Eleven years ago three young guys were looking for a way to improve the image of their Car Meet group (tricked up cars and Hot Rods), so they picked a way to go on a ride and donate toys to kids in need at the same time, thus Cruise For Kids was born. One of those young men was my now deceased son Paul who was 22 at the time, and a fledgling mechanic.
Over the years it reached a peak of 60 vehicles in procession to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a sometimes circuitous route but a much worthy cause to help children in need. Since his passing, it has gotten much smaller, but last Sunday, for the first time ever, I joined about 15 riders on that trip, along with my son-in-law (also one of the founders), my youngest daughter, and a couple of grandchildren on an often teary eyed trip in his remembrance.
It's funny how grief works; it seems to never stop. It does get better, happens less often, but it is always with us when we lose someone we love deeply. I often think of how God felt watching his son die, and even though we understand so little about the complete nature of God, he must have felt pain, he must have felt some anger about having to save mankind again, and again and again, and now offering the ultimate sacrifice. Somehow that comforts me.
For our family, as it may be for yours who have felt this loss, the holidays are not the same anymore. But in little things like finding ways to honor those we have lost, their presence remains in our spirit and propels us to celebrate the time we enjoyed their physical presence.
As my grandson Logan eloquently spoke at a Christmas service at Campus Church, without Christ in Christmas all you have is a mas (mess). Though the holidays are without Paul, it is in honoring him with the CFK, as it is in honoring the birth of Christ, that we feel just a little bit closer to our roots. Honoring the life, not the death.
Though Paul is not here on earth with us, the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1), comforts me and asks me to comfort others. That's what the CFK is about now, and to me, Christmas is now about the last few words of that scripture in verse 3:
"...who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
This year remember the joy of life of those we have lost, comfort others with the gift of compassion, and live your life to the fullest with every moment you have - it is our gift from a God who understands us.
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.