I have had this blog for almost 4 years and during that time I have never written on the subject of faith as it pertains to our healing. I did this because I wanted everyone who visited this blog to feel welcomed regardless of their beliefs. However, it is an important topic to discuss because many people find healing in their faith. Although I am not a fan of organized religion (for many reasons we will not discuss here), faith and my relationship with God was one of the most important parts of my healing. Without it, I am not sure I would have made it through the very dark times. The following article was written by and sent to me by fellow grieving dad, Steve Christen. Peace.
LANDING ON SOLID GROUND
Last week for our 50th birthdays, Julie and I decided to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Now that does not sound logical, reasonable or rational to most people. We paid our money, signed our waivers, put on a “jump” suit and listened to some very basic instructions on how to behave while falling at 120mph. Our guarantee was that if we forgot everything, our instructor would control our fall and assist us to the ground safely.
It’s obvious that sky diving is a unique culture of extreme thrill seekers. These confident jumpers were ALL smiles, high fiving each other and ensuring their petrified customers that “all will be fine.” All we needed to do was relax, remember to breathe, keep our eyes open and try to “enjoy the ride.” They obviously knew that there was more to jumping out of an airplane then pure terror.
Once we all packed into the plane like sardines, we flew to 17,500 feet. The door to the plane opened and we all started moving towards the gaping hole. I was tethered to my instructor so we had to scoot together down the bench towards the inevitable abyss. It’s amazing how many things your mind can think of in a couple of seconds. One of those thoughts was this; “I would NEVER be able to do this if I wasn’t tethered tightly to somebody who had “been there and done that” and had experience.”
In some ways, my skydiving experience reflects my five year grief journey. Early on, my grief certainly felt like an unwanted terrifying plunge into the unknown. I felt powerless to stop the fall and the disorientation assaulted my entire being. It seemed like I had no knowledge or skills that would safely land my family or I on solid ground once again. If I had not remembered the “basics” I would have become hopeless and resigned to hitting the ground in despair. Yet even on my darkest days, my Instructor whispered in my ear one simple truth – “I will never leave you nor forsake you, I will mend your broken heart and bind up your wounds.” That helped me to breathe, to relax, to trust in the One I was tethered to and to rely on His ability to guide me to the ground.
Today, I was reminded that I have landed on the ground exactly where my Instructor intended. This morning, I was privileged to baptize a firefighter friend of mine in Horsetooth Reservoir. Five years ago, he responded to assist on the auto accident that claimed the life of my daughter Rachel. He knew Rachel since she had babysat for his kids several times and her death rocked him deeply. Over the next several years, other painful events happened that led to fear and doubts and a desire to control his life. One year ago, he came to me in tears confessing that his life was out of control and that he was “broken.” He was a broken man, husband, father and employee. I listened and prayed with him and introduced him to my Instructor. After going home and reading the book of John, he surrendered his life and gave up his control. In the cold waters of Horsetooth Reservoir this morning, we hugged each other realizing that we have both landed on solid ground, thanks to our loving and Almighty Instructor.
The Apostle Peter writes encouragement to those “who suffer according to God’s will”. He reminds us of what is true in our suffering and challenges us to faithfully employ two very specific actions –
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should COMMIT themselves to their faithful Creator and CONTINUE to do good.” 1 Peter 4:19