Thirty Years and This Year

August, 15, 2008

It seems, when I’m not being diligent about posting blogs, I always take a moment on certain days of the year to note a specific and formative event in my life: my mother’s death. Believe me, I don’t revisit this topic to garner pity. Honestly, I do revisit it to continue to share how I’m feeling about it, and to share the piece I wrote about five years ago dealing with her death, called Sadness Breeds. (Click the link to read it on this website, or get the .pdf.) And it seems, each year, I have plenty of opportunities to discuss that and share it...her birthday, mother’s day, and today, which is the anniversary of her death. But today’s today is a little more significant, mainly because we’re a society that fancies round numbers. Today is the 30th anniversary of my mother’s death. On August 15, 1978, she chose to leave this world. I was nine. I’m now thirty-nine. Sure, that math was easy and obvious. But it still seems strange for me to be experiencing this moment and acknowledging that. I’m a grown man, and though inside I’m still nine sometimes, or 19, or 24, I’m officially pushing 40. Some days, I have no idea how old I am.

Thirty years. I won’t ask where it all went, because I know exactly where it went, what I did with it, and how much of it is still here with me. And because this year has been a fantastic year for me personally and spiritually, I'll recap a few things that have happened and are happening.

Having moved here to Seattle last November, I launched a new season of my life, with a new apartment in a new city, a new job, a new church home, new friends and social circles, and many other things I could describe simply using the word ‘new.’

In my last blog, regarding unfinished blogs from my summer of '07 road trip, I said: "by summer's end, I publicly pledge to have finished writing all those blogs, and revamped my personal website to host them." Ummmm….yeah. That’s not going well. The website revamping is going very well! The writing of the summer trip blogs? Not so much. That public pledge...ooooh, I’m gonna eat that one I just know it. Still, I’m excited about getting to those and finishing. Not to make excuses, but here’s what else is going on with me that has contributed to my lack of follow-through on that:

I just committed to a one year internship at my church, Mars Hill West Seattle, and will be assisting the campus Productions & Communications Director, Nate, with leading the production team for our new 5pm Sunday service. During this commitment, I’ll be going through a deacon training process, which my church takes very seriously, according to scripture in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Another amazing this happened this year. One week from today will be what would have been the 10th anniversary of my wedding. The day after that will mark the 7th anniversary of my divorce. Until earlier this year, my ex-wife and I had not seen each other or spoken in nearly five or six years. Yet out of the blue, she contacted me in February to own up to her actions in our marriage, to accept responsibility for her part, and to ask for my forgiveness and offer her for my actions. This was an answer to prayer. When we divorced (my choice), she was devastated and feeling betrayed, wondering if she would ever love again or be worthy of love again. She barely felt worthy of being loved the first time and I really wrecked that. I feared she would hold onto that for a very long time, and worse, I feared she might be incapable of growth for a very long time. In a way, both were true. Yet over the last few years, she has grown and gained important perspective. I see that as God working in her life. She chooses not to see it that way. For me, her contacting me was an opportunity for me to share the Gospel with her. Sadly, she recently rejected it and asked that I no longer discuss religion with her, and respect her choice to believe as she does.

I mention this because I have been wanting to be married again for quite some time, but have not dated much, purposefully. I wanted my relationship with Jesus to come first, and feel like I was a man ready to truly love his wife as a Christian man should, and lead her spiritually. Of course, I didn’t realize that this sense of closure with my ex-wife was a part of God’s plan in the timing of it all. I’ve always felt I was free to date someone. Now, I feel not only free to do so, but nearly ready, personally and spiritually. And that’s a good place. My struggle is that I am so excited at the idea of dating towards marriage, the desire to marry is sometimes an idol in my life, and that is something I cannot allow. I cannot worship the prospect of marriage or a wife. I must focus on Jesus and worship Him only, and if blessed with a relationship and a wife, I must maintain Him as the focus. I cannot love my wife the way Christ loves the Church if He is not the true center of my life.

So it’s been thirty years since one of the most formative events in my life, which was a death. This year, I’m in a great season of my life, experiencing a process of events that prove to me that God is good, and life is worth it.