One of the new features of my Blog is that I will have Guest Bloggers post from time to time. This will usually be when I’ve read something that stirs my heart, and want to share it with you. That’s what I’m doing today.
My brother left his wife and three teenage kids several years ago. (See, I told you I was just like you with messy families and the whole bit.) My sister-in-law has remained one of my best friends and his children are like my own.
Having a father desert them has not been easy; it has been down right hard. But today, they are all three amazing married adults who love God, and who have served or are now serving in some facet of ministry.
The following blog is by Jonathan Edwards…one of those kids now grown.
If you have ever wondered what goes on in the heart of a boy whose dad has left him longing on the front porch, a boy child now grown, here’s a glimpse. May I introduce my guest blogger for today, my nephew Jonathan…A lot of things change when your parents remarry.
Someone else’s house becomes your house. Someone else’s children become your brothers and your sisters. Someone else’s bed becomes your bed. Someone else’s couch becomes your couch. Someone else’s laundry detergent becomes your laundry detergent.
And you don’t use that kind.
And now your clothes smell weird.
Now your clothes smell like someone else.
Someone else’s house. Not yours.
But things change. Environments are different. Homes rearrange and evolve and add and subtract.
It blends together.
You may not have had a basketball goal before.
But now you do.
You may not have had a swing in the yard.
But now you do.
You may not have had your own bedroom.
But now you do.
You may not have had an upstairs.
But now you do.
You may not have had a dog.
But now you do.
You may not have had a cat.
But now you do.
At least, that is my story.
You see, I am not a huge animal person. [That phrase not defending the idea or concept that I am not a very large, tall, hybrid human being that’s also some form of animal]. Sure, I like a cute, chubby puppy. I think elephants are cool. And that BBC show where they put British voices behind animal mannerisms is absolutely hilarious…
Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan! [Confused? Click on Alan]
But that’s a groundhog, not a cat. And I am not fond of cats. They just…get up…I don’t even know how to explain it. They’re just not for me. But the thing is, when my mom and stepdad got married 4 years ago and mom moved into Rusty’s house, Rusty had a cat. Her name was Gracie. And she lived outside. So, nothing really to get used to except for when we sat on the deck there now was a cat rubbing up against our feet and legs purring for some cheese. But still.
For 4 years that was the scene. And really, it was longer than that. Mom and Rusty dated for close to 7 years before getting married so Gracie was all up in our business long before 2009.
Just a few months ago Gracie began to get very weak and lose a lot of weight. She was tired. She slept a lot. She wasn’t asking for much cheese anymore.
She was dying.
Sadness overcame me. I was so confused why I was so sad and emotionally altered by the news because frankly, I never was super fond of her presence. I didn’t understand it.
A few weeks later, she died. Rusty found her on the front porch, curled up, not breathing. And without knowing why, I cried. I cried about a cat. I was upset about a cat. I was emotionally broken because of a cat.
Why a cat?
It’s because death is unsettling. It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. No matter how you look at it or who or what it is, it’s loss.
It’s out of place.
Death doesn’t belong.
You see, Romans 5 gives a wonderful snapshot of history for us. It tells us that through sin, death entered the world through one man, Adam. Death through sin. This wasn’t how things were supposed to be. This wasn’t God’s picture of life in the garden. God intended life, not the absence of it. But after Genesis 3, death is on the scene.
Death is out of place.
My heart understood this and broke because of this months ago at the death of my stepdad’s cat. I was moved. It was uncomfortable. But let me say, oh how I wish that was the only breaking my heart would do in regards to understanding and dealing with this unwelcome thing.
Right this second, my 27-year old college roommate is dying due to organ complications related to his 18-month battle with leukemia. With his body in a place where it can’t fully recover due to infection and surgery and cancer, there are mere days, maybe weeks, left for his life.
This doesn’t belong.
This doesn’t make sense.
This is out of place.
This situation forces my mind in all sorts of directions. All sorts of doubts and questions and fears and confusion and pleas and demands and cries. It’s frustrating. It’s confusing. It’s gut-wrenching.
And through all of it, I can’t face it. I can’t take it in. I can’t believe it. I can’t process it. I don’t know how to look at the days, weeks, months, years ahead in a way where Jay isn’t around. That’s not a world I can fathom. It’s not a world I can picture.
All I can do is sit in front of my computer and look through photo albums on Facebook. I look at pictures of us in the Domican Republic in 2006. I look at us at his wedding in 2008. I look at us at Hunter’s wedding in 2009. I look at us singing songs in our apartment in 2007. I look at us at football games. I look at us playing Apples to Apples. I look at us at my Grandma’s house in South Carolina.
I look back.
I look back and think, “Who in their right mind would’ve thought we’d be here?”
My heart breaks. My eyes leak. My nose runs.
And my mind roams to 2004 when I first saw Jay in our freshman Poly-Sci class as he was dozing off, wearing a Young Life shirt that looked like the Price Is Right logo. We studied our tails off that semester in what would become one long foundational hilarious memory for our friendship.
Tinsley Yarborough’s Freshman Political Science – Fall 2004.
And now this.
The story doesn’t end where we left off in Romans 5.
There’s good news.
There’s Great News.
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous…so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Thank you Jesus.
Earlier Paul writes that while we were still weak Jesus died for the ungodly at just the right time.
No, death doesn’t belong. But the great news is that we were not left to that. God knew death didn’t belong and so he came and did what needed to be done.
He himself came to defeat death by dying.
But the grand nature of it all is that death was not the end of it. He died and 72 hours later He, Jesus, arose. He punched death in the face.
And so while we mourn during times and seasons of death, we rejoice, for it is by death we are brought to life. It is in the death and resurrection of Jesus we hope. We rejoice that because of Jesus, as the Scriptures tell us, we share in his death but we also share in his resurrection.
May the Spirit grant us strength and hope to cling to the truth of the sacrifice of Christ.
May we be grateful for all that Christ has done on our behalf to defeat death and declare freedom and life for those who trust in His name and believe He is who He says He is and that He did what He said He would do.
Jay – I love you very much and so thankful for you and your life lived for the glory of Jesus. For His fame. And His name. Best roommate ever.
Thank you Jesus for yourself and how you make broken people whole again and give us life.
If you would like to join Jonathan in giving thanks, leave a comment and thank Jesus for how He makes broken people whole again and gives us life.