Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Suicidal Thoughts Part 2

Interruptions are good and necessary parts of life.

Children in our bed at night, unexpected visitors, housecleaning.

Sometimes the interruption of life is death.

It seems weird and twisted to be writing about death, especially suicide, on the eve of Thanksgiving.

But it's necessary.

For one, I have to finish this post.
I gave some thought to not writing a part 2, but since I started a "part 1,"
And number two, I want to follow through because it's part of my reflection/grief process.

So, it's been five weeks. Thirty five days since I got that awful phone call. Since the shock of death by my beloved Grandma's own hand (still hard to say/write). (BTW if any readers want to ask questions, talk about it, I welcome it).

I'm still finding myself in a weird fog. Some days I'm too tired to even think about "it," and other times I just don't. I've got meetings, tasks to complete, and kids at my heels.  But occasionally the fog lifts abruptly and awkwardly like a mom pulling the blankets off her oversleeping teenager.

I'm interrupted with having to think, having to grieve.

I saw this (sorta cheesy), picture frame in a store and got choked up. ** Interruption.**

 On Halloween I was eating some candy corn and remembered how since I was a kid (up until last year), she would call/leave a message on Halloween saying, "I VANT to suck your blood, Ah, Ah, Ah, Ehhhh," in a "Transvlannian accent." ( I loved it!).  ** Interruption.**

And then in random moment, one of my kids will casually and uncomfortably ask,  "Who's going to die next?" and it's over. **Interruption**

So in one sense, I just want to be DONE with the sad interruptions that nip at me like a mosquito.

And go back to being normal. But then, I realize this could be the new normal.
 I'm finding these little biting reality checks remind me I'm human. Maybe they're actually more normal, and life-giving,  than not. (Because let's be honest the "old normal," could have just been a lame routine oblivious to things God wanted to see).

 I need to learn to be present. I need to choose to breathe and breathe deeply and see those interruptions as opportunities to have Holy Spirit experiences.

 It hit me walking through some construction in Redwood City. I recorded some thoughts on a  VLOG here.

God is ever present with us, with you,  with me. He's fully in tomorrow, next week, and every decade from now and forever. But somehow a lie creeps in that if I can just get to some magical place, that's not this moment, that it will all be OK. I'm learning, and trying (not always successfully), to welcome interruptions and actually linger within them, knowing that I'm on a journey with God. He's with me.
 (Which leads me again to plug one of the best encouraging daily reading books called, "Jesus Calling."  Here's a page that gave me perspective this week.

One clarification. I do think there's a difference between God's interruptions  (to speak, heal, make us aware etc), and a distraction of temptation and lies.
I''ll write another post about those distinctions some day, in the not so distant future.

For now, I just need to be present...and thankful.

(And trust God will do his thing. This (overplayed) song often interrupts me emotionally, too, and I can't hold back the tears.  He makes all things good. He makes all things new. He makes all things beautiful).

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bridesmaids, groomsmen, kleenex and dog movies

Gonna take a break and write part 2 of this post after I gush about love!

I'm a sap. This was true even before I was married and had daughters. I've been known to hide kleenex in my pocket in order to get through most Pixar movies. (Or any films about fathers, kids, or where the dog dies..or almost dies. Yes, I'm talking about Homeword Bound).

And being a dad of three girls, whoa, I can cry you a river. So, it should go with out saying that weddings, a good wedding where you just love and trust that the two saying "I do" are in it for real and for God, touch me. (My daughters are many decades away from weddings and I choke up even thinking about walking them down the aisle some day).

This weekend we'll celebrating a PCC couple loved by many, Kristin and Victor, the future Hernandezes (Nice ring to it. Seems like a long last name, but my alas last name is still longer).
 See their website here:

When I was looking over their wedding website,  I loved clicking on the link for their wedding party and reading about their friendships (the bridesmaids and groomsmen). They chose people to not only stand up and support them on their wedding day, but to lift them up their whole marriage through. What I loved, was that so many of their friendships were forged in Jesus, and many of them from their church (PCC) community. What a cool thing. I appreciate this and pray that the Church, and our community, continues to foster AND model the beauty of these types of relationships, so that we can love each other well. And so we can see many, many lives changed through the process and ripple effect... and many, many dogs living long, happy lives. I better go, I need some Kleenex.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Suicidal Thoughts Part 1

 I'm glad Halloween is over (I'm done with the trying to explain/shield my little ones from bloody, hanging faces on on porches), and I'm glad that the salted, caramel mocha is not offered at Starbucks anymore (I was getting way too much sugar and calories from that thing). And yes, glad the election mud throwing is over, too.

In general, I'm glad we're in new month!

Thank you November for showing up. Thank you daylight savings for making my 5:30am wake-ups a wee bit easier. And thank you Starbucks for the Peppermint White Mochas. I simply needed the change, the change of season.

October felt like a fog, a deep heavy, wet, dry, hazy, month. Yes, all in one.  It was tough.

I'm not trying to be all dark and "emo,"but I am still in process (and may be for some time) over the recent tragedy in my family that marked October for me. (See my last post).

Let me take it back, in this first of two posts, on what I experienced.

About four weeks ago I walked passed a group of kids. Third graders. They were doing what eight and nine year old boys do. They were climbing trees and throwing rocks. Not a big deal, right?
And I was on my way, somewhere, to do something important, at least I'm sure that's what I thought at the moment. When in a matter of twenty seconds something else became more important.

I heard one of the boys causally say, "Ugh, I'd rather kill myself ..then play ...(something about a game suggested by one of the other boys, etc)."

I didn't even catch the rest of what he was saying.
 All I heard was, "I'd rather kill myself..."

Now, I didn't call the suicide prevention hotline or run to his aid and hold him in the fetal position. I knew he was just using a "figure of speech." Something many of us say on a regular basis say and mean nothing by it. It may hold the depth of equivalent to asking someone, "How are you," as we quickly pass them by.

Some of us even pull out our fake finger guns and pull the fake trigger to our heads when we describe our days. "Hey how was your day?" Cue: 

This trivialized piece of our culture hurts me. Now more than ever.

And some reason on this day in early October, it hit me in a powerful way that I believe now has impacted me forever.

As I walked by those boys, in an instant I was having flashes of faces and experiences. My mind filled with experiences from my past where I had experienced first hand people who actually did kill themselves. Thankfully the number was low. Three to be exact. One was my good friend's father, and another was a good friend, someone Ia spent a lot of time with. This someone I had shared life with and prayed with a lot. Then one night he didn't show up to a normal hang out time, (which honestly, he flaked a lot so I didn't think anything of it). But the next morning I got the phone call no one ever wants to get. It was over 12 years ago, before I had a cell phone or texting abilities, but I still had that question in my mind, "What if I would have reached out, or called him just one more time?"

All these memories flooded back. I remembered where I was when I found out, what kind of day it was, what smell was in the air. It was overwhelming.

So I simply began to pray. I prayed for peace, and I prayed for people I hadn't prayed for in a while. People who might be still in the process of grief. People, who I'm sure, choke up at the sound of their loved one's name.

 And then I felt God lead me to pray for others...others who might, at that very moment, be considering taking their own life. 

Unexpected interruption of my day.
It was deep.
It felt odd, but not unusual, actually right, and comfortable.

God has lead me to pray for people I've never met many times. Kids in Africa, nameless slaves among the twenty-seven million, celebrities, etc.

But in this way, I thought, "Wow, Lord! Could I actually be praying for someone I know, or that I might even pass by today, who will preserve their life because you have intervened through your Spirit?'

It got me thinking, it got me excited. So, I simply prayed.
I had no idea what God was preparing me for......
1-Have you ever looked around and prayed for strangers?
2-Have you ever thought about the pain and heartbreak of those you live, work, and worship around?
(Those who look like everything is great on the outside, but might be dying from within?).
3-What if you let God interrupt you more, made "those" phone calls, and simply trusted God could work out his goodness in and through you no matter what?

Part 2 soon.