Dreading Headstones

I’ve been subconsciously, and even more recently, purposely dreading writing this, and by the end of this, you’ll feel it too. It started almost a year ago, I guess, and this picture sets this thought in stone quite appropriately:

Not the actual tombstone

Almost a year ago, our son Oliver passed away (no, this post isn’t entirely about that event, but more about the emotions surrounding it). Someone blessed us with money to pay those dreadful hospital bills related to Oliver’s birth and passing, and we even had just enough money leftover for the tombstone.

So, last March, we reluctantly stepped into a local funeral home after consulting several others to compare cost, and the funeral director, giving us a discount, expected us to return and place an order for Ollie’s headstone.

Except we never showed up.

Sure, we talked about it some, every now and then, saying, “Oh, we still have that money for the headstone in our safe. We should take care of that” and things of that sort.

Yet gloominess must have slightly set in, as I chose not to get the headstone. At one point, I thought, “What’s the point?”

In the gray skies of early 2018, I went to the funeral home to have the contract drawn up.

Talking with one of the head guys there, he revealed the reason why many people erroneously wait to get a tombstone and the detriment behind it:

Tombstones provide closure, and some people want the wound to stay open.

Don’t get me wrong: nowhere in my wildest thoughts would I ever want to keep thinking of the searing pain of losing a second son. But, subconsciously, isn’t it easier to deal with pain by stuffing it away, keeping the tombstones of our pain off the growing grass of our hearts?

So, I shared with Mary the reason I had reluctance in acquiring the headstone this whole time… only to wait a couple more weeks afterward to actually pay for and execute the contract.

You and I aren’t too different, you know?

We both stuff our pain, keeping the tombstones away from the grass in our lives.

That’s not healthy.

We should have our sketch back for approval soon, and then the tombstone will be delivered, and there it will sit, right next to Alex’s, our first son, and maybe then I’ll be able to get closure.

Question is, what are you afraid of facing, giving your fears prime property among the grassy knolls of your heart and mind? Friend, may I encourage you today? Let’s lay those fears to rest.

Rest In Peace, fear.


Elementary Balance

One of the easiest words to comprehend yet hardest words to practice is balance.

It’s quite elementary, actually. From a young age, we learn what it means to balance. We understand that we need balance in order not to fall.

So why does it seem easier for children to practice balance than for adults to practice balance?

Dying To Escape Starvation

19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Deuteronomy 24:19-21

This, James the Just says, is religion that God accepts as pure and faultless.

Yet, why do I get a Tweet today from BBC that looks like this:

400,000 children.

Dying of starvation.

Basically, 400,000 children dying of something preventable.

The BBC has a great 2-minute video worth watching that brings awareness to those dying to escape starvation. But the line in there that resonates so deeply within me says, “Priority number one is to save lives.”

Mogadishu will make you cry.

People are dying of something preventable.

But this isn’t new news, is it? Although this is the first time this news story has crossed my radar, it’s been going on for months and months. The Huffington Post has a few articles on it, one dating back to July 10th, with a very heart-wrenching story of how a woman watched three of her children die while making the trek to a refugee camp. Three.

An article from the Guardian UK from just a few days ago says, “Parents [do] not know what to do with their malnourished children.”

Alex Perry, a TIME correspondent, writes, “The difference between a drought and a famine is down to man.” Essentially, this is a very man-made disaster.

So, what can we do? What will you do?

UPDATE: The ONE campaign is asking for your help. They aren’t asking for your money; they’re asking for your voice. Let’s help meet the needs of the poor and needy.