Breathe, Just Breathe…

My last blog post was March 16th, just before going to the Progressive Youth Ministry Conference. I was so excited to write about my experience at the conference this year. I was finally going to start blogging more frequently, and the conference reflection was going to be the start of something.

My mom and I went on vacation to Florida just after the conference and we were having so much fun I didn’t get a chance to blog about the conference. “When I get home, it’s the first thing I’m gonna do,” I thought to myself as I got to the airport. I sat at the gate, a few hours early, and had just settled down with my coffee and muffin to begin reading a book, when my phone rang, and time stopped.

My world would never be the same. Life as I knew it quickly morphed into this weird reality that was different than anything I had ever known.

My mom had gotten home from our vacation and found my dad lying on the screened in room floor. No one wanted to say it; I had to say it first and have it confirmed. It’s hard to say, even now.

Here it is a few days shy of four months later, and we still don’t know how he died.

I’ve heard it said that when someone dies, you shouldn’t make any huge decisions for some period of time. I sent an interest email for a ministry position in North Carolina (where my family lives) the day we returned to Evanston.

Here it is a few days shy of four months later, and I’m sitting in my new office at my new church…waiting to hear from family the status of my great-grandmother, who is soon to pass away.

Death has been quite the visitor in my family these past eight months. Disrupting our lives, messing up plans…and whether its coming was expected or not, leaving trails of loss and sadness.

I’m scheduled to preach this Sunday. My dad died the Monday of Holy Week. The week my grandfather died back in November, I had a full schedule that week of various meetings and events.

It doesn’t really matter what we have on our calendars when Death comes. It has no regard for plans or reservations and laughs or perhaps shakes its head, sadly, at our thinking loved ones will be around forever.

When my grandfather died, it hit me a lot harder than I expected. I was just beginning to kind of resurface to some normalcy when my dad passed. It made me realize that my plans, my calendars of events and meetings had become wayy more important than they should be, and that I needed to start prioritizing relationships and especially my family.

We moved in with my mom almost three weeks ago to be closer to family in NC and make it easier for us to be with our family in FL. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be closer to family and also overwhelmed with the stress of the transition.

It seems like at every intersection there is a memory waiting for me; my first wreck, the pull off where my dad waited to take me home afterwards; the stoplight where my AP Calculus teacher told me I had scored a “5;” the Mexican restaurant where my dad loved to tell the waiters I spoke Spanish; the haunted house one of my friends lived in; the clothing store my old youth director works at; not to mention my old high school and all the memories that linger there.

It has not been easy, but I know that being here is a good thing. So as I wait on death to come once more, I can only breathe, just breathe.. And be thankful for the gift of life, however long or short it may be.

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