June 28, 2010
Laura ready for her prom
Many details that in the past have just been to be oblivious to me, now stick out above other details. If you are like me, reading all the genealogies in the Bible is a rather boring activity. This morning I was struck by the word ‘Father’. So it lists all these people and says ‘name FATHER of name“.
I had the great privilege to visit Mike on Logos II when he was working in the deck department for 6 months in 2008. Where as I had always been in the ‘spot light’ and introduced my family, the tables were reversed and I was now ‘Mike’s Dad’. I am wondering if when I arrive in Heaven, Mike will introduce me to his mates as ‘this is my dad‘!
What an incredibly important role we Father’s play in our kids lives. What a joy it was for me to be at home for Laura’s prom night, buy her a bunch of roses and celebrate with her the end of High School. If God thought it was important to tell us who was who’s Father then I suppose I had better continue to think through my role as dad and what that means to the girls and their wishes as to how I father them.
I’m still writing my thoughts about Mike and I and our story, but have lost motivation. I need to jump start that again.
June 24, 2010
In truth, we are not a football mad family, but the World Cup is one of those events you just have to watch. Yesterday was a great day for both the Aussies and the English, so the girls were proud to be both nationalities.
Australia World Cup 2010
Where as the England game was given many favorable remarks by the girls, the Aussie’s at first did take a bit of a bashing by them until they started to score!
June 23, 2010
Last year on the 8th August, our friend Dave took this photo at a superb place called Calbeck which is about 30 minutes drive from home. The lake district is spectacular and this night was so awesome with the sun setting over the sea.
I was determined to do something memorable for the 22nd as it is the longest day, sun set at 10pm and sunrise at 04:30. This was the first time I remember having a blue sky all the way through to sunset. We jumped in the car and went back up to the same spot.
What a laugh to listen to Laura sing lots of crazy songs, enjoy some disgusting Caribbean Twist drink of Akila’s and generally just enjoy each others company.
June 22, 2010
I finished Rabbi Kushner’s book, “When bad things happen to good people” and I found it depressing! It took me a while to work out why. Jesus is omitted from the plot. Without Jesus and His life changing sacrifice for you and me, the story is depressing. I understand and can agree with Kushner’s view of suffering but I find his conclusions and advice limited. God of the Old Testament is so wonderful and we can learn so much, but if we only think of God of the Old and not include the New Testament, then for me there is no Hope and the suffering we experience today is even more pointless.
I have in the last few days again seen the reality of ‘grace’ in someone’s life that is passing through such difficult circumstances. This ‘grace’ which manifests itself by calmness, trust, serenity … but is not void of pain, confusion, sadness, loss…..
God is present irrespective if we feel He is absent. The walk of faith is the walk of humanity only we allow God to walk with us! That is so bizarre and almost sounds ridiculous but God has not pushed Himself onto me in my walk. I am so thankful that He would want to spend time with me and walk with me. Who the heck am I!
Our stories without Jesus are a disaster waiting to happen. Do you remember the old Sunday School chorus, “when the wise man builds his house upon the rock”? In Matthew 7, where Jesus is coming right to the end of what we call “The Sermon on the Mount”, he talks about the foundation of which we live our lives. He says when storms come, like Kushner’s title, not ‘if’ storms come.
This morning I was already on the golf course by 05:30, it’s a beautiful blue sky and the sun is already warm. Mike and I had many happy times playing golf there. As I stood there I knew I had two emotions that could surface, sadness or joy. I purposefully do not say sadness or happiness. Happiness is temporal and situational. The Joy I am talking about comes from God, its deep, it defies circumstances. It’s another missing ingredient from Kushner’s book. My heart is still lost, broken and sad BUT standing there this morning I can also tell you the centre of who I am has Joy, and for you cynics out there, no it wasn’t because I actually hit the ball!
June 16, 2010
Coffee with Daddy in London
People have said to us that its good that we are around for August 1st as that will be a tough day. Both Kathy and I could not relate to the comment because we could not understand how that day could be any harder than other days. I was expecting that day to come and go. Now I don’t know. As the day gets closer I see both Kathy and I looking in our diaries or journals to see what we were doing this time last year. That surprises me. I can identify that in my subconscious I am on count down.
1 year ago today, Akila and I were in London on Logos Hope. We needed to get her Australian passport renewed and so went into town. What a joy to have time with her and sit at this Brazilian coffee shop.
I leave today for Finland for a Logos Alumni Weekend. Three years ago I was with the fellows at a similar time of year. It was with shock that I heard several months later, Bob had been killed in a car accident.
Life is a mixture of happiness and sadness. They coexist with each other. I have to process how I am going to handle this next period. I generally like to find ways to celebrate painful events.
June 15, 2010
Even writing yesterdays blog made me realise I needed to get the ‘stolen’ wheel barrow back as soon as the cemetary opened. I don’t know if the cemetary has customers waiting at the doors for opening hours, but yesterday it did!
Returning the stolen wheel barrow!
Whilst the night before Kathy said she would go and do sort it out, I needed to make sure it was done before the day began. I’m not sure if there is a moral to this little episode, except to say, my mind is deteriorating even before I hit the big five 0! One thing is for certain, Mike’s death has totally turned my world up side down. I never expected that I would be a grave robber!
June 14, 2010
Wheel Barrow Thief
Confession time! I have thought several times to go up to the grave yard over the past few weeks but then allowed activity to rule the day.
When the sun is out and I’m feeling positive about life, I find that’s when I tend to have thoughts to visit him. Well yesterday it rained for most of the day. Kathy and Laura went over to Newcastle to pick Akila up from the airport and take the opportunity to buy some shoes for Laura’s upcoming prom.
The rain stopped and the sun eventually appeared in the evening, so whilst dropping Laura off at her Church, I headed off to the river for a jog. Returning, I realised I was in the street of the Cemetary.
We as a family have often wondered who would be buried to the right and left of Mike. Thinking that those people are walking around at present, living and breathing. As I arrived I saw a male and female in their twenties standing next to a new grave, which I thought was next to Mike’s. If you look in the photo a little further past Kathy and Akila, there is a brown flower wheel barrow in the middle of the grass. I was convinced Kathy had brought that up to Mike’s grave on our last visit, which is in fact this picture. As I am getting closer to the couple, I was thinking of saying “I see we are now neighbours”, but I started to realise I was walking further than normal down the path. I had gone too far and walked back several paces. As I am standing there, a million thoughts went through my head about the wheel barrow. I had read up about cemetaries and most vandalism is not by young people or outsiders. It’s generally by other family members or other mourners. The rules of the cemetary are also that if you lay something on the grass, normally the lawn-man will not move it to cut the grass. So I am wondering why the wheel barrow has been moved down to the other grave. When people left, I went and retrieved it and placed it on Mike’s grave.
Later in the evening I told Kathy about my adventure. I could see the look on her face was indicating that I had done something wrong! Why an earth I thought that wheel barrow was Mike’s I havent a clue. So I have gone and stolen a wheel barrow off someone elses grave and given it to Mike. If we were sitting around the fire with Mike, this is the type of story that would see him laughing and throwing his head back.
Although it is quite comical, its also very sensitive. Kathy will pop back up there this morning and change it back. Its this type of activity that can really hurt loved ones. Recently somebody sprayed a Nazi symbol on the graves of the queens relatives in France. Where as in the past I would of just thought about the practical implications of such an act, today I understand the emotional hurt that is inflicted.
June 9, 2010
Mike, I look around the house and see photos of you representing your 18 1/2 years, but then they stop. I will not see you with an older face. I will not see you with your first girl friend. I will not see you on stage playing the guitar in a worship group. I will not see you engaged and then married. I will not see you with wedding photos. I will not see any of your children. Mike its all on pause.
What I am excited about is that you and I are on pause, we will have another conversation, what about I am not sure, but the hope I have leads me to believe that its not over buddy and what you will look like I cannot picture.
You know I like a fire and a fine wine, New Zealand white is a favorite. Tell who ever is in charge about my needs! Love you buddy and miss you heaps. Dad
June 9, 2010
Its so good to listen to others and be open to their perspective. How often am I too close to be able to see and even when I stand back, because its about me, I cannot see!
A friend said to Kathy and I over the last couple of days “be kind to yourself and each other”, in relation to the time and process of grieving. I was sharing with him how frustrated I am that I am still “numb” which produces fruit of lack of excitement and motivation. He is several years further down the road than us from his huge loss and his eyes still get wet when he talks.
Its been a very busy month with lots of travel and speaking to various groups about Mike, Grief and Loss. Its been a great privilege but I have given from all I had. I want to retreat into my special chair in Mike’s room and “fill my tanks” again. I need to create the space in my day to walk and think. Some days I just need to listen to either a worship CD or a good rock group on my early morning walk. (Mike taught me about Christian Rock!)
So I come back to the fact that “SEEDTIME & HARVEST” is actually “SEED” “TIME” & “HARVEST”. 3 stages not 2!
Mike and I
June 4, 2010
Regret, what a horrible word. ‘If only I had……., ‘I wish I had…….’ We cannot turn back the clock, but we do have a future. The past is happened, the present is here. Can we take those regrets and channel them into today and tomorrow?
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a possibility.