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Two years

This past Saturday was the two year anniversary of my father’s death. On the one hand, it seems like it couldn’t possibly have been that long because the memories are still so fresh. Yet on the other hand, it feels like it’s been even longer: so much has happened in last two years, and even the greatest achievements and sweetest of moments since then have been somewhat diminished because he wasn’t there to share in the celebration… and the difficult times have been that much harder without an understanding voice to tell me that everything would be OK.

Is it getting any easier as time passes? Well, yes and no. I’ve definitely made progress since I wrote this post, and even since last year when I wrote this one. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about my dad, but some days are more difficult than others. Losing a father in June seems especially cruel because you’re bombarded by father’s day advertising everywhere you turn. This year, my church is also sponsoring a father-daughter event the week after Father’s Day… and I’ve been helping with some of the promotional stuff. I’m honored to be a part of it, but it can be bittersweet at times.

For me at this point, the grief is almost like a physical injury that is healing: at first, you nurse and protect the injured area… but as you start to feel better, you relax a bit —  until you accidentally hit it or move the wrong way or someone bumps into it and the pain floods back in. It becomes more manageable, but doesn’t go away. Walking through the loss of a loved one is an intensely lonely and individual experience, even if you are surrounded by folks who love you.

But Ps 68:6 says that God makes a home for the lonely (or to borrow from another translation: He sets the lonely in families)… and He has certainly done that for me.

People cope with loss in different ways. I kept myself busy and shifted my focus to other things… like a missions trip to Mexico. So this month also marks the two year anniversary of my first trip to Casa Hogar Benito Juarez, a children’s home in Reynosa. I love how something that was originally a last-minute impulse decision has turned into an amazing opportunity for me to honor my dad’s memory and do something for a group of kids who have very little in this world. We’re leaving for our next trip (my seventh in two years!) tomorrow morning. These June trips have been a welcome distraction for me. They give me an excuse to get excited about something while keeping my mind occupied on positive things. And beyond that, as I’ve developed relationships with the kids and the workers, I’ve started to think of CHBJ as the Mexican side of my family :)