Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Taste of Salt

Sometimes you just don't know how to feel. I mean, feelings can be deceptive anyway. You can't trust them. They will tell you one thing tonight and another thing in the morning. So I try to not put too much stock in them. On the other hand, feelings are real. They are one of many windows into the soul. And while it is easy to give them too much credit there is also a danger in ignoring them altogether. They are often trying to tell you something. Finding the balance is tough.

Tomorrow we are flying down to the Lone Star State to visit our most excellent friend, Dave. Over the last decades we have had great times flying down mountains on waxed boards together, shooting fireworks at neighboring roofs (don't ask,) grilling steaks in the backyard (he likes his to resemble what a cow would look like after a fire at the stockyards. Extra crispy. Sick man.) We raised our kids and tormented our wives together. Good times.

You might remember that Dave's bride, Lynda, was called home to heaven last May. It was a crushing blow to all of us, and of course, especially Dave to lose her. Not that we really lost her. She's at "home." With Jesus. And if we know where she is how can she really be lost? But she is lost to us. It feels that way. (There is that word again.) We can't see her smile which was ever present. We can't hear her laugh which was totally infectious. We can't find her ... and to the senses of earth she feels lost.

This will be our first visit to their home without her around. We are so anxious to see Dave. He has visited us here at our place since her home-going. But we have not been there. So we are excited to get to see him. But a hollowness is already settling into our souls as we consider the depth of the loss we anticipate feeling. This is the same loss that Dave has lived with every day since May. We need to feel it. He doesn't need to be the only one to bear it. The four of us were too close for too long to allow that. As I have said, we raised our kids together. But who walks into pain voluntarily with a smile? The smile of the reunion is greatly tempered by the dread of the empty chair.

Death does that to a heart. It takes joy and crushes it into a million pieces until it taunts your memories as a mocking demon. It brings a steely taste to your mouth. I have conducted too many funerals in my life and I suspect I'll do more before my own rolls around. Personally, I'm tired of them. This is exactly why God went to such great lengths to eliminate death. This is why He sent His Son to the cross. He knew about the sting. He knew about the hopelessness. And so Jesus came. And He stared death in the eye smacked it around, crushed it's head, and walked away the victor. And we will too if we trust Him. There will come a day ... I fully believe this ... that the four of us will ski down the highest mountain we can imagine and not one of us will fall. We will carve long, wide turns in deep powder. We will laugh and play and slide to a stop together, breathing in the beauty of the New Heaven and the New Earth. It's coming. I can't see it yet. But I know it is out there. There is great joy in anticipation of this magnitude. It is a joy that cannot be equaled on earth. The joy of knowing that the death of a friend will be overcome by the power of a resurrection. And it isn't a dream. It isn't wishful thinking. It is real. We will on that day taste the flavor of the best steaks grilled to perfection.

But for now we will go to our friend. He has cried. And we must taste the salt of his tears. It is what friends do.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Over a nice dinner tonight with our friends Eric and Stephanie we, as usual, engaged in deep conversation. Tonights topic centered around what we would miss most if we had no thumbs. Intriguing to say the least. Here's our best efforts ...

(Please note that this was a group effort. Except for #1 ... the last one. That was all Eric's. He tested it and wanted you to know.)

-Certainly no hitch-hiking.
-Picking your nose would become totally one dimensional. Boring. No way to flick a booger.
-Just try eating a hot dog with everything on it. Better get a bib.
-Squeezing ketchup bottles? Not happening.
-Use the space bar? Forget about it.
-I dare you to try flipping a coin.
-"Rat Pack" impersonations are impossible if you can't snap your fingers.
-Got a Tee Time? Might as well cancel. You ain't swinging nothing thumblessly.
-You're gonna need some help brushing your teeth.
-And the number 1 thing that would go wrong without thumbs ... I believe this gem was Eric's ... and I'll put this as politely as possible. Gentlemen ... you might as well leave the seat down. (Apologies to all of you I just offended. Leave a comment and I'll give you Eric's cell phone number.)