I am so happy to be home to celebrate with Laura her last official day of High School. It makes me realise afresh that not all endings are sad. It is good to make merry and find opportunities to be festive over events. Laura wanted a little barbecue and set up a tent for a sleep over. Mmm not in Carlisle! 15 degrees and lots of showers today. No worries we improvise.
Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicolson, play two older men who become friends as they lie in hospital beds, both with terminal illness. They make a list of ‘desires’, activities they would like to experience before they die, before they ‘kick the bucket’.
I read a poem recently in which one line said “Eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow you will live”! The writer of the original line used the word ‘die’ instead of ‘live’.
So why wait until we know we may die, why be motivated by death? We all have both a destiny and a destination. I more aware than ever before in eternal death and eternal life, our destination. Our destiny is our God given purpose for being on the planet. What has God got for my life? I am no longer unsure or sitting on the fence on this one. Each one of us needs to find that destiny. I dont want to get to the end and wonder ‘did I live the life God had for me’?
I want to LIVE, embrace life, risk all, live for the moment, create the moment, include others in those moments, go for it, just do it. I dont be inhibited by rejection by those who choose to say ‘no thankyou’ when I try to talk to them about their destination.
I dont want to lie there at the end and think about a ‘bucket list’. I want to lie there and smile at all those awsome moments, momemts with me & God, moments with me and family, moments with me and friends. I am looking foward to not just hearing “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant” but “King Dosser, the man who walked with God and and lived, really lived”!
Can you relate to times where you get all worked up about something that is as yet not a reality in the physical but is conjured up in your mind and becomes an issue that affects you emotionally, even though it may not even be a reality!
I have had a short communication with one person over a certain topic. It has left me feeling very vulnerable and creating reasons in my mind for the initial communication. In my scenario its a practical issue but could be the result of Mike dying. Its a conversation I do not want to have and brings to the surface even the ‘F” word. Now I am annoyed because ‘it rents space in my mind’. I think through the discussion and wonder how callous it would be. But then I dont even know what the conversation is about! Then I realise how the pain is so close to the surface, my lovely buddy who is no longer with me to share the snorkelling yesterday, or watch him diving or flipping……….
I know we are supposed to bring these things to God and give them to Him. I do that only to keep playing with it! So I can hear people telling me then I didnt really bring it to him! I think God must just smile at us some times and so long to show us the fullness of Himself and all He has for us.
What a privilege to be on Logos Hope in Antigua, St Kitts and soon Dominica. I am here physically, but emotionally its a very mixed time. I find I am isolated. How strange when there are 400 people who are all incredibly friendly. Why does grief isolate? Grief has the ability to control my emotions. Why can I not control them? I find the capacity of the emotional bank drains very quickly. Solitude is not only safe but allows time to process and recharge. 400+ people living on a ship in community gives great opportunity for the petty to become primary. I cannot handle the petty, I want to shout “you may be dead tomorrow, get real and live to the full”.
Its a lot of fun to be known as Akila’s dad. She was once known as Mark’s daughter. Wonderful to see our kids establishing their own identity. I am aware a number of them would like to talk. I have been thinking how to share our story in an appropriate way. My first choice is not to stand in front of the community. They also have a busy programme on the ship. If I was at home, I would have a gathering around our fire pit, so I am thinking to find a beach close to the ship in Dominica and invite the ship people to my fireside chat after 9pm.
Buddy, I could not resist finding Jolly Beach and creating a precious moment to think of you. I know your dad is weird and embarrass you and your sisters all over the world with my silly antics, but this is where you and I had a great afternoon out 2 years ago and I had to find a special way to celebrate that memory. I love you buddy and am so proud to be your dad.
I lifted Mike up from Kathy as he was wrapped in a sheet and blanket. The lovely new smell of a baby. Very proud to have a boy. I carried him around the room for a few minutes introducing myself to him! Kissing that little bit of hair, his soft skin on his face. Hello Mike.
How strange to lift him now, lifeless off the bed onto the floor. I did not want to look at him, I hated that look on his face and lips. I didnt want to see him like that. I couldnt kiss him now, its too horrible. How could Kathy and Laura sit with him? How could Kathy kiss him?
With my friends and family, I lifted him in the box. I could not see him now, I trust he is in there. We lowered him in the ground and walked away. Good bye Mike.
I’m flying out to Logos Hope in Antigua. In 2008 around the same time of year, I made this same trip. Like today, I was sitting in Garfunkel’s having breakfast when I received a phone call from my boss to tell me Dave Thomas, had died during the night. I was supposed to meet the ship in St Lucia, so I jumped on a small Liat inter-island plane to Antigua. When I arrived, the ship was closed to the public ready to sail but until the coroner had released Dave’s body we would not be moving.
When Mike was embarking on the ship in Holland, Kathy, Laura and I took him to a diving shop. Well you cannot go to the Caribbean without flipper, snorkel and mask!
I asked the Captain if I could get Mike off work for the afternoon and I took him to English Harbor where he could do some snorkeling. What a great time we both had. Well guess what I have packed, yeap and I have already told the ship I will not be around the day after we arrive! Mike had his first beer with me there, so I intend to snorkel, then fill the snorkel with beer and rather than enjoy a yard of ale, (a British tradition) I will have a snorkel of beer!
After months of no travel, It’s all come at once. After getting off one plane from Germany, I got on another one for Belfast and today I get onto another one for Logos Hope.
In Belfast I was speaking at a men’s breakfast and then an evening meeting. You only have 20-25 minutes and you want to use the time very wisely. It’s such a privilege to be asked to speak and even more for people to give up other options to come and listen. Any communication these days is through the grid of Mike’s story. At this time, I am unable to communicate without weaving Mike’s story into the message.
As I was sharing Mike’s story, of a 17-year-old introvert, who went to Logos II for 6 months for its last tour of duty in the Caribbean, as I shared an email about a meeting in a prison he went to, as I shared about his impact on others as he worked in the kitchen at McDonalds……….I yet again realised that frail people in the hands of a big God who do not have ability but availability, who do not speak, they just shine, they are not using big bold fonts in their lives, they just live a life quietly but their life is an awesome letter, these people are often looked over by man but not God. David, Gideon, Joseph and the list goes on. For 18months, 17-18 1/2 Mike was used by his Father.
I came home yesterday morning and found myself crying many times throughout the day, by 7:30pm I just went to bed. I was not tired. I realised that I had run my emotional tank dry by publically sharing about my buddy. I love him loads and miss him heaps. Im so proud to tell the story!
So I came out of the safety of my hole. Although I have been asked to come out previously I refused, or find excuses that are acceptable. What are my feelings now I am out? (I’m in Germany at my works HQ)
- “Lets be honest, we hardly know each other, so why do you ask such an intimate question about how I am doing with regard to the loss of Mike?”
- I thought I would hold back with engagement in some areas but I find its safe to engage.
- Small groups are OKAY, I can handle that.
- I recognise I am genuinely interested in others story. (Thats a positive in the grief process)
- I have no patience for what I perceive as petty nonsense but to others are major issues.
- I miss Kathy, Akila and Laura and our world of life at 50 Brampton Rd, where I dont have to explain, they know what I mean.
- I do not want to talk, but I want to also say thankyou for your genuine care, I dont know how to do that.
- Life is so much deeper than the shallowness we project.
- We say 10 words, but the emotion is really 10 million words, others pick up on the 1o words and respond and dont take the time to seek to understand the 10 words that would open the door to the 10 million words. Do I let the 10 words pass and go to bed or do I come back and encourage the person that enables them to release the 10 million words.
- I see the friendship and protection (of me) behind the words you say in public, thank-you.
- I am so weak in seeking to understand.
A couple of days ago Akila wanted to visit Mike at the grave side. The grave diggers must know after all these years that the earth does all settle back down to the original hight, the grass re-grows and you can no longer make out the shape of a coffin.
There are no rules, but none of us walk on the grass. That is holy. I get very offended if I see someone walk on the grass. Why? I want to stand there and salute Mike. I’ve never done it but that’s the emotion. Respect, dignity, sacred ground. We stand in silence, each caught up in their thoughts, quietly telling Mike the heart of our soul.
I begin to understand the director of the movie’s who makes the ancient burial site a place to be honored or scared of.