about letting go? I figure this is what brought the whole thing about. I want to share with you what I wrote……
It may seem crazy to be writing this letter, especially after all this time has passed. I haven’t the least bit of expectation what may come of it. I have very little hope that you will even read this letter. Nor do I even anticipate any form of response. Yet, I write it not because of some need to even hear from you. I have discovered instead that words are powerful. Words can defy expectations, they can even bring understanding to your own past. I have been writing a lot lately, you see. I have been recalling memories and sharing them with others. It has brought me some happiness over the past weeks. It has shown me the other angles of the memories which I had not seen before.
I was in bed this evening when in my mind, I said your name. I had a thought of you. Not because I was wondering how you are getting on or what you have been up to. No, it was just a thought, and so I said your name. The simple thought brought forth a memory though. Do you remember a few summers ago, how you called me unexpected. You were in a drunken state, and dialed my number. You wanted to apologize for screwing everything up. You can’t begin to know how I had wanted to hear those words, even then. Alcohol is a funny thing sometimes. It lowers our inhibitions. I don’t think you would have called had it not been for the drunken state you were in. At first the apology did not mean that much to me. I only felt you were too late. A lot had been done and said between us, and in ways the apology seemed tarnished by what you said afterwards. Yet, one thing still sticks out. As you confessed in the uninhibited state you were in, your new relationship was so different from ours. You confessed how much you missed being able to talk to someone like you had with me. The great thing about our conversations were the honesty between us. This honesty was there from the first day we met. I had never let anyone in so close before. We had true intimacy. I had taken down all my walls for you. I will confess to have been afraid of letting people in for some time after you broke my heart. However, the brokenness did not maintain its hold over me. Tonight, I sit in the darkness remembering all of it.
Memories can be a silly thing. They can be like a ribbon dancing along in the wind. You are walking in an open field which is your mind. When a gust comes along whirling the memory in front of you. So, you stop to gaze at its wonder in admiration. Thinking about what was once my life. Yet, it is only a ribbon which can be blown further off into the distance. Landing in a tree somewhere for a short period, until it gets blown in front of you again. As I have been writing and remembering more often, I have begun to see things differently. I know we were happy for a while. Like memories happiness is fleeting. It often gets overshadowed. Happiness is never sustained. Instead we must find joy. Not the kind of joy that is really just happiness masquerading as joy. No, we must find the true joy. Joy filled with warmth, the kind of warmth which fills us completely. It consumes every fiber of our being. With joy, there is no room for anything else. Even in the sadness life brings we can still be grateful, because we know joy. You could also call joy love. Not any love but agape love. The love which only comes from God.
I am not sure what you have been doing over the last few years. I don’t even really need to know in honesty. I know what I have been doing. I have been searching. Searching for joy. I have been trying to discover who I want to be. Not only that, but also who I am, and most importantly who God has made me to be. What I have discovered has filled me with joy. It is overwhelming at times. I feel as if my heart will burst from the likes of it. I don’t feel it always, but like God it is always there. In all ways. I don’t have all the answers. And I know that they will be a lifetime in the discovering. The one thing which has brought me to the understanding I have known has been each step along my journey. I have admiration for the part you played in this journey. Without it I would not have understood what I do now.
I understand God has made me into a woman of hope. Even if others around me see it as foolish optimism, I know it is who God wants me to be. How do I become her is a continuation of what has already been. I have lived a life full of many seasons. Many seasons are still to come. You were only a small part in the middle of one of these great seasons. Just as I was a part of one of your seasons. You once told me you believed we were going in different directions. I did not want to believe this at the time. All I wanted was to be going in the same direction as you, but maybe one was ahead of the other. I know now you were right. I choice just to ignore it. We have different paths, and maybe one day we will cross our paths again. Even if it is just a wave hello. I , my dear, will continue to become who God has made me, all while being who I am. Who I am, who I have always been, is beloved by God.
When I put down the pen, and lay back down to sleep, I had a dream. I was standing in an open field and I saw a red ribbon. As I followed the ribbon float back behind me from the direction I had come. I saw him in the distance. He smiled and turn around, starting towards the forest behind me. He met a woman and they walked into the forest together. The one detail I remember about the forest they walked into was it must have been winter, because not a single leave was on a tree in the forest. It was also rather dark, and lacked anything happy. Then a butterfly flew up into the air catching my attention, then hundreds of butterflies were around me as I turned to the right. I ran up a small hill, chasing one of the butterflies. They all flew away as I looked out over the horizon. I began run down the hill towards sunshine and warmth. I started to notice friends of mine on either side of my path, they were smiling and waving as I passed them. Then as I looked upon eat face I noticed they were all the friends I have made over the past two years. All those who I have loved, who have helped me to rediscover God’s grace. I looked ahead and saw a different forest, this one was filled with light. Every tree had the greenest leaves on them. They were hundreds of oak trees to be exact. Stretching beyond what I could see. At this point I was no longer running on my path but rather floating. As I approached more faces, I noticed I could tell if they were male or female, but the face was blank. It was blank like an abstract painting you might find in a museum. Then there were three male faceless people, the first kissed me on the cheek, the second held my hand, and the third I walked up to a minister and married. All the time I was gazing into his face but could not see it. It was all blurred. The only details I remember was he was taller than I am. However, that is easy to do because I am only 5’2″. I smiled and woke up.
In the beginning of the dream I might just claim my subconscious working thoughts out, but now after reflecting upon it I think differently. I am reminded of the dreams of Daniel and Joseph in the bible. How it was a way for God to communicate with them. To show his plan to them. I feel as if this dream was a promise from God that I have so much good ahead of me. I will love again, and someday find someone to share my life with. He already knows, but if I saw their face it would ruin the mystery. I have so many more people to look forward to being friends with, all of them I know I will learn from. I imagine I even have a boyfriend or two who I will date before I find the one God intends for me to marry. Like the dreams of so many in the bible, it gives me hope for the future.