Follow by Email

What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, November 9, 2015


Last Thursday night I found out that a good blog friend had passed away.  And I tried to get through, answering blog comments and reading, but it was just too much.  I laid on the floor and let Scrappy come over to console me.  Which he did a very good job of.

Next day at work I was a hot mess.  Not from grief, but from anger.  An anger I would imagine we all go through in various ways with a loved one's passing.

You see, my friend had been betrayed by her body.  It threw every kind of painful condition it could think of at her.  It reacted to medicines by giving her bloody scream-dreams.  At one point a few months back, she asked if I could imagine a pain bad enough that you want to take hold of the nearest door and slam it so hard that the frame rips out of the wall.  She had that from brushing against the wrong thing.

But for 95% of the time I knew her over the internet, she tried to show nothing but joy and encouragement.  She lived her life for her husband- a stronger man than I'll ever be- and her two daughters, one in college and one fresh off her prom.  We didn't agree on a lot of things- she was a bit, shall we say, liberal-  but she was full of love and it reflected out in everything she did.

And for that love, for that courage, she got a miserable, painful life and death.

Now let me preface the rest by saying I wasn't mad at God- not quite.  I had a severe problem with the way He did things.  And not just her- how many good people have died grisly deaths over the millennia?  How many have had to die in pain, unloved, alone?  So my question was, if nothing on earth happens lest God allows it, why does He allow this?

And in the face of such questions, one always goes back to the holiest, most obedient-to-God man of all time- Job.  And even when Job was finally pushed to the brink and he stood up and questioned the fairness of the way things are, the answer he got- on surface reflection- was pretty much, "Who are you to question me?"

And I considered to myself, that there are a lot of subtler shades to what God said to Job, and it was enough.  Job repented in sackcloth and ashes.  Now, me, had I been Job, I woulda stood up and said, "That's a BS answer!  We deserve more!"  And likely would have resembled one of Lot's neighbors shortly thereafter.

Now, the anger didn't resolve itself- it just burned out.  I was exhausted fighting the battle, mentally and emotionally.  But as the anger began to subside since, I got three answers- one then, one that night- and one this afternoon.

The first one, once I let go of the debate in my mind, was along the lines of, "You have been given the answer you can understand."  Which really didn't help much at the time, because:  God is the Creator, He set the distance between Creator and Creation.  Why couldn't He- with an infinity of wiggle room- set our comprehension high enough to allow us a better answer?  Why just leave us so stupid that "cuzIsedso" is all we can figure out?

At this point, the anger had sublimated into a typical Martin argue-fest, and all the intangibles came to the table.  But as I was not "yelling" any more, but trying to understand, I got another answer:  "You know she's in paradise now.  No pain.  If she is now so happy, does the rest really matter?"

Now this satisfied me- for a little while.  And I was willing to let it go at that for a time, until I got selfish.  I thought to myself, that's fine for her, but what about us still stuck on earth, in the cycle of pain and despair?  And a part of me was still like, "No, it's not enough if I'm still here and I still have to make a sense of it!"  But most of me was happy with the conclusion and I tried to let it go at that.

But there's still that nagging part, and truth be told, I wasn't sure if it was the need to know or the need to be "let in on the secret".  But I didn't realize that at the time.  Instead, I started hearing this song- a song that I knew well, but as you might guess if you read last week's Time Machine, I didn't have a firm grasp on all the words.  So I came home and played it, and I get the impression from three things I found in the song that my subconscious had a better handle on the lyrics than I did.

First thing was the opening word, the name of the girl being sung about, Jan.  My friend's name was Janine.

Second was this line, that would soon become the most important:

We sit outside and argue all night long
About a god we've never seen
But never fails to side with me...

And then, towards the end...

A life is time, they teach us growing up
The seconds ticking killed us all
A million years before the fall
You ride the waves and don't ask where they go...

So now this song has an eerie connection to the whole thing.  But I didn't really pay it much mind until this afternoon, when I asked myself the question:  "Is this what I'm doing?  Is it that I am mad at God, not for the lack of an answer, but that He isn't siding with me on this?"

And with that thought, I got the third answer:

"Think of how much more than you, she will appreciate My Heaven now.  She received a gift on earth, a gift not everyone can take.  As special as she was on earth, how much more so in heaven..."

And I have to admit, at this point, I probably have the best answer I'll get on this side.  Good enough?  I don't really know.  I'm awfully stubborn, and my acceptance of this answer might only last until the next really close death.  But for now, I am content.  And all it took- at each stage of the battle- was to be willing to admit that it was my willingness that was the problem.

So, my friend, I am letting go of your death.  Your life, though, I believe I shall hold on to...


  1. Hi, Chris! I read every word, good buddy, and admire you for thinking it through and arriving at these answers, such as they are. I am truly sorry to learn that you lost a good friend. Surely she is aware of this post and all your heartfelt words honoring her memory.

    1. I have had the feeling she's watched most of the adventure at some level. She's been telling me, "It's okay." Hopefully I'll start believing that.

  2. These are questions so many of us have at some point in our lives so you have every right to ask them. My personal feeling is that we are just passing through this lifetime on another bigger journey in the universe and we have lessons to learn including pain and suffering. Regardless of all of our diverse beliefs, peace and love come from our deaths. Crazy sounding? Maybe...but it gets me through.

    1. I do think that God wants us to find a peace within His will, and a lot of the nit-picking is man unable to let go of pride. Death, however is another subject, that I will bring up in a later post. I believe what one pastor told me... Death is the Enemy, the last enemy. I will laugh loud and long when it is cast into the Lake Of Fire.

      "Don't let the bastard win..." -Hawkeye Pierce

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Chris, I'm so sorry. I'm actually crying. Your words and loss resonate for me, and I didn't even know Janine. You are a man who cares and loves deeply - a special soul. I'm sure Janine was (and her soul still is) too.

    Though we get there in different ways, I tend to land at a place of no longer asking "Why?" Because there's no answer. At least, none for us in this lifetime.

    Virtual hugs and healing thoughts to you.

    1. I am the kind of person that needs an explanation- even a dumb one- and then I'm okay. This subject is no different than, "Why did the customer do THAT?" in that respect. Thanks for the hugs.

  4. Chris:
    Hard to voice a better eulogy than what YOU have stated (through His words).
    We should ALL be as fortunate.

    Excellent post (and thoughts).

    Stay safe up there, brother.

    1. Bob, if what she went through is a price to pay for having a mansion WAY up on the hill, I hope God puts me in a trailer park.

  5. How very sad! My prayers to you and hers!
    I've often wondered what will happen when I shuffle off this mortal coil (you can tell I'm in the "writing" mode). How will people (especially my friends in Blogger Land who wouldn't know me from a hideously deformed dwarf with a hideously deformed sense of humor) know I had assumed room temperature?
    So you know, I've asked my family to let people know that I've gone to see my maker (okay, Purgatory). They said they will.
    I won't be able to check, so I'll have to take them at their word.

    1. I've thought about picking a future date, write a post scheduled for that date, and hope I get lucky.

  6. Man, I'm so sorry to read this. So sorry for your loss, it's never easy and doesn't always get any easier. I'm praying for your peace my friend!!

    1. Thank you! But send the prayers where they are most needed- to a brave family whose loss is far greater than mine.

  7. When my sister died (she and I were pretty close), I remember thinking I could go right back to work and my brother convinced me to stay back east and take the week.

    My first day back, I remember someone making a big deal of how I had "taken a week off without any notice," obviously unaware of the circumstance, and I looked at her and told her in the future I'd ask my family members to check with her before dying.

    She was, of course, horrified, and I was being a bit of a jerk, but the point I am going for is, it is hard not to be angry with death-those seven stages of grief are pretty universal.

    Sadly, employers seem to recognize the impact of a family member but no so much a friend. Friends can often be tougher.

    At my dad's funeral, one of my cousins commented how twenty years ago, we went to a boatload of weddings, now it's a boatload of funerals, and in twenty more years, we'll be the ones lying down.

    I do not know that I see Death as an enemy-he has walked alongside me for quite some time. Death simply is.

    Like Barb above, I feel like we are just passing through. Or like Larry Norman said, "Only Visiting This Planet."

    And like Clint said in Unforgiven, "we all have it coming."

    All we can do is try to be ready spiritually. And enjoy the time we have.

    Sorry for your loss, CW.


    1. You are right on the being ready, but I can't help but look at death as more than "simply is." Think on this- death is the last thing to be thrown in the Lake of Fire. If that is so, it is more than just cessation of body functions, more than loss and grief and absence. Death must have a substance we don't understand, a totality we only see outlines of. And frankly, I hope that totality gets all cancer, aids, and evil shoved up its ass on the way down.

  8. This is sad to hear. Some questions can't be adequately answered and some answers seem too difficult to accept. I think it takes a unique blogger to mask their problems where so many much more petty problems get frequently aired.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  9. It is terrible when someone dies, it is more sad when it is someone we had a connection with, some of the strongest people are those who suffer so much on a daily basis

    1. Makes you feel like total crap when you complain about some piffle.

  10. I'm very sorry for your loss.

    If your friend was a Christian and knew the Lord, then she's in Heaven with the Lord, and there is no better place. Moreover, she's there for all eternity, and eventually you'll meet her. That's a certainty that you have, and I hope you derive some comfort from that. I know that I do.

    Lord bless you.

    1. She was, and she is. The best comfort of all. Thank you, my friend.

  11. Oh Chris, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and her poor family. Prayers go out to all who knew her. Big hugs from Texas!!! I love that song and now it will have more meaning.

  12. Aww, Chris - I'm so sorry for your loss.

    In times of grief, nothing makes sense. The human side of it (us) always wants to find a formula that fits and explains everything. Good people get good things, bad people get slammed - that would be fair, right? But it's never that way, it seems.

    But God has a plan that supercedes our own and it bigger than we can comprehend. I have faith that the day will come when I understand but that will be in HIS time, not mine.

    Till then - your friends will hug you through it, okay?

    1. And I think you hit on the thing that made the whole deal worse for me- trying to demand a better answer. After last night, I'm not altogether convinced that we don't get that answer because it would drive us insane. And believe me, friend's hugs have kept that from happening. Thank you for yours.