I walked into work a week ago and was shocked that a co-worker I worked with for some 20+ years had passed overnight. He was 43. I had just talked with him in passing the day before — and now he was gone. Just like that.
A few days later the world was shocked to learn of the passing of Robin Williams. When he died it left us all missing his incredible wit and talent. He was able to bring humor to almost everything.
So to say I have been reflective would be quite the understatement.
Death is a strange thing. You can anticipate it — or not. it’s never without shock. It leaves a void for those left here to anticipate our own terminal exit.
So where have I turned for answers?
The Elvis Channel on Sirius XM… Did you know that there is an entire radio channel devoted to Elvis Presley? Alright, I know I am strange — but before you entirely write me off of not having any credibility, hear me out.
I have been an Elvis fan ever since I can remember. Even before I took a shine to The Beatles, it was Elvis. I remember wearing out a red RCA 45 of Hound Dog.
When my grandmother had passed away — It was comfort from Elvis’ Gospel albums that eased my pain.
Elvis was bigger than life to an 11 year old! I got to see him live and in concert — I’ll never forget it. I was frozen. I was entranced! I stood and watched in shock. He waved to ME as he turned around, and I’ll never ever forget that moment being that close to a legend.
A couple years later as a freshman starting high school, he passed suddenly with a shock, and he was gone. It was a profound loss and introduction to grief . I never knew him PERSONALLY, but yet he was a super big part of me, and it was suddenly gone. (“Gone, Gone, Gone…. Whoaaaa”.– Sorry.)
Going back and remembering Elvis takes me back to a simpler time in my life, and even if nobody else see’s the correlation, it makes sense to me.
Exactly what AM I trying to say? I don’t know. When I get this way, I write. The emotions come out and helps me sort out the pain.
Everybody loved Robin. Everybody has a moment from a movie that they crack up on in retrospect. — and yet he sucumbed to pain so great that the escape was in leaving. I’ve been at that threshold and I choose not to hide that it ever came that close.
Let me tell you — everybody says that there is so much help available to prevent such things… I’ll not argue that — but I’m here today to tell you that THAT isn’t true. I PUT myself in the presence of those who I thought could help. I cried out in pain and shared my heart. It fell on deaf ears.
I don’t know if they didn’t hear what I was saying — or couldn’t wrap their head around my words. I was always careful to not speak of the depth of my pain for fear of being put away — so maybe it was my own fault — I don’t know…
I can best describe it as a spirit that will separate you from everybody and everything. The spirit will tell you lies… How you don’t matter. How everybody would be better off without you. How much better it would be for your family if you were not in the picture. Lies! You will drive down the road and that spirit will whisper in your ear. “Just drive off the road.” “All you have to do is head-on into that semi.” “Just a few too many pills and it will all be over.” Lies!
And you are alone. Separated from everybody. Every sane remainder inside of you tells you it’s a lie — but slowly you consider it. You are one impulsive moment away from a permanent solution to a temporary feeling.
Honestly? This blog is still a raw reminder of my reflections. This piece still has no real direction… Cause frankly, I feel a great deal of pain in all of those reflections of death. My parents. My coworker. Robin. Elvis. Johnny Cash… Others who will remain unnamed who I hold in high regard and to which I have neither time or words to describe what they brought to my life. Everybody you meet is a part of your life. You will either push them away, or welcome them in.
What have I learned?
“God is…” I saw this graphic yesterday and received a great deal of peace through it.
When that suicidal spirit dogged me relentlessly, it was the love and peace of God that resided inside of me that told me the words and voices were LIES! God is LOVE. God is TRUTH. When the words told me I was NOBODY — God whispered to me — “YOU ARE SOMEBODY — And you are MINE.”
And yet the pain is REAL.
Someday, my time will come too. If I had words to leave that made my life worth living, what would those words be? What conglomeration of cliches do I repeat and cast forward to another generation?
Even though life is painful, God is REAL. Seek Him. This world will NEVER make a lick of sense until you FIND Him, and realize that without Him, it’s all chaos. We are born — and we will die. The ONLY thing you take away is a decision as to if God is who He says He is — Or not. Choose today, you are not guaranteed a tomorrow.
Along the way, you will meet others along the same path as yourself.
Everybody is fighting a battle you are not aware of. Everybody.
We judge others by their behavior — and yet judge ourselves by our intentions. Why is it we cannot extend the same grace to others? Forgive. Forgive others — and forgive yourself. We all live in the same broken world.
Do not hold on to what you have so tightly that it consumes you. I tell my children of those things “I had to have.” And just a few years later they were so obsolete that they were entirely worthless. Monetary riches are momentary. Seasons change. God remains God, and unchanged from season to season. Seasons change, circumstances change, people come and go. Memories are sweet. God remains the same — yesterday and today. Seek Him. Let Him be the rock you stand tall on.
I realize I am human. I realize my lack. I finally cry out to God in prayer as I am driving to work this morning. “You know my pain. You know my intentions. You know my sins, my shortcomings, my sincerity… You know my heart.” And somehow I “feel” the voice of God tell me “You are mine.”
I ask “What do I have to do? How can I seek You past all of my shortcomings?”
“You are mine… I created you. You have purpose, and I love you.”
And just then the song comes on the radio: “Just As I Am” by Fernando Ortega.
“I waited and waited for God He turned and He heard me. He lifted me out of the mud – His Own Hands They cured me. The Lord is my help I will not be confounded — So I have focused my face like a flint I’ll not be ashamed… Lord I come. Just as I am — Without one plea…But that Your blood was shed for me.”