Today is January 24th. Two years ago, January 24th 2010 was on a Sunday. I led worship at Ridgeview Church, and Erin and my girls were all with me for only the 3rd time in almost a year. You see, my son Josiah was on a hospital bed in the Pediatric Cardiology ICU in Charleston, SC which was 220 miles away. That morning, while I was leading a worship song by David Crowder entitled "You Make Everything Glorious," our medical family of professionals performed CPR on our son for nearly an hour before finally conceding that Jesus had taken him home.
Erin and I received the news via telephone minutes after the church service at Ridgeview concluded. After collapsing on the ground together in a tidal wave of emotions, we began the 200 mile drive, most of which we spent in silence. I found myself quiet and emotionless inside. Now what were we supposed to do?
Two years have passed, and I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to do. There are times I am brought to tears, but I still feel a strong emotional tug far less than I would prefer. Grief is a very strange emotion. It takes on forms of anger, depression, intense sorrow, and at times intense joy. I remember feeling a similar way when my grandfather passed away. However, I experienced my father to have a new soft part on his heart. Tears flowed often. First about grandpa, then about graduation ceremonies monumental childhood achievements, and now tears fly at the drop of a hat. This has not been my experience however. I still feel at a loss for what to do. Erin and I experience grief totally differently. How could we manage this together? In the first few months after Josiah's passing, Erin and I committed to each other to read the entire Bible through in 90 days. We felt that if nothing else, this should be a place to start looking for answers to all the questions spinning around us. She and I loved that season of life. Pouring over such large amount of scriptures gave us a new big picture prospective on God's Word.
The months that followed were very sweet for us. God had unmistakeably directed us to move back to our home region of Buffalo, NY after almost 10 years in SC. He made it so very obvious that we have to have been blind and deaf spiritually to miss all the cues He was giving us. Through this process we became part of the core team and pastoral staff of www.theWELLbuffalo.com which has been a ride of a lifetime, experiencing a Creator God, and how he interacts with his human creation.
Yet, while all of this continues to happen, and joyful experiences surround us on every side, grief continues. And I don't know how to grieve. I've learned that Erin and I don't grieve in the same manner, and that she and I grieve very differently from other people who have experienced loss in this way. Fact is, nobody knows what to do. People don't know what questions to ask. I don't know how to express myself. New friends don't know what we've been through. I can't decide whether to tell them every detail, or just the "highlights."
Part of what we have been experiencing at theWELL has been wrapped up in a massive commitment by our church and our staff to be intentional about building relationships, and sharing our building space with people in recovery. Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, Over-eaters, and so on recovering from their addictions and the damage it has done to their lives. We have learned that this community has a far better understanding of what it means to be real, genuine, and honest about who they are then our typical American churches have been. They know what rock bottom looks like, and know they need help. Through the process of understanding this, we have also come to grips with the fact that every human has hurts, habits, and hangups that are at the end of the day: unmanageable. For some it is alcohol, others adultery, and others pornography. But to some its anger, bitterness, or complacency.
My name is Milo, and I don't know how to grieve. I know at the end of the day, this is a hangup that is not in my own power to remedy. I believe wholeheartedly that Jesus has the power to heal our wounds, and that he is doing so a little each day.
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.