Finding Hope Again!

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #GodChangesPeople

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This Moment

The quiet all around was loud inside my head. I felt a sense of expectancy in the air.
The breeze off the lake contained a chill but was bearable after the heat of the day. The small waves pushed by the breeze lapped against the gravel-laden shoreline. The boardwalk was empty this early evening. The boards running vertically beneath our feet showed the signs of the many footsteps of those who had walked along this path and were well worn.
The diffused evening light cast an ethereal glow settled over the landscape as the sun touched the horizon. The ground to both sides of the wooden boardwalk was stark white bleached white from the powerful desert sun. The winds that blew over that had stripped the earth bare leaving it barren and void of life except for a few sparse trees that struggled for survival in the dry parched dirt.
We walked silently, me with my hands pushed deep into my pockets and her pushing her bike forward hands firmly on the grips and face a mask devoid of emotion. The sleeves of my white shirt rolled up to my elbows and I could feel the flapping of the shirttails in the wind as we walked. Her white summer dress hung loosely on her young body a stark contrast to her brown olive skin. The lack of color in our clothes matched the landscape as if we were a part of it.
Looking inland away from the lake, I could see the far distance parking lot where the last stragglers of the day were returning to their vehicles. Headed where I had no idea, I only knew that they had somewhere to go. The loneliness settled over me like a shroud as my steps faltered and the sun sank its lower half now hidden below the horizon.
Catching my stumble out of the corner of her eye, she knew better than to ask how I was. Instead, she simply stated,
“I am tired.”
“I know sweetie.”
I replied as I quickly regained my balance and told myself she had not seen my misstep, nor knew the reason why. However, deep down I knew that she knew. She always seemed to know. Her understanding empathy, the ability that came so naturally to her and guided her actions was far beyond her young years. As we continued to walk, she said.
“I just want to sleep, all the time.”
“It’s okay. I get it. If that’s what you need then that’s okay.”
The silence then settled around us again as we moved forward. We strode onward as if drawn by some invisible force that neither of us could deny. I knew she was tired and worn out, even without her earlier comment still echoing in my head. My heart ached knowing I was powerless to stop the pain. I still found it hard to admit, even to myself, the conclusion I knew was inevitable and unavoidable.
Life is hard and for her to learn this at such a young age seemed so unfair. My anger over the injustice I perceived burned however; the sadness and longing overshadowed it like the darkness. I looked across the lake at the exact moment the last of the huge golden orb of the sun sank beyond the horizon into the undiscovered. Melodies of grace erupted in my head in songs of redemption and a belief in a light that will one day overcome the darkness. As quickly as the feelings rose, they disappeared as the despair again wrapped its arms around me choking off my breath.
I felt so helpless and alone. My life slipping from my grasp and everything I held dear. We continued to walk in silence, comfortable together in our solitude. Over the past few days, I had watched, as she grew weaker and I hated the fact that my little girl’s strength was quickly fading and I knew the end was near.
The words came from where I do not know and spilled out of my mouth in a cry of anguish.
“I miss her.”
“I do too daddy.”
“God, I miss your momma.”
We stopped walking and the bike lay on its side where she had let if fall. Picking her up I held her close feeling her wet check against mine our tears mingled together as they ran down our faces. Her arms tightly squeezed my neck in defiance of tomorrow and yesterday, for this moment was all we had.

©Mark W. Schutter 2018

Often this moment is all we really have, don’t miss it. ~M

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

This Moment

Echoes of Silence

Echoes of Silence

It has been 24 years today and I still miss you. Although, no longer overwhelmed by grief or sadness, my mind at times still wonders what might have been. And to quote Soren Kierkegaard:

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

I am moving forward creating and pursing new dreams, all the while carrying the memories of you with me. You are not forgotten and never will be no matter how long the silent echoes loudly thunder across the heavens.

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #RestInLove

“To live is Christ, to die is gain” Say what, how is that?

“To live is Christ, to die is gain”, what?  How is that?

Death takes me further away from God, not closer. Death throws a silence over my faith. God is good. Let’s explore a little what it means to say that when:

  • You have faced death, tragedy and destruction of your world.
  • You come face to face with your own mortality.
  • You are intimate with the death of someone you love.
  • You watch helplessly as the breath fades.
  • You are alone with grief your only companion.

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Can you say ‘God is good’ and believe it when faced with an ending?

With no one to blame, is evil the easy answer? Or is it the answer for the cause of so much pain in the world?

  • The violence,
  • The hate,
  • The addictions,
  • The lust, and
  • The greed.

Good people are hurt and evil continues unabated, while we make excuses.

  • Collateral damage?
  • Innocent victims?
  • Life is hard and you die?

Illness, sickness and death with no concrete cause leaves you with the consequence. What is the grand design and meaning if there are no coincidences?

My life was irrevocably altered and I say I still believe. Am I angry and blaming of God? Showing an image to the world on the outside, but inside… do I believe? This face I show the world is that the truth of me? The question remains, do I believe what I say I believe?

Alone in the dark, with God’s total utter silence. No words from beyond except for a faint whisper of “Trust me.” If faith is evidence of things unseen, I have the evidence.

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What remains unanswered is why? The question that still haunts my waking and sleeping, but no answer ever seems forthcoming. “Trust me.” Do I have faith in the finality of that? What is next? A next life? Is it there? Heaven? Hell? Fade to black?

Time to give myself permission. Feel the fear, accept that loss and devastation may return. “Trust me.” It all makes me tired, very tired. Life is more than waiting for the ‘hammer to fall.’ The days and the years go by and the hole in your heart remains. “Trust me.” You laugh and love again. The joyful moments you desperately longed for return, but we fail because of the fear to live, present in the moments. Juxtaposing the past, present and the future. “Trust me.” Whispers through my mind while I feel a –

  • Fear of God
  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of happiness
  • Fear of succeeding
  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of guilt
  • Fear of forgetting
  • Fear of hurting
  • Fear of love

Trust me.” Time to give permission to live, be happy and love again. Permission to enjoy, delight, cherish, feel everything and accept.

“Trust me.” And you wonder if you can love God, accept your destiny, your life, your fate, for “I have come so that they (you) may have life and have it more abundantly,” so a reminder to

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(Originally written in October 2008, updated October 2010, October 2013 and again now, January 2017. Each time the mystery of unanswered questions continue as I contemplate my life’s journey the last twenty plus years. I am still learning to believe that hope lives. ~M)