“Jenny’s death was the spiritual earthquake that left me searching through the rubble for the remnants of my faith.” Beverly Ross, Summit 2011
September is a difficult month for me. In September 2010, my brother, Robert, died. The next year, a good friend from church, Teri Simons, also died. I hate September.
But do I really need to?
In 2010, after Robert died, my wife, children, and I drove from Abilene, TX, to Delmar, MD. We stayed there for five days. We shared stories. We shared laughter. We shared tears. People flew from Texas and drove from as far as Vermont to attend the funeral. People from Robert’s work, members of several churches, and even some of my high school friends arrived to grieve with us.
The outpouring of love was incredible. The night we arrived at my parent’s house I received a phone call from Texas. Teri (along with others whose anonymity I will honor in this post) devised a plan to help raise money for my family. The amount of money they raised was exactly the amount of money my wife and I spent on the trip. When we got back home to Abilene, I shared that with Teri and this is what she said: “Paul, I wanted to help you because I knew how much money you had to spend and how much work you and Shawna were missing. But I only had two dollars. So I thought if I could add my two dollars to a lot of other people’s two dollars it might make a difference.”
I will never forget Teri’s love and service to my family. I am glad I told her over and over again before she died. I cannot wait until I get to tell her again.
So back to my question: do I really need to hate September?
The quote above was delivered in September of 2011 at ACU’s Summit. Summit is an incredible experience every year. In 2009, my wife and I were at a crossroads; trying to determine what direction we were going to follow in our lives. It was at ACU’s Summit that we started the process that ended up with us moving back to Abilene.
September has been healing. It has brought tremendous pain; it has also brought tremendous joy.
No matter how much pain I experience when I remember the losses experienced in September, I will also recall the joy and healing that has been offered during this month.
Maybe I should apply that to more of my life. What lessons have I learned in the midst of pain, sorrow, and struggle? What joy has been born out the darkest despair? How many spiritual earthquakes have I experienced? How often have I found those remnants of my faith and been able to move on?
Praise God that the darkest moments of my life do not need to determine the story of my life.
“I lift my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2