Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bereavement means robbery

I am remembering my Mom and Dad, these days. My Dad passed into the glory of eternal life in Jesus in April of 1985.  My Mom passed into that very same glory in February of 2010.  I have wonderful memories of my parents.  I recently completed a six-week bereavement small group with Grief Counselor Michele Ray and GriefWorks.  On Friday morning, I attended their wonderful annual appreciation breakfast in Auburn.
                                                P.O. Box 912 • Auburn, WA 98071-0912
                                                  253-333-9420 •

GriefWorks provides bereavement services for all ages, families, small, groups, churches, schools, and even businesses.  The lasting "take-home" from my sessions with Michele and our support group is a definition of bereavement which is robbery.   

Paul spoke about the Christian responses to death.

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:      

    “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
    “O death, where is your victory?
     O death, where is your sting?”

     The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:54-57

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Christians recognize the sting of death and sin and grieve the loss of loved family members and dearest friends.  Death brings pain into our experience.  Each person responds to death differently as we mourn and grieve our loss. Each of the passages proclaims stunning and glorious HOPE for every Christian.

I've been chewing on the meaning we applied to bereavement--robbery.  Death robbed me of  my parents in this life, here.  The result of my parent's passing--both faithful Christians--is a wonderful assurance of their places together in heaven and so many other eternal things.  Still, the impact of their deaths is painful robbery.  In our case, death caused crippling, numbing family disorder. The bereavement or grief small group is helping me work through my reactions to our disorder.

                                                     An early morning Saturday game

I love every memory of my parents.  I was sharing with a father and son together in our church recently as they are taking huge steps in their relationship when the Lord seemed to bring to mind a memory with my Dad when I was perhaps in elementary or junior high school.

As my lifetime friends well know, my faith in Christ and baseball mark my life.  Other men are marked by lifetime interest railroads, chess, or hunting and fishing.  My thing has always been baseball.  I love to coach basketball and keep statistics for the Kentridge Chargers football team.  

I study, read, umpire, and watch baseball. Friends will tell you I watch and coach my way through a game.  My Mom left the Saturday afternoon television major league baseball game on while she cleaned the house after I left home to attend WSU.  I remember my parents asking each other how baseball with their oldest son came about. Neither took responsibility.

One Saturday morning really early, I couldn't sleep so I went out to our kitchen and living room in Federal Way to play out my own baseball game.  I brought out my glove, ball, and bat and proceeded to play out a game by myself, pitch-by-pitch, inning-by-inning, as real for me as if I was playing for the Mariners, Giants, or Dodgers while announcing the game as a radio broadcaster.  

There were players and a score.  I was playing out the game with times at bat, pitching, and fielding expecting to complete the nine innings. I was thoroughly engaged in a live game.

I was carrying on my game when I became aware my Dad was watching all this in his pajamas, leaning on the kitchen counter, wondering when I might notice him... hopefully sooner than later, obviously.

Ichiro sprints to first
My game was about in the fourth inning and was immediately suspended until normal game hours and I was banished to the clubhouse, my bedroom halfway down the hall.  I was to remain in my bedroom and in bed until normal morning hours.  

I don't remember what he said exactly but I do remember moving faster than Willie Mays running down a fly ball or Ichiro Suzuki beating out an infield hit into my clubhouse.  I don't recall punishment.  There were no more early morning games, but many played out in my mind, all before ESPN.  


1 comment:

Travis said...

Bring out the mustard and rye bread. You hit that one outta-the-park.