Posted by: comedyheirs | November 20, 2019

Boy Story 3

Our Lady of Perpetual Cleaning has this to say of a recent venture:

Time again to mop and scrub
Floor to ceiling, sink to tub

Armed with rags and towels and sprays
March I into dirt’s dark frays

Room by room I foist recoil
On regurgitating soil

Enter now my boys’ abode
What herein do I behold?

Dresser drawers opened wide
Of my youngest joy and pride.

Various the suns and dries (read as dreez)
Shirts and socks and uns and dies (read as deez)

I have asked it oft before
Once again do I implore

Why if one can “pop the bin?”
Can one then not push it in?

How this shortness of recall
In a brain that knows-it-all?

Naught of Shakespeare comes to mind
Save his playing with my mind

Briefly Tolstoy filters in
Will Pierre or Andre win

When Napoleon invades?
Dirt sparks war. This ain’t charades.

Clearly now, my mind grows fuzz
As I cogitate on Buzz

He cannot, nor can this wife
Find intelligential life

How son thrives is mystery
How he looks but fails to see

Things just underneath his nose
That he simply failed to close

Lightyear, yes, was just a toy
Run by battery, not boy

Yet his parroted observe
Resonates with my last nerve

Which has keenly nipped the edge
Of this bureaucratic ledge

As I hop and dance and sing
Like Old Woody, sans the string

I’m remind that this gig’s
Twice as wide as it is bigs

That to train young chromosomes
Takes on Pharaohs, then young gnomes

Holds the rhythm of repeat
Every day, in every beat

Do it o’er and o’er and o’er
Till forever, evermore

He’ll scrub shipshape, through and through
Hup and march and one and two

Now he registers my pain
Long and loud and clear and plain

And he notes with contrite voice
Repercussions of his choice.

Slowly, he’ll domesticate
Faster, I’ll deteriorate

Fastest, he will leave this nest
Will he pass the muster test?

Will he be or will he not?
Will he war or peace his lot?

Will he make it on his own?
Will he fly once he has flown?

Will he have me in for tea
With my promulgated knee?

Oh, you know it. He da man
‘Cause I taught him Spic from Span.

Someday.
Some
Sweet
Day….

I love this kid.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | November 7, 2019

Campaign Funs

The first Tuesday of November came and went and with it, many people headed to the polls. My underage contingent of scholars was busy with classes. Oh, and still clearly navigating  such hot button topics as selective hearing. Would you be interested in humming along with what my co-op attending, home educated, non-Marines pulled on their Mom?

That’s right.

Just a little parodied fun with “The Marines Hymn,” fellow citizens.

Here we go-

From the halls of my parentals

Comes the tale of life as me

My children take their classes

We pay accordingly

On the first day of the month, Lo

the tuition fees are due

Thus I wrote the checks in order

Just as smart as old one-two.

Attenshun! (Round Numero Dos)

So I placed them on the pocketbook

Of the daughter that doth drive

And I told her quite distinctly

She must make sure they arrive

And be handed to the powers

That distribute and that be

Then I sent them on their journey

Simple. Basic. A B C.

Round 3-

But not long ‘ere they departed

I did note discrepancy

For it sat there on the counter

As untouch-ed as can be

I’ll be honest. This is average.

These are oft-repeated scenes.

I am doomed to bear the title

of The Mom of Scattered Teens.

Semper Fi?
Nope.
Semper Sigh.

No matter.
They still have my vote.
Always.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | October 25, 2019

Fanfare Royale

I don’t even know where to start. On Tuesday evening, thanks to my musical aficionado

friend, Sarah, alerting me to the event, I attended a concert put on by The Queen’s Six.

Who are they, you ask? Oh, just part of the larger choir that serves in the Royal Court at

Windsor Castle. You know, the ones that sing for the family royale? It was, well,

smashing

amazing

precise musical diction with that British accent I never tire of hearing and wish I could

replicate.

Did I mention that this delightful ensemble was as hysterically humorous in their song

introductions as they were musically astounding?

Among the pieces they performed was “If Ye Love Me,” by Tallis, a piece I remember

performing in the Kansas Youth Chorus, although my rendition of it, by comparison, we

will kindly not mention.

“What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?” was as convincing as it was intoxicating.

You really, really should have been here for “That’s the Way Beethoven Likes It.” I still

laugh at the memory and marvel at the brilliance of that performance and arranged by

one of the six.

“Isn’t She Lovely,” was a sweet, whimsical arrangement commissioned upon the birth of

Princess Charlotte. Can you imagine being handed that as a “musical assignment?” Me

either.

All acapella.

Every single song.

Which didn’t stop them from phenomenal instrumental mimicry via their vocals,

especially with their “Stand by Me,” rendition. I think their adjective of choice there

would be, “bully.”

And yes, the audience gave them a standing ovation and eked an encore. “God Save the

Queen,” no less. Guess who was instantly transported to that classroom at Poplar Hill,

Ontario, Canada, hand over her heart at the end of the school day, singing to the visage of

Prince Philip and The Queen in all its monochromatic glory?

Such talent.

Such absolute finesse.

Such unforgettable fun.

You really should have come.

It was unbelievable from start to finish.

Eh to Zed.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | October 10, 2019

Minor to Major in Nothing Flat

Debate is the norm at this house. Yes, I know. No surprises there and we actually have some pretty rousing discussions on deeper topics like politics, apologetics and plans in the futuristics. Oh, you know, stuff like libertarianism, Bible version comparisons and whether or not one college option is superior to another.

The Texas weather appears to be in sync with our household with its ongoing, distinctly unsettled dispute on whether or not summer was going to, finally, acquiesce to fall. It seems to finally have decided it’s no longer worth the fight, yielding lovely cool sleeping weather and even more delightfully mild and breezy early morning jaunts for me. Alas, the outdoor settling has yet to filter indoors.

Far too frequently, the arguments that spontaneously erupt are about things of absolutely no lasting consequence. Like it won’t matter thirty seconds from now, much less five minutes or a couple of weeks hence, if your sister looked at you in a way you perceived as intrusive, your brother broke wind without so much as a by your leave and your sibling had the audacity to use your sacred body spray sans your royal permission.

Until yesterday, things were predictable. The exchanges were merely verbal. At varying volume levels, yes, but strictly in the spoken range. Ah, but then one child was particularly determined to make a point to the other progeny and attempted to silence the dissenting sibling’s opinion by repeating the same piano tune

over and over and over (did I mention OVER?)

in fortissimo

a la crescendo.

It was a memorable performance and I noted, with rising regret, that I am far too aptly

named.  Let the record show that the only reason certain (Rock) hiils are still alive with

the sound of music (not to be confused with symphonic and much more like a feline with

its tail unceremoniously entangled in a rotating fan) is because I was raised by peace-

loving Protestant parents who taught me that the homicidal is an indisputably bad habit.

It’s one of those moments in parenting  that affirms all the time and moolah you invest in

those piano and voice lessons has  been worth the effort. My children can argue to

scale.

Whee.

Win-win.

Or not.

Clearly, I still have a bone or two to pick with Old Rodgers and Hammerstein  because

the lingering question on how to solve a problem like Maria remains unanswered,

although it’s obvious that the procreation of herself in repetitive miniature isn’t the

answer.

 

Oh, and Steve and I celebrate anniversary number twenty-two on the morrow, which

brings me to another niggling debate in my brain. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard

three, true-to-life elopement stories.

All people I know.

Married 10, 20 and 40 year ranges, respectively.

Apparently happily, every last one.

So, should I have done the same? You know, skipped the whole church wedding thing

and saved myself the expense?

Nope.

Resounding no.

I would celebrate the same way

again in a heartbeat. It was worth every penny. No argument there.

Returning to the arguers from that October 11, 1997, union, I have to say.

It sure was amusing to watch their musical antics.

I wonder what tack they’ll try next.

Hopefully, one of them ends up pursuing a legal career so I can pay them to do my legal

wrangling for me.

For now, I’m just dubbing them-Sing One and Sing Two.

 

 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | September 11, 2019

Nine Eleven Turns Seven

You read that correctly, but don’t panic. The terms “Ton Rockhill” and “Ground Zero” will always tower in my memory as monumental mirrors of each other. Eighteen years. Seven years. It all feels like forever:

 

Today we mark the year of seven

Your instant, jarring flight to heaven

Our endless, poignant 9/11.

 

The day had dawned all bright and sunnin’

Your bike was up and sleek and runnin’

Those wheels just primed and firm and gunnin’

 

You’d ridden countless times in prior

Routine that set your heart a’fire

Indeed, you pedaled, soaring higher.

 

But this day’s “flight,” would be your last

For clouds, unseen, were gathering fast

To pierce with one earth-shattering blast

 

Divide “imagine” now from “nation”

The shards of brutal truth’s invasion

And swell my heart with grief’s inflation

 

My mind erupted,  screams of silence

At this most cursed, wretched violence

Death claims us all, from serfs to tyrants

 

You came so briefly, left so soon

No walls we built made you immune

For life is decomposing tune

 

Your body, dust of mortal clay

That marched relentless in the fray.

He’d set the time. This was your day.

 

For Your Creator, timeless, wise

Gave man, far more than shell’s demise

Indeed, a soul that never dies

 

And He graced yours with suffering love

His gift of Son that rose above

Death’s shackled chains. Peace rhymes with dove.

 

For we have simply parted ways

Me steeped in sorrow, you in praise

Your measures endless. I mark days

 

And weeks and months and mounting years

Since time unleashed this flood of tears

Eternity encroaching nears.

 

I miss this soldier of The Cross.

His soul aflame to purge the dross.

I laud his win and mourn my loss.

 

I miss you fiercely, Tom Rockhill, but we will meet again.

In The Eternal God’s impeccable timing.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

Posted by: comedyheirs | July 20, 2019

Summer Soulstice

Today the sun rose tall and strong

and hot and sere and loud and long

 

Declaring early with a roar

Its fired, agitated core

 

Men worked and shifted; some were paid

And everywhere they sought the shade

 

To skirt the unremitting blast

To find the cool, until at last

 

The sun must lower in repose

And draw the shades of day to close.

 

Unleash the curtained dark of sky

Of playful breeze and firefly

 

With crickets chirping in refrain

I hear the distant rumbled train.

 

Each verdant leaf on brush and tree

Now sways, now bows, now frolics free

 

The silver laughter of their friends

My children stir to golden blends

 

To fill the corners each, with song

And in that moment, naught is wrong

 

Now settles gently all the night

Now stars arise in pinpoint light

 

Now slumber wraps us til the dawn

We know the sun still marches on

 

It’s simply on the the other side

Its beams relentless as its pride.

 

To bathe this globe, so teeming, rife

That so depends on it for life

 

For somewhere, always, it is day.

We sweat. We shiver. Work and play

 

The sun is not the one to change

“Tis we who angle in its range

 

I drink the warmth of summer’s sun

It’s fierceness splashing with the fun

 

Its liquid light, a kiss in rose

That spreads in blushing to my toes

 

Cascades its jewels on the waves

Yet cannot penetrate earth’s caves

 

The sun’s no promulgated star.

This fact suspended from afar

 

Hangs as precisely as The God

Who carved it just for us of sod

 

This shining jewel in the sky

Emits in me both joy and sigh

 

Each day that slips like beads off string

And lands like notes composed by King

 

Who grants His summer in our hearts

Through soft and warm and Light He starts

 

No longer cold and dead and stone

But pink and flesh and His alone.

 

This solstice draws our minds again

To where we are and who we’ve been

 

We see again how vast our small

Against the wonder of it all

 

I love the heat that summer pours

I love the bursting of its doors

 

And I, like it, have scarce begun

To praise the brilliance of The Son.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

Posted by: comedyheirs | July 9, 2019

Threescore’s A Wrap

It was a long time coming, as the old saying goes.

Literally.

This celebrating of my parents’ marriage of sixty years, a true rarity in contemporary culture, was as timeless as it was beautiful.

Like all well-executed events, it required significant precursor work like date setting, menu planning and schedule coordinating. Six children that until very recently have sported addresses in as many states can make that a little tricky, but we did it.

Boy, was I excited.

My children were all but scaling the walls and removing the roof, in anticipation

Cousin time is always a special treat and they invariably pack as many memories in as they can.

On Tuesday, June 25, Hilda and Margaret, the two oldest sisters, flew in first from opposite ends of the country. California and New Hampshire to be precise and pronto set to work. That was possible because Margaret and my other sister, Katrina, had done the painstaking work of planning menus for this just-under-fifty-hungry-mouths-to-feed weekend, so there were recipes written out and taken times two or three or four or whatever multiple was needed to stretch it to the needed amounts, creating an inherent grocery list.

Off the fearless sisters marched into the Great Grocerian in Hutchinson, Kansas and proceeded to turn a food oasis into an emerging desert by pillaging various and sundry shelves. Well, not pillaging exactly. They didn’t take prisoners, destroy any existing structures and they did pay for what they took but this was serious stuff. It was about to go down.

Our family arrived on Thursday, June 27, just before lunch. Well, part of us. The second installment arrived on Saturday. Working for a living tends to put a damper on young adult spontaneity. Anyway, enroute with our three youngest sported its usual animated self, their excitement essentially reaching fever pitch by the time we crossed that glorious, familiar, “Reno County Line” sign.  Oh, and we always sing the state line song when we cross over. Always. It’s a tradition.

Ah, but the grand finale was yet to come.

At the corner, one-half mile north of my parents’ home, all legality exited the windows. Quite literally because Emily opened hers, Nicholas opened his and both found the majority of their upper torsos mysteriously emerge as they waved frantically at some of the cousins they could see standing in the middle of that gravel road eagerly waiting their arrival. Things escalated from there. Steve added his two bits by laying on the horn approximately every five or so seconds so that our incoming status could not possibly be in question. We pull up to screaming and smiling and confetti showering. Oh, and there was a welcome sign on the garage, too, bearing the message, “Welcome to This Nice Garage.”

Short and to the adjectival point.

Gotta love it.

Then, we found out there was a little snafu in Mudville. Where was their beloved cousin, Jessica? It turns out that the evening before she was trying to separate two unhappy dogs and her right index finger took the brunt of a nasty bite that required surgery to save the tip of that finger. First stop for treatment was in Wichita but ended up in Kansas City. She came home sporting a mighty cast and let me tell you. She’s one brave sixteen-year-old because while she rested as needed, she kept up remarkably well. She’s healing well at the moment. Boredom isn’t in her dictionary.

It was time for lunch so we sat down to my parents’ extended dining room table and noshed on soup and garlic bread and homemade cookies and mostly just basked in the joy of being with family again.

After lunch, Hilda and I got to work. With all these appetites we knew we had to keep three steps ahead so we mixed up and baked raisin oatmeal, chocolate chip and butterscotch chip cookies. We had extra “help” when they were baked and “needed” to be sampled. As one of my children put it,

“I’m like the king’s cupbearer. I’m making sure no one gets poisoned.”

Long live the king, kid.

Long live the king.

When all my siblings and I get together, It’s beyond special, raising the roof is inevitable and it’s amazing to me to see my kids just pick up with their cousins. It’s like no time has passed and they pronto disappear to wherever. Because my brother, Eldo, lives just across the driveway, they quickly scattered over those acres in triplicate from the basement to the trampoline to the merry-go-round to the cool tree house. They stacked up memories faster than I drink coffee.

Well, almost fifty people meant that my mama’s kitchen just isn’t big enough for the family anymore so my parents had wisely reserved Cedar Crest Amish Mennonite’s facilities to give us a little more elbow room.

What a lifesaving idea. We could use the industrial-sized refrigerator to store ALL those groceries, use the ovens upstairs and down and just have fun making edibles together.

Dinner the first night was a spectacular, juicy array of grilled chicken and ribs, thanks to the skills of my brothers-in-law Thorne and Michael and my husband, Steve. Now THERE’S a trio that takes pride in making sure stuff comes off the fire done to perfection.

Since we scattered to separate locations at night, we decided that breakfast would be come-and-go whenever people showed up. Friday morning, I went down early because I was under assignment to produce a family favorite – cinnamon rolls. Apparently, my siblings have fond memories of my potato rolls with caramel icing but I have to tell you. I can’t take credit for either recipe. As I brought pan after pan out of the oven, the resentment was growing because, well, these particulars were reserved for Sunday morning, so I was The Ogre/Evil Queen of Glucose Deprivation. I relented with one of the smaller pans and I’m telling you. The shelf life was under ten minutes and it was swiped clean. My title was temporarily upgraded to Miss Partially Redeemed. Tiara not included. Oh, well.

Friday was a busy, busy day in the kitchen. We whipped up cakes and icing for the Sunday afternoon open house, we kept the coffee coming and all the while we were laughing and singing and trying not to trip over each other and the memories just kept piling up higher and higher.

Enter the memorable hoverboard where we separate the coordinated sheep from the not-so-coordinated goats. Think a skateboard that requires you to possess an innate sense of balance just trying to board.  Some can. Some ain’t. That’s all there is to it. I knew without trying that I was outside the camp so I opted for Dutch Blitz. That’s more my speed anyway.

Then, while I’m out hunting down a house key for the home where we stayed, Katrina arrives from Wisconsin, three more cousins in tow and a forty-pound block of Colby Jack cheese. That is one big hunk, in case you were wondering, and part of the menu plan for the Sunday afternoon festivities.

Then, my niece, Victoria, her husband, Steve and their three children arrive. I was so excited because I got to meet their youngest, Melissa, for the first time. Wow, what a beautiful little charmer she is. She’s not the random hugger, though. Her just older brother, Lyndon, is. That sweet boy will come up to you out of nowhere, give you a hug and tell you with his lisp (one of his front teeth is missing, you see): “I wuv you, Gweat Aunt Mawia.” Can you even? Me either.

Oh, and before each meal, we’d sing a verse of song before a prayer because our family loves music. The grandkids got their assignments, too. They were divided into four teams and responsible for particular jobs after each meal to get things back to clean and neat and they were told to come up with team names.

They did. MINC and MEJD represented the first letter of names, Garlic Bread’s origins are unclear and I don’t remember what team quatro came up with. It doesn’t matter. They worked together well, laughed a lot, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

And then it was Saturday and the last two travelers came and everyone that was going to be there was. We were only short three grandsons. Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

I’m not sure what we would have done without Walmart this particular weekend because no matter how carefully we thought we planned, we kept running out to grab various and sundries to keep both dehydration and emaciation at bay. Then, on Saturday evening, we got the grand tour of my brother, Eric’s new Kansas home. Such fun. So many memories we anticipate to be made there too. I’m so glad God brought them back to his old stomping grounds, to this wonderful, warm, welcoming community and so eager to see his kiddos joining the student body at Pilgrim Christian School this fall. They’re in good, good hands.

After we got back from that, my nephew, Jason, showed us pictures of his time working at a refugee camp in Greece, earlier this year. We are so blessed in such abundance here. He’s making plans to return and I applaud him for it.

Sunday morning.  8 a.m. Family photo time. My cousin, Evan, did the honors of getting everyone set up and smiling and capturing this historic moment on film. I eagerly await the results. I truly do have a beautiful growing family.

Then, we marched into my mom’s kitchen for the promised cinnamon rolls, they were pronounced both good and edible and off we went to church at Cedar Crest. There’s never enough time to catch up on visiting old friends, you know? It doesn’t mean I don’t try my best, though.

2 p.m.. Time for the open house we’d set up for, including a table display of family photo albums, scrapbooks from the fortieth and fiftieth celebrations and what’s been completed in the sixtieth. Guess who didn’t quite get her pages submitted yet?

This Fall.

I promise.

I WILL deliver by September.

Our summer in Texas has been a wee bit crazy this summer and I’m going to leave it at that.

People came and they came and they came and they came until I felt very much like Eeyore: ” A long line of everybody.”

It was wonderful. So many smiles and hugs and friends I hadn’t seen in years. So much to be thankful for including hearing people, over and over again, welcoming my brother, Eric, back to the community. Multiple people commenting how much I look and sound like my Mama. That’s a compliment, right there.

Then, at the end, the Paul Miller clan sang several numbers they had rehearsed under the direction of my nephew, Evan. Not just any songs, though. These are compositions by my parents. I hope they blessed our audience as much as we enjoyed singing them. The highlight was my brothers, Eldo and Eric, singing Dan Fogelberg’s “Leader of the Band” to honor my father, particularly. Not a dry eye to be found on me, I’m telling you. Steve said he had to make himself scarce because it got to him, too.

As we were cleaning up one of my kids had this to say:

“You probably knew everybody that came through the line, didn’t you?” Well, or at least how they were connected.

The day wasn’t over. There was a Levi Miller (my dad’s side) informal gathering at Center Amish Mennonite Church, where my dad’s sister, Emma and her husband, Ollie Troyer, had held an open house for their sixtieth wedding anniversary, hosted by their children and, yes, more of my cousins. Again, too much food and not enough time to catch up with everyone. A good problem, indeed.

Monday morning, July 1- Forty-four years to the day when our family moved stateside and time to say goodbye and head south. Two last finales were Steve’s now long-standing tradition of his rather colorful rendition of “Love You Forever,” a book that follows the relationship of a mother and son. Steve’s experience in therapy inevitably leads to his off-the-cuff commentary of concern that some of this mother’s behavior is meritorious of a psychiatric intervention, which ups the laughter factor already well-established when he invents his own tune each time he sings the “I love you forever” italicized ditty found throughout this profound and deeply moving saga.

Then, my dad, read us Milne, the Heffalump story, to be exact. All the voices he does so well, just like I remember them. I always forget the simple humor of Milne until he brings it to life again. We laughed again, long and loud and hard.

Oh, and then we grabbed the last quart of real maple syrup my brother-in-law, Addison, had for sale. That stuff is liquid gold and I’m doling it out carefully. Best stuff ever.

As we left,  my Katrina  felt it necessary to open the sunroof of our car so she could properly wave goodbye. No one wanted to leave but the inevitable was upon us. As we were riding down the road, I asked what my kiddos liked best about the weekend?

“Everything.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I will remember this weekend as a time when we reconnected on so many good levels,  truly endeavored to honor my parents,  and were all reminded again what a truly priceless gift family is.

May we never forget.

May we always love each other.

And may our children, by God’s grace, also rise up to call us blessed.

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

Posted by: comedyheirs | June 8, 2019

What Love Looks Like

My parents just passed the milestone of sixty years of marriage.  While words cannot capture the gift that is for me, here are a few of my thoughts:

When I called home just yesterday

To honor parents on this day

 

For June of seventh, fifty-nine

Commenced their wedded life so fine

 

I asked them what comprised their day

“Well,” said my Dad, “It’s like they say

 

Life marches on without a doubt

The doctor took some stitches out.”

 

For Mama’s hand had hit a snag

While hanging clothes of shirt and rag

 

And he had lost a dental crown

So in he’d gone for glue in town

 

And ply again the dentist’s skill

That’s always better sans the drill

 

He said their evening plans include

A jaunt to restaurant in food

 

For sixty years they’ve traveled thus

Together true, with little fuss

 

Embracing life through loss and gain

Through joys and unrelenting pain

 

Their faith in Christ, their anchor strong

To strive for right. To bear the wrong

 

They boast no secret, should you ask.

Just stand united to the task

 

And find in each, life’s simple joys

And shun the scuttlebutt of noise

 

Their lives a symphony of peace

In rich, harmonious release

 

For decades six, this rising song

Has long composed where I belong

 

I don’t deserve this priceless gift

This anchor in a globe of drift

 

But how I thank God that it ’tis

A love that long abides in His.

 

Thank you, Mama and Daddy, from the bottom of my heart.

I love both of you.

So very much.

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

Posted by: comedyheirs | May 27, 2019

A Battlefield Tribute

The verdant blades that peaceful blow

Belie the violence below.

 

For row on row of simple cross

Loud trumpets monumental loss

 

Here sleep the soldiers, more and more

For war continues as before

 

Indeed, it is not satisfied

Despite the countless who have died

 

Who marched and fought, in heat and cold

And saw too young what made them old

 

So many lost by battle’s end

So many fallen next to friend

 

Now fill this vastly scarred terrain

And leave behind those who remain

 

We must remember, nor forget

We owe our gratitude, in debt

For eyes that closed with tears in wet

That peace and love were still not met.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | April 23, 2019

Remembering Tom

Please enjoy this guest post by my husband, Steve Rockhill, reflecting on his oldest brother’s life. I didn’t include the photo he refers to in the opening lines. A thoughtful piece on the trials that God brings into our lives and how to maintain a proper perspective:

This is my brother Tom’s HS Senior pic. As you can see his birthday and the anniversary of his death are only two days apart so I’ve been thinking about him a lot for the past week. If you’ll forgive the long post, I’d like to share some of what I’ve been pondering. As far as I know Tom started smoking marijuana when he was 14 or 15. I don’t know how soon after, but he quickly added alcohol and speed to the mix (and later cocaine and just about anything else he could get his hands on) in search of the ever elusive greater and greater high. Usage led to crime, crime led to arrests, and arrests led to stints in rehab and jail. A cycle that would repeat itself over and over for 18 long years. The pain, suffering and heartache this brought to my family, especially my parents, was immense. The worst of which came two days after Tom’s 33rd birthday when his lifestyle of addiction and sin finally caught up with him and he died and we were left to grieve as those who had no hope for his eternal rest. Such a troubled life. AND YET, my brother Tom stands as one of the greatest influences in my life. In God’s sovereign purpose, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, God used Tom’s addiction and sin to lead ME to Christ. He used Tom to teach me how to forgive others and especially how to let go of hatred and bitterness and put on love and kindness; to be compassionate toward the needy and outcast; to be more understanding of those who struggle with addiction and habitual sins. It was largely because of Tom that I pursued a career in social work and counseling and ultimately the ministry. It was because of Tom that I was well equipped to minister to those suffering grief and loss. God used Tom and his troubled life to help form and fashion who I am. And that’s how it is sometimes. In the midst of trial and tragedy it’s hard to imagine God could use any of it for good. We may not see it right away or at all in this life; but God is able to raise up from the ash heap of sin, sorrow, and pain something good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. Again, I don’t fully understand it, but God’s promises are true.

“And we know that God works all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Soli Deo Gloria.

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