Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pain and Love

It has been nearly four weeks since Zachary left us.   I am back to doing things at church.  I have let go of all my boards, committees, and so forth.  I need to focus on grieving with my wife and my daughter and doing what I need to do at church, to make a living.  I am keeping the radio program.   I was worried that I would not be able to concentrate enough to interview, but I did so successfully yesterday.  I also produced another program.  There may be a few encore presentations as I get caught up.   It was good to be in the studio.

I haven't preached yet.  We attended worship as a family last Sunday.    I suit up this Sunday and will do the liturgy.  On the first Sunday in August, my seventh anniversary Sunday with this congregation, I will make an attempt to give a sermon.    That is the last thing I feel worthy doing.   My congregation has been there for us.  It is home.

I have no passion for anything.  I am going through the motions.   I have the urge to run away and go to a place where no one knows me.   Everywhere I go in Johnson City I see reminders of Zach, the places he worked, the things we did.  His adult life was spent here.   I don't want to run away from that.

I went to a Johnson City Cardinals game the other night by myself.  That isn't unusual.  I often do that.  Even as I saw people I knew, I greeted them but went to sit by myself in the top bleachers.  I like to hear people talk, but not to me.   

We called no one except family.  We put his obituary in the two papers where we used to live where people would have known Zach.   Now we receive calls and cards as people find out.   It feels like work talking to anyone.  I want to answer all the cards as many deserve a response.   But I don't know if I'll ever get to it.

Many offer themselves for conversation and I don't turn anyone down.   It is work but it is work that I need to do.   I think I will set up a formal counseling relationship with someone who I don't know through church or through other contacts.  That isn't easy as I know a lot of people.   I want some stranger who is a professional upon whom I can unload.    That is what I need.  I think.

I don't know what I need.  I don't know what I am supposed to do.    

Someday I will talk about the manner of Zach's death.  It was not violent.  It was painless.   He was loved.  He is loved still.  Fiercely.  He loved us, too.   Sometimes life is just hard.    We have a photo of the four of us in a frame given to us by a dear friend.

The frame includes a quote from the New Testament....
"Nothing shall separate us...."
That is true.  Love is real.  But I miss his flesh.  I miss his body.  I miss hearing him call me "Oldness."   I miss his laugh.   It is so final.   People offer comfort by the hope of some kind of continuation of his spirit and what not.  I appreciate that.   But what I really want is what I can never have.  I want him, here, now.  If I cannot have him, I want the pain of missing him.    That pain is a hole that I physically feel in the middle of my chest.    I don't want any comfort, no dope whether it be alcohol or Jesus that will take that away.  That pain is love.   That's real.

The love of this congregation and of friends and family is real.  I can feel it.  I am grateful to this congregation for being there for us and for walking through this valley with us.  It means more than they know.