The first night in Tanzania we stayed in Dar es Salaam. I was rooming with Pastor Horacio of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Oakdale. He had also been at Shepherd of the Hills in the past, so I knew him before the trip. I’m sure Horacio became tired of me unpacking and realizing something else I had forgotten. “Oh no, I forgot to bring any soap.” “Oh no, I forgot to pack pajamas.” “Oh no, I forgot the charger for my cell phone.” “Oh no, I forgot….” There were many things I had been meaning to pack and didn’t end up putting in my bags.
I had been through it before. It was a symptom of grief. My Dad’s death and funeral were about two weeks before we left for Tanzania. I thought I was handling it fairly well. I was functioning and getting ready for the trip. But my mind wasn’t always as focused as it should have been. It was after the unpacking that I figured out what was going on.
I understood it because I had been through it after Debbie had passed away. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be go into the bathroom upstairs to get the dirty clothes out of the laundry hamper only to find myself in the basement a half hour later looking for a screwdriver while the laundry was still upstairs. There were many times like that where I would be working on something and become distracted by something else that needed to be done. So, I would immediately move to the other task with the original task completely out of mind for a time.
Lack of focus, absent mindedness, forgetfulness, inability to complete tasks. I had them all. Everyone’s grief journey is different. This doesn’t happen to everyone. But it is a common symptom of grief.
But, back in Tanzania. There I was understanding what had happened but without a charger for my cell phone. I wasn’t planning on making calls; in fact, I left the phone in airplane mode the entire time I was in Tanzania. But it was going to be my camera for the trip. As I stood on the verge of panic, a cooler head rescued me. Horacio asked if I had a USB cable for the phone. When I said yes, he pointed out that I could plug that into my Chromebook and charge it that way.
I was relieved; Pastor Horacio had saved me. I shouldn’t have been surprised; after all, he is in the business of saving people.
This post is a follow up to an earlier post (http://www.timkwrites.com/blog/you-are-the-world).
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that….
God’s love for the world isn’t just for the sum total of “the world”. It’s also for each individual part of the world, especially including you.
Jesus came to save the world. But, when it comes down to it, God loves you so much that if it was only for you that Jesus had to suffer and die He would have done it. God knows all about you; the number of hairs on your head, every stray thought, all your actions good and bad. You are loved with a love that surpasses all understanding. You are loved enough that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for you.
You are special.
Do you ever get upset with others? Have people wronged you? Next time you’re mad at another person please remember the following.
Jesus came to save the world. But, when it comes down to it, God loves that person so much that if it was only for them that Jesus had to suffer and die He would have done it. God knows all about them; the number of hairs on their head, every stray thought, all their actions good and bad. That person is loved with a love that surpasses all understanding. That person is loved enough that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for them.
Everybody else is special too.
During Debbie’s battle with breast cancer I kept people informed about what was happening via a Caring Bridge site (www.CaringBridge.org/visit/DebbieHillarKane). After Debbie had passed away and I had stopped posting someone commented that they would be happy to read if I wanted to post further updates or memories. So, I decided to start this blog.
The reason I bring this up is because this will be my 100th posting including both Caring Bridge and this blog. I thought I would share some of my reflections about writing these posts.
When I started this blog I made a commitment to post something every week on Tuesday. I’m proud of myself that I’ve mostly kept that up. Working with a deadline has given me a whole new appreciation for journalists and their work. Day in and day out I get my newspaper with articles, columns, opinions and analysis with high-quality writing.
I decided early on that this blog would not be a political blog. That was the right decision for what I’ve been trying to do with this blog. I have been tempted at times. So, I’m going to take this opportunity to make a quick political comment. When you see how badly thing are working in Washington with the generation that is the first generation that was raised with TV in power, it makes you realize why pediatricians recommend no TV for young children. There, that helps to have gotten that off my chest. I’m not sure I’ll be able to last another 100 posts, but it will hopefully cover me for a while.
I do better when I’m writing if I can write something, let it sit for a while and then come back to it. So I apologize for the quality of some of my posts which were written in haste late in the night on Tuesdays.
I’ve enjoyed writing tremendously and feel that I’ve had some personal growth through doing this. But, I would trade all that in a heartbeat if Debbie hadn’t gotten breast cancer. It’s a little over three years since she’s been gone. The grief gets less intense and more spread out over time, but it never goes away entirely. Sunday, I found something of hers in the back of a desk drawer and it hit me. I just had to stop what I was doing. My love for Debbie didn’t die with her, it’s still here.
One of my favorite things with this blog is the support and positive encouragement I have received from people who have read it. Thank you to all my readers I am so grateful to have you as a part of my life.
John 3:16 – THE Verse. Ask any group of people at church for their favorite verse and this one inevitably pops up. It even shows up in the end zone at football games. Many people connect with it. I didn’t.
John 3:16 reads “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That’s nice, Jesus with his great love lays down his life for the whole world, saving billions. I’m just one of the billions. It’s good, but not very personal.
One Sunday when I went to church at Shepherd of the Hills in the old sanctuary I sat in a row of pews I had never sat in before. Along one wall there were two rows of pews that faced directly into the sanctuary instead of looking forward at the altar. I think maybe they ended up with some extra pews and these were just plunked down in some empty space. We had arrived late and found seats in the back of these two rows. I’m six-four so I have a lot of leg. The space between these pews and the row in front was about a foot. I had trouble sitting down. As I sat in discomfort I’m afraid I didn’t pay too close of attention to the service.
I started thinking of some Old Testament Bible stories. God started the world by making just one person. Noah and the flood. In all the world only Noah was a good person. God could have just wiped the slate clean and started over, but when it came down to it for the sake of Noah he figured out a way to save him. God and Moses. God and David. God and any number of different people. It hit me then. That God wants to have personal relationships with people. And God has the ability to have personal relationships with billions of people without becoming impersonal. Suddenly THE Verse becomes very personal.
Jesus came to save the world. But, when it comes down to it, God loves you so much that if it was only for you that Jesus had to suffer and die, He would have done it. God knows all about you; the number of hairs on your head, every stray thought, all your actions good and bad. You are loved with a love that surpasses all understanding. You are loved enough that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for YOU.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.