...to keep me from getting to you, or so the song goes. As we think of those we love or the goals we set to achieve, our mindset is locked on thinking that way. No obstacle, no division of time and space, no earthly circumstance will keep us away from whatever you fill in the blanks with.
We think that way, often getting all fired up in the beginning, only then to crash and burn when we realize how hard that statement is to accomplish, and that it may take more than one person to get there. Only those rare times when we are totally dedicated to those words do we succeed, and it often comes with a lot of pain in the process. Those who are willing to endure the pain reach the gain.
Then, there is the permanent loss of a family member or loved one, and we say, nothing will ever keep me away from your memory. Definitely Ain't No Mountain High Enough that would ever get in the way of that memory because the memory is all we have.
We are fortunate that on a high mountain a long time ago, our messiah put the devil in his place, and basically told him, nothing can keep me from getting to you, speaking of the salvation for you and for me that he accomplished. I truly believe that as we read the accounts in scripture, the Lord was showing us that the ultimate gain must be preceded by the pain of getting there. As we suffer, whether it be loss, grief, heartache or defeat, he is urging us to endure until we get where we need to be.
He died on a mountain, but it didn't keep him away from us, it united us in a simple method of getting where we need to be. It is so simple, yet so hard to give up our heart and soul to him because he is a memory not here in the flesh. Yet, if someone says to us, you can go on an all expenses paid trip to eternity, no condo promotion or other technical strings attached, would we take it?
I can't answer for you but I have my ticket, and no matter what occurs in my life, no matter how difficult life seems at the present moment, there is never a mountain too high to climb to keep me from getting to Him.
I have made myself a promise, and I will make you one as well. The next blog/Facebook post will be about a new topic but for one last time I need to write about the last 8 days. We have put Paul to rest now we must move on with life after we pass through the healing.
My son was an even better man than I thought, and I thought so highly of him. He impacted so many different kinds of people and he seemed to make everyone feel better about themselves. He will be greatly missed but his family will be well taken care of and Ryss will now be my daughter, no longer a daughter-in-law.
Our family has extended itself out into a wide community, and it feels so awesome to be a part of it. There has been so much support and love that the healing has sped up but we will always mourn for what could have been. Paul was just getting started, enjoying so much fatherhood and the love of his partner in life. He was a mentor to his sister and a warrior in his training.
Without divulging the very personal nature of these, I shared stories with others who experienced similar tragedies, and I felt so much support from my co-workers and friends that my faith and commitment to send Paul out in style never wavered. Part of the healing is focusing on what we had in the living times rather than how we would cope without him because God has installed an automatic coping mechanism in us all.
Each day there are tears but they are becoming less, and each day I think about another wonderful part of Paul's life. He was a great son but I have 2 others and a couple of son-in-laws who also are pretty special. I will pay more attention to their lives because the wake up call you get from going through the death of a child makes you want to appreciate your loved ones even more.
To Him who gave me a rock to stand on, thank you for changing my life to allow me to have 29 years with Paul, thank you for the blessing of seeing him do so much good, and help us all to experience the healing that time will bring.
No one knows better than you what it feels like to lose a son!
I awoke to an absolute perfect day in which to put our son to rest through a Celebration of his Life. Surrounded by family, heavily supported by friends but with very little sleep, I wasn't sure I could do it. So I called on the Lord for strength and he answered my prayer.
It was also a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride to Blood Mountain especially, a place where Paul enjoyed to go so much. All the curves inclines and declines were just challenges he saw as another opportunity to experience life. He felt totally free riding with the wind and as he rode his bike, he also quietly rode into the lives of so many other people.
At the Celebration yesterday, my #1 memory will be of his friends surrounding his wife Ryss at the end in a gesture of support and solidarity. To see so many different kinds of people who loved them both made me so proud of the way our son had lived his life. You can cry, you can mourn and you can definitely hurt, but it is comforting to know that every one of his 29 years counted in the thread of so many lives.
I mentioned to one of my friends that I now know what pain God must have felt when he lost his own son. I know what so many have felt when their sons or daughters died whether in combat or in every day life. It is a different feeling from others because a part of you that you helped to create is gone, not coming back. We get so used to watching movies where the hero lives that we forget real life has no playback for death.
This time the hero died, and he will be forever my hero because though I am his Dad and some of me may have rubbed off on him, he was his own great man. Ride on son, I am riding with you in my heart!
I had just returned from a great weekend in ATL when the phone rang this morning with the shattering news. My youngest son had died in a motorcycle accident. Another driver had made an improper turn and struck him down. The feeling was one I never expected to feel, the death of a 29 year old young man with all his life in front of him. Then it hit me, I had to drive alone on the ride back home.
Now I have been at war, seen young men die defending our country, lost my best friend, daughter-in-law, Dad and Mom in consecutive years, but I was not ready to lose my son. So on the 5 hour ride which was filled with phone calls, texts, emails and so many words of sympathy and encouragement, there were also the quiet moments of God and I reckoning this tragedy. And what he did for me to comfort me was flash all the memories of Paul's life in front of me as well as those times we spent together as father and son.
The ride was filled with tears, filled with memories, and as I am sure other parents have felt in this situation, questioning why? His wife is devastated, his Mom inconsolable and his sister is heart broken. Through it all I can't help but want to spend the next few days finding ways to honor my son and how he lived his life to the fullest.
His friends posted so many great heart warming comments on Facebook and there were a dozen cars in his driveway when I pulled up, the house filled with friends. Then I saw his 2 year old son, and I saw Paul in him, but I didn't see Paul, and I cried all over again, because I would never see him alive again.
His ride, his motorcycle was his pride and joy. I remember the day he showed it to me in my driveway and my words were "son, this scares me because you are now a father and there are some crazy drivers out there". But he looked at me with a sparkle in his eye and said "I've got it Dad"
and I thought he's young, adventurous and I would probably be doing the same thing if I had it to do again.
The ride is over now, but forever in my heart I will cherish this great young man, his adventurous spirit, and I will honor him always because I am so proud to have been his father.
"There is a time for every purpose, unto heaven........." So goes the song from the mid-60's sung by the Byrds. I remember it and those times, and I further embraced the words when I realized it came right out of the Book of Ecclesiastes. There is a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to reap that which is planted, a time to kill, and a time to heal, and on it goes.
As we come to a change in seasons, I begin to think of all the changes in my life and how what is can quickly turn into what was. I believe it is a reminder from God not to hold on to anything but Him too tightly. It is also a reminder that he is God and we are not, and that we should never lose sight of what he wants us to do above all else - make it to heaven to be with him and take as many people as we can with us.
So many people around us are experiencing health issues such as cancer. Just yesterday several people spoke to me about major life altering situations. As Job realized, we can never "curse God" for all this, but in his own words, "should we just accept the good, and not the bad?" Easy to say, but not always to do because when life hits us below the belt, we often buckle in pain and question
But then there are seasons, there are changes, just watch a weather pattern on any given day and we see that all around us God reminds us of who the artist in this world is and how often the colors of the picture of life change.
Through it all our hope is always that there is a greater purpose in each situation and we must enjoy thoroughly those moments when we experience prosperity, love and great fellowship. It is a blessing to be in a good season, and when the weather of circumstance changes, God is always there to season us with his mercy and grace.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh: a time to mourn and a time to dance...a time to keep and a time to cast away. No matter which time or season it is, it is our life, and let's live every moment of it to the fullest knowing that the best season is yet to come!
Finally, after two months of working around our 3 dealerships I have been able to travel through the Florida Auction circuit this week. It was great to get on the road again and quite frankly to know that my shorts still fit. I did however, notice that a few folks I hadn't seen in awhile had gained weight. Seemed odd since they spend a lot of time out in the heat, but naturally it made me think........
First, am I any relation to Shallow Hal, then as my thoughts went deeper I began to think spiritually. If you saw me today would you be able to say I gained or lost spiritual weight? Or if I saw you again, what would I think?
We put so much emphasis on how we look on the outside that we often neglect to feed our souls which remain constantly hungry to be fed. If we paraphrase some scripture we could say what good is it to be a beautiful person who has everything fitting and looking just right, but has no depth in their soul? Eventually those beautiful people will gain weight and when that happens will their joy and contentment of life be swept away by feeling ugly and unwanted?
We can also gain the weight of bad decisions and life disappointments and forget to "throw off" the weight of it which prevents us from moving forward with life. We wake up every day over weight in body and soul only to realize that we have misplaced our priorities, we have forgotten to feed that hungry and thirsty soul.
As I drove back from Tampa to Daphne (7 hour ride), I slipped into easy jazz listening for several hours, only to realize a simple cold fact. I had fed my pleasure but had not spoken a word to God. Sure, I needed the relaxation, but I fed my pleasure and neglected my soul. So I then attempted to find a good Jentzen Franklin sermon, which I did, but not before that devil attempted to block each try to get there (dysfunctional hi-tech stuff).
Which made me think again, that same devil tempted Jesus with a weight gain of food and the good life, only to be rebuked with "man does not live on bread alone". And then he hit him back with more scripture because His weight gain was pure soul food. Nothing wrong with looking good mind you, but when I see a beautiful woman who is down on her knees praying it takes my breath away.
And men, we may get a little bit bigger belly when we get older, but the "belt of truth buckled around our waist" has plenty of notches.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.