,I remember the day clearly of Paul's life celebration. Looking down from the pulpit to the front row I saw his Mom, his wife and his little sister and seeing the incredible sadness in their eyes, I knew we had to deliver a moving and proper sendoff to this incredible young man. I knew that these three women would be the most important ones in my life for at least the next few months until his 30th Birthday had passed. I knew what I had to do and I called on God to direct my words then and now.
Grieving is not an exact science, and we all handle it in different ways. You can read all the books, go through the supposed 5 steps and attend as meetings as you would like, but every day in the immediate vicinity of a loved ones passing is a struggle. For me, having to be the strong one for the family it is just now after nearly 5 months coming to the step when you lose it 2-3 times a day and you want to shut all the noise around you that interferes with those tender moments of remembrance.
Almost back to back to back we have had his son's birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and now his Birthday next Monday. There has been rarely an hour when he doesn't come to mind, rarely a day when someone doesn't ask or extend sympathy. He is always on our minds and forever in our hearts.
Now on Monday as his gift I am treating our service department at Eastern Shore Toyota to lunch. These were his people although only one man from here knew him, but they are all like him, car junkies and some funny crazy folks. The one man who knew Paul was his team leader at Toyota Mall, and he still tears up at the mention of his name. His son was also a great friend to Paul.
This is my way of tribute, my way to work out some of this grief and turn it into something very fitting and positive. His Birthday Celebration!
As I have gone through all of this, God has been working on my heart, having me reach out to others here who are hurting. Got me back in ministry in an awkward way and shown me some insight into something very important, something I needed to improve on.
What if every day in all the ways I remembered, grieved and honored Paul I did the same for Jesus? We honor his life, his death and his memory but do I feel as close to Him as I did Paul? Surely I know Him, definitely I love Him and appreciate His forgiveness and all the things He did to turn my life around, but do I honor Him in the way I live my life? To you maybe that answer is yes, but to me, the one who really knows me, I must say I fall far short of that honor.
And during this time of grief, the Lord has clearly sent me a message that in every day, 100% he is behind me and always there for me. All he asks of me is that I love him with that same passion as my son, that I grieve for the ones who are lost who are still with us, and that I continue to
believe in Him 100% of the time.
"He walks with me and He talks with me, and He even knows my name........" Because He does, may I always return the favor of His presence!
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.