Posts Tagged With: death

The Promise of Prayer


This past weekend my beloved wife was delivered some absolutely heartbreaking news. The husband of one of her friends died unexpectedly from a heart attack after coming home from work on Friday. The news was a shock to us both. He was relatively young. I’d guess around 40, if that. And he seemed to be the picture of health. He leaves behind a loving wife he’s known for more than 20 years, and four beautiful children ranging in age from 7 years to 7 months. I can only imagine the devastation they are experiencing.

I will say that it’s been more than a little unsettling to acknowledge all of the similarities between our two families. Not the least being the fact that he was an African American man around my age, with four children whose ages mirror nearly exactly the ages of our own four youngest. Our wives were planning to get our two families together so that he and I would finally get a chance to meet. *sigh*

Naturally, the desire to pray is stirred in many of us. We want to pray that she, her children and his extended family might find comfort and consolation in this difficult time. And so, I did. I stopped what I was doing, and I prayed for them.

Of course, the topic of prayer got me to wondering… how many times have we said to someone, “I will pray for you” only to find that we never set aside the time to actually pray? I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve done it. And I am pretty sure that this is true for a good number of other people as well. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not saying we were misleading, that we had a lack of good intentions or that perhaps our statement was insincere. But the reality is that circumstances are often cited as the reason for not praying in that moment, when in truth, that moment may be the only one we’ll have.

It’s very sobering to think about the frailty of life and the idea that a mere second can separate life from death. So when it comes to prayer, don’t let your gesture become an empty promise or just some nice thing to say to someone who’s hurting. Instead, let it motivate you to action in the moment, that we might take advantage of every moment we are fortunate enough to be given.

So please join me in praying for Colleen Johnson and her family…

Categories: commentary, personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

MIRACLES: The Many Lives of Dove


I was inspired to write about my own miracles. The indisputably tangible evidence of God’s hand upon my life…

Circa 1975: As a toddler, my mother said that I was rambunctious and curious about everything. My mother would tell me later that I was a very active child and she could often tell what I was doing by the amount of noise I was making.  Well, one day while playing in the house in another room, I all of a sudden fell silent. When my mother looked over at me she saw me convulsing violently on the floor. This was the beginning of my battle with idiopathic epilepsy. A battle that included multiple daily doses of penicillin and blood tests at least 3 times a week. A battle that was frightening and complex, being told that I could die. A battle I would continue to fight until the age of nine when, after telling my parents that he was tired of seeing me suffer these frequent grand mal seizures, the pastor of our church took me to his home for a few days saying he was going to God in order to finally put an end to this. I honestly do not remember what he did. Because of my seizures, I don’t remember much before the age of 9. But I can tell you what God did. I was taken off medication and never had another seizure after that day.

God: 1 The Devil: 0

September 1984: My father owned an old blue Ford pickup truck that looked like a replica of the one driven by Fred Sanford. It didn’t have seatbelts, because apparently prior to 1975, passenger safety wasn’t a top priority. So one Sunday evening after church service was over, I followed my father and older brother out to the truck which was parked just in front of the church. As we got in, I was sandwiched between them with my hands folded across the bible on my lap. No sooner had my father turned the ignition than BAM! Some guy rear-ended us. HARD. The jolt threw my head forward and banged it against the dashboard. Back then, those trucks were built like tanks with all metal construction and none of the current plexiglass metal alloy. Damage to the truck was minimal. Thankfully, the dashboard had a padded leather covering and although my face was definitely bruised, the paramedics said it could’ve been a lot worse. Like brain damage or death…

God: 2 The Devil: 0

December 1984: One week prior to this incident, I’d been released from the hospital after having my appendix removed.  I was again following my father out to the truck after choir rehearsal. This time, the truck was parked across the street. I looked both ways down the road before starting toward him. Again, seemingly out of nowhere, a car comes barreling around the corner and, yep, you guessed it… BAM!! He hit me dead on. The following details were relayed to me later… the same brother that was in the truck with me the first time, was standing on the sidewalk when this all happened. He started screaming hysterically, running back into the church. My dad runs over to me and my mom comes out to see what happened. I’m in the street. Broken. The force of the impact tossed me into the air and threw me a good 50 feet. When I hit the ground I was out cold and my brother thought I was dead. 15 minutes had passed before I regained consciousness. The paramedics were already there. I woke up crying and disoriented. I glanced at my right leg to see it bent in a place it shouldn’t bend. The bone was exposed and the pain was excruciating. This of course, is a compound fracture. I wound up back in the same hospital room I’d been released from a week ago. I would not wish this kind of pain on my worst enemy.  But the pain let me know that I was still alive…

God: 3 The Devil: 0

There are many other experiences in my life I could share, but I think these illustrate my point. Sometimes it seemed as if the devil was determined to kill me.  Which was strange because I never considered myself significant or special. But the facts remain. I would not be alive if not for God’s mercy and intervention.

Categories: personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Death By Broken Heart


A few years ago in April, a close, dear friend of mine lost his youngest brother who was only 31 years old.  This came after losing their mother to a long battle with cancer on New Year’s Eve the year prior.

The unofficial cause of his death: A Broken Heart

See, he was very close to his mom. He and his older sister lived together, and their mom came to stay with them during her final days. They both would help take care of her. Whatever she needed, they would provide. Loving and attentive to the very end. Before she passed, he would sleep on the floor next to her bed. So it’s no surprise that he took her death very hard. At one point he admitted to being nearly unable to function at all.

One night when his sister returned home from visiting their older brother, she found him slumped over the steering wheel of his car with the engine still running. What’s remarkable is that he’d spoken to someone on the phone just 10 minutes prior. In the short period of time between that phone call and his sister arriving home, they are guessing he must have had a heart attack. It caused me to marvel to what degree grief can diminish a person’s will to live. Even unto death. I don’t know… but I do know that there is no proven remedy for the loss of a loved one. No medication or certain type of clothes to wear. No drink or remote destination. There is only time, comfort and the healing support of those who love you.

This made me contemplate my own mortality and the things I hold dear. It’s why I’ve made it a point to study the contours of my wife’s smiling face and commit them all to memory. Because these are the treasures that remain.

Categories: family, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Love After Death


I remember one night after putting the little ones to bed, my wife and I settled into a relaxed time of snuggling and talking in the bed. We try to do this often because we realize the importance of making time for us to connect on a regular basis. This can be a challenge when your days are full with work, little kids and various other responsibilities. But the rewards are beyond measure.

So imagine my surprise when my always thoughtful wife says, “I’ve been meaning to tell you something. It crossed my mind the other day and I wanted to make sure I told you.”

“Okay,” I said, thinking it was more light pillow talk concerning a holiday gift or planning details for Arielle’s first birthday.

As her eyes began to well up with tears, she said, “I just want you to know that if anything ever happens to me, you are free to remarry. After taking whatever time you need, I want you to be happy.”

This caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting that… At. All. But I could sense the depth of her love for me. The look in her eyes was very sobering. All I could say at first was, “Okay” which felt so completely inadequate.

“I’m not saying that anything is going to happen to me. But I don’t want you to be alone. I don’t want you to feel lonely”, she said.

“I wouldn’t be alone. I’d have our children with me”, I reassured her.

“Yes, but you told me many years ago that you were meant to be married. And you are. I would never want you to feel bound to loneliness because of my passing”, she said, her hand resting on my cheek. “Just know that I would be happy to know that you found love again.”

I smiled and wiped away a trailing tear, telling her, “I understand. But in this moment… my happiness rests with you.”

I never really thought of this, to be honest. Perhaps I just assumed that she would know that if something happened to me, I’d want her to find love again. But she said that it’s not a given and she wanted it to be very clear for me. Yeah, that’s the kind of woman I married. Remarkable.

Categories: marriage, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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