somebody’s always dying

It’s Tuesday.  I’m more exhausted, and farther behind, but the weekend is closer, and I’m sure I’ll get everything caught up then, and it will all work out somehow (see monday).

So, I decided to celebrate by having a cup of coffee and checking my email.  I was pleased to find my weekly message from Relevant, and even more excited to see the article was about coffee, and direct-trade coffee at that.

After reading the article and being slightly fascinated, I googled Tim Taylor at Coffee Ambassadors and found their site:  http://www.coffeeambassadors.com/home.  Intrigued further, and craving coffee, I happily clicked around the links on the pages until I found “Nate’s Page”.

My perusing was interrupted by a coworker who started a conversation about policy documents (aaaggghhh!), but then transitioned to the news, presented with red-face and teary-eyes, that her father-in-law was put on life-support yesterday and is not expected to survive this latest bout with multiple physical issues.  She and her husband spent most of last night on the phone with her husband’s mother and his 10 siblings.

“Nate’s Page” presented a cute family picture of Nate (Tim Taylor’s brother), his wife, Lauren, and their newborn son, Jack.  The links from that page beckoned me to a deeper story on Lauren’s blog and explained why Nate needed a page.  He died just after Jack was born when his boat capsized on a freezing lake during a Thanksgiving-weekend fishing trip with a friend.

Now, my Tuesday procrastination-celebration day has been soaked in tears.  (Read Lauren’s The Ripple Effect page to put an exclamation on that point.)

Back at the Coffee Ambassadors’ site, preparing to order coffee and planning to change my life to join Tim’s mission, I found another link titled Memorial Fund.  I thought it must have been about Nate, but when I followed that link I discovered it was about Carlos and Edwin and Juana.

Carlos was the manager of the coffee plantation in Guatemela from which Tim gets the coffee he sells through Coffee Ambassadors.  Carlos, and his 17-year-old son, Edwin, were killed last February by bandits while climbing the mountain back to the farm with supplies and payroll money.  Carlos’ wife, Juana, was left with their eleven other children to raise.

Suddenly, Tuesday, is filled with concerns bigger than financial statements and procrastination.  It’s filled with tears and stirred emotions and questions.

Now, I’m reminded of the video I watched with Renee last night of Steven Curtis Chapman’s family on Larry King last week discussing the recent death of their adopted 5-year-old daughter, Maria, after she was struck by a car driven by their son, Will, in their driveway.

I have a Will, too, and he’ll be driving in a few years.  I have a 5-year-old girl, Ellie, too, and I adore her.

I’m reminded of Carla’s son, Zachary, and Hunter’s brother, Carson, and Laura’s husband, Jeff, and Gary’s son, Spencer, and Julia’s daughter, Meghan, and Angie’s father, Frank, and Trina’s grandfather, Grandpa G*******, and my own father, Papa, and countless others.

While I’ve typed this, many fathers, their children, mothers, wives and grandparents, have died.  I’m not even aware of them.  Somebody’s always dying.

Why?  Is all this death really necessary?  Death is the enemy, right?  The power of death has been destroyed by the resurrection, right?  Am I just misunderstanding some elusive concept of natural vs. spiritual death?  Am I just misunderstanding death?  I know everything can be redeemed by the grace of God.  I know God can make stuff we call evil turn into what he calls good.

What can I do?  I want to help widows and orphans.  I want to fight.  I want to hold somebody I love really close.  I guess that’s the ripple effect and the redemption in process.

For now, I’m just ordering coffee, and leaving a comment, and making a donation, and day-dreaming Tuesday away.

(My coworker just came in to say through tears that her father-in-law is gone.  She’s leaving for the day, maybe longer.  Dear Jesus, help us, please.)

3 thoughts on “somebody’s always dying”

  1. I am currently substituting for a lady who has worked in our high school office for over twenty years. She has three children and five grandchildren one of which was born only two months ago. In April, while undergoing scans for a minor surgery the doctor found a spot on her lung which they removed and discovered it was melanoma. They did further scans and found two tumors in her brain one is really close to the brain stem. On Monday she had surgery to remove the tumors. She has been diagnosed with “Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma”. They say that she has only 6 to 7 months to live and that only 17% of people survive this type of cancer. In order to spend what time she has left with her family, she will be retiring. My husband’s family is very close to this woman and her family, in fact, this lady’s daughter was my son’s math and science teacher last year. We have all been affected in some way by this woman’s story. For me, it has made me want to get my priorities in order. To spend more time with my family and not worry about the small stuff like dishes, laundry, and bills. When I die, will it matter to them if I kept a clean house or will it be more important that I spent time with them laughing, crying, working, or just hanging out? Keeping in touch with friends through email or over coffee and watching your sons dance the night away is more important than sprinklers that work. I think that you made the right choices over the weekend. Love you brother – keep up the good work!

  2. Alisa –
    Thanks for the comment! It’s always nice to read what my sister writes. You should do more. That’s what I’m talking about: the Ripple Effect that Lauren describes, and you have experienced, must be some redemptive value for all of the dying. Sometimes, though, the ripple feels like a tidal wave. Love you!

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