Tag Archives: loss

Digging Deep

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Once upon a time we were in Youth Ministry at a church.  A young couple that worked with us as youth leaders got pregnant and had a baby.  A few months after wards, it became apparent that something was not right with the little girl’s health.  After months of medical tests, they discovered that their baby was suffering with profound genetic defects and there was no hope for a cure.  She was given just a few months to live.  They signed a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) medical order and took their daughter home to enjoy the last few months of her life.

We prayed like crazy during those couple of months.  We prayed for a miracle.  It did not happen.  When their smiley little baby died, we were stunned and hurt.  We all said the awkward, unhelpful things that people say when friends experience such a tragedy.  None of us knew how to help them grieve.  We were all in our early 20’s, and none of us had the wisdom nor the life experience to know how to handle this kind of sadness.  They retreated into their grief and we stood ineffectively on the sidelines wanting to do something, but doing nothing more than providing a few meals and pitiful sympathies.

At the funeral for their baby girl, the grandfather gave the eulogy for this young life taken far too soon.  I wondered how he found the strength to do it.  But he said some of the most beautiful and life impacting words that I have ever heard.  I’ve never forgotten them.  He talked about foundations.

On his morning commute through downtown, he would drive past an entire city block fenced off with barricades indicating that construction would soon take place there.  As the weeks passed, the buildings that were on the site were demolished.  Heaps of rubble were hauled off the site.  Then the digging machines were brought in.  For MONTHS they dug the hole deeper and deeper, preparing to lay the foundation for the future building.  As the hole got bigger and bigger he wondered what kind of massive building would be built there.

As the months passed and the sky scraper began to take form, the grandfather pondered these things in the light of the impending and certain death of his first granddaughter.  At the funeral he said, “When God lays a foundation, he has to dig deep.  We wonder what kind of structure he will build here.  The deeper he digs, the bigger the building will be.  In order to build something massively ‘upward’, you need to take the time to prepare the ‘downward’ part first.  The deeper God excavates our lives, we can be sure that He plans to build something very big on the surface, but he has to dig first.”

I have no idea if the family even remembers this eulogy spoken through the haze of their pain, but it has stuck with me for all these years.  I think about it when I feel like God is tearing down and digging out too much stuff in my life.  I thought about it when we let go of our life and possessions and family to move to the mission field.  I cried for the pain of the deep digging, but I wanted the results of God’s construction in my life even more than I wanted the rubble I gave up.  The bigger the blue print for the building, the deeper the hole for the foundation.

If God is digging really deep in your life, hauling out a ton of dirt and making a really big hole, then he plans to build a really big structure with your life.  We are the temple of God.  Does our foundation go deep?

I didn’t stop the car

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Today I saw someone on the street that I used to be friends with.  I have absolutely no idea why she quit returning my phone calls and emails.  I admit, maybe I scared her away by seeming too eager for friendship.  Maybe I said something that offended her.  Maybe we just didn’t click as well as I thought we did.  Truthfully, I’m just as clueless today as I was a year ago when she quit the friendship.

I can’t remember where I read this (so if you wrote it, I’m not trying to plagiarise, I just have a bad memory) but it has helped me hurt less.  “Looking for the reason why someone rejected you is like running back into a burning building and looking for the source of the fire.”  I always think it would be easier to move on after a hurt if I had resolution, but really, honestly, you don’t really want to know why someone rejected you.  It would be easy to say I don’t care or that seeing her didn’t affect me, but I would be lying.  I felt a pang in my heart.  Letting go of hurt is hard.  I didn’t stop the car.

When I was in second grade I came home from school one day in tears.  I told my mom that my best friend Tammy had told me that I was only her second best friend and that Amanda was her first best friend.  I was crushed because I considered Tammy MY first best friend, why didn’t she return my loyalty and love?  My mom very wisely refrained from giving an easy answer.  She simply said, “The people you love the most can hurt you the worst.”  I cried.

I can’t say that she was my best friend by any stretch of the imagination, but seeing my old acquaintance on the street brought back that same Second grade sense of rejection.  I’m glad I didn’t stop the car.