Friday, April 20, 2007

i am a dying man

I understand that Deane Keller used to say at memorial services something like. . . .

I stand as a dying man to talk to dying men about a man who has died.

At the tail end of this week where I've been doubly reminded, both nationally and personally, of the frailty and shortness of life, I'm conscious that that's what I will do at 2:30 this afternoon. My role is on the front end and small. . . welcoming, praying, reading a tribute, facilitating some sharing . . . . . but I desire to discharge my pastoral duties with reverence and thoughtfulness.

We took all the cousins for doughnuts this morning. As I was walking through the parking lot, I spotted this sign in a store window. Seemed relevant and timely. (I think you can see me in the reflection, taking the pic with my mobile phone.)

That is the eternal question, is it not? The question we run from and deny.

The questions of our souls and eternity show up in the advertisements, t.v. shows, movies, and music we consume. Do we see them? Do we face them? Do we use them as bridges to talk to the lost around us?


Joe Pollon said...

I’m sure you discharged your duties honorably in what must be an extremely difficult circumstance—one in which we rarely, if ever, imagine ourselves yet have to contemplate when placed front-and-center in our lives.

Is it our ability to live in denial that tragedy will visit our home that makes it possible to live, take risks and rejoice?

Is there intent to these events? Do they emerge to say “WAKE UP!!” and do a reality check?

They certainly force us to ask why, what is the meaning, what am I to learn from this? Is G-d really in control? And if so, why would He do this?

Jen Martin said...

"They certainly force us to ask why, what is the meaning, what am I to learn from this? Is G-d really in control? And if so, why would He do this?"

What a timely question you pose Joe. I am sitting here watching human suffering, with glimmers of Gods hope. My father is in the last days of his struggle with cancer. My father let a hospital Chaplin come into his room and pray for him! My father has probably never stepped foot in a church or at least not on his own accord. And today, this day I sit at his home and watch him take his last steps. I ask why this suffering? But I pray about Gods hope and peace -

Our lives are so fragile and somehow we cope with this suffering emotionally. It is like a train ride that wont stop, a really long day that wont end and every time you think there is no possibilty of any more tears again they flow.

So I keep asking what am I, what are we suppose to learn from this?

Joe Pollon said...

I am so sorry to hear of your father’s illness. My father succumbed to cancer after a two-year battle at the young age of 59. While I thought I had a good relationship with him there is so much I wish I had talked to him about.

One lesson I try to take is that life is fragile and I need to take the opportunities presented sooner rather than later. My father’s battle was largely successful. In fact he was preparing to return home when he caught pneumonia and passed away quickly. I think I wanted to avoid the appearance of losing hope should I bring up the BIG existential questions or seek his advice on things in my life he might not live to see.

If I could do it again, I would try to honor him by seeking his wisdom and council on everything I could think of. In your situation, I would hope it might help your father feel closer to you and still able to give something to his family.