Sense from Tragedy

    This week two sisters lost their babies in child birth on the same day in childbirth just hours apart.  One of the sisters, and her children, are friends of our family.  The loss struck home after our two miscarriages last year, and with our anticipation of Baby Echo’s arrival in August.  We know of their pain, and pray for their families to weather the storm of emotion which comes with it.   The event brought back common question from a few people I talked to: “How can God let such pain enter the world if he is so great?”

    Maybe this can help explain a little bit…

    A little over a week ago some criminals broke into my car, and emptied it out of everything they could make money from.  I was mad, scared, embarrassed, the whole range of emotion.  I of course went to mall security, called the cops, and asked if they had anything which could help my situation.  As I walked with the security manager to my car we started talking.

   As we approached my car he identified how they crooks got in from previous robberies.  Then we waited for the patrol unit to arrive with a detective.  As we waited I popped the trunk and in it only three items remained.  One of them was a 14 year old army camouflage folding chair issued at only one place in the Army.

  He looked at it and said, “Were you an OC in the desert?”  Well yes I was…  Soon I found out he was Sidewinder 39 Ancient, and he found out I was a Cobra 13 Ancient at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.  He threw artillery fire, and I chased armored companies across the desert floor.  We roamed the desert  for two years together, possibly only meeting at a dinner or two for mere minutes…but we effected each other’s work and knew the call signs. 

   I asked him how he liked the tour, and he responded it was a tough tour.  During their tour out in the desert he had a stillborn baby in 2001.  It was then my heart sank, and I knew the other side of a story.

  Almost 14 years ago in a desert far far away in 2001:

   When my wife had our first pregnancy her blood pressure spiked greatly.  The doctor scheduled extra checks, and on her week 38 visit the blood pressure was still at the same spot…high…as the week before.  The doctor then said abruptly, “One way or another this pregnancy ends today.”  Just the tone of her voice put chills in our hearts, and the words sunk into our heads like lead weights in water.  After a quick trip home to get our hospital bag we had our baby girl in our arms just four hours later.  My wife’s blood pressure ended up causing no problems, and quick action by the doc kept the cord around my girl’s neck from causing lasting harm.

   As we held our baby a few hours later I asked the nurse if the doctor was always that curt in her bedside manner.  The nurse said no.  My wife however matched the profile of a women who lost her child in the clinic earlier in the year.  The doctor would take no chances with this pregnancy, and wanted to protect the baby at all costs.  This was why the doctor was so focused during our delivery day.

Ten days ago…

   I put my hand on that Security Chief’s arm, and told him his baby saved my baby’s life.   I know my words can do nothing to ease the pain of such a loss, but I had to say them.  I was happy to then hear his other children are now strong adults.  He is proud of them, as he should be.  I did however remember him and his family in my prayers at some point in the days since that moment.

    So here is the answer to the question about pain and suffering in this world right under the nose of an all powerful God.  We live in a fallen world feeling the effects of original sin.  Fallen worlds have sickness, death and people doing their selfish will rather than working for unity in God’s will.  Through all of this God, still gets the last laugh.

    I know babies born without the breath of life go straight to the embrace of God.  Then you have incidents like the losses of these three families.  I know the crooks got away with my stuff, but in their evil I met a man thousands of miles and years later who’s family’s sacrifice saved the life of my lovely oldest daughter…my Desert Rose.  What will come out of the losses of these sisters today?  I do not know yet, but I know there is seed sown for great and redeeming works of grace which may not bloom for decades.  When it blooms the name of two cousins will be on it, and they two will rejoice in its bloom as they dance with the Lord.

    Until the day this new grace blossoms, I will enjoy the dancing of my blooming Desert Rose as I reminisce on this chance to see how God works his will through both the good and the bad.

Accepting a challenge

The Challenge

The Challenge

Over the last few weeks I examined my limitations, faults and outstanding obligations pretty hard.  I could look at it as a time of trial and woe..but that would be wrongheaded.  I know this is a chance to grow in ways I would not normally force myself to do.  For the moment, I am doing it in an environment where the people helping me through challenge are doing so out of a desire to see me grow in my day job.

Reflecting on it tonight I remembered that my best supervisors prior to this little challenge all did the same thing.  One company commander told me straight out I was not his choice for the job as his XO, but he’d work with me and see what I could do.  Every week he fed me more and more assignments until he left seven months later, and I was able to run the company myself as the CO if needed.  He smirked later when he told me “You did alright.”  In one contractor job I pulled, the supervisor looked me in the eye with a hard message.  If he was in town when I applied, no interview or job would have flown my way.   That being said, he decided to work with me.  Every day for three months I pulled odd task after odd task until I knew my job cold.  Seven months later he told me to come back if I needed a better paying job in his company!  My growth was part of those bosses plans from the get go.  I just did not know it at first.

So the cycle repeats itself again at work.  A supervisor calling me to expand my mind, my capabilities and mission to reach his goals and expectations of my position.  I am grateful for the opportunity, I have a job and I need to hold it tight in these frightful times.  I also know that my growth could determine the fate of my company.  If the challenge comes and I am not ready, those we serve could suffer greatly.  The wrath of that failure should fall where the fault lies, and if it is me it will be me who starts walking home.

I could not help but to think of this stained glass window from St. Fedelis in Victoria when I thought of this.  Here was Mary Magdalene begging for a job, the job of disciple of Christ.  She humbled herself to wash Christ’s feet with her hair!  Here was Christ who challenges each of us to get out of our comfort zone, and do what is right by God’s plan even if it is not written anywhere as the law of the land.  Each day and night a challenge like those set forth by my best supervisors greets us with a chance to grow as a disciple of Christ.  We can embrace the challenge, or walk away.

I beg of you, to take up the cross with a smile.  For the rewards of being with him forever are pretty good ones if we bare the cross with as much honor as we can.  I’ll do my best to join with you in the walk.  I hope we can share it and grow together!


The Challenge

The Reward

The St Fedelis – The Sanctuary

2013 Vacation 2013 Vacation

St Fedelis Sanctuary

St Fedelis Sanctuary

The sanctuary of St Fedelis in Victoria, Kansas is simply amazing.  Flanking every image of Christ or altar are saints we can admire for their piety and service to the Lord.  Many of them built up devotional techniques, and I am sure one of them will suit your personality, which point you right at the Lord and all the wonderful things only he can provide.

So I hope you enjoy these images from St Fedelis as you head off to church today!


Just the way it clicks

Coming to the water!

Coming to the water!

Coming to the water?  Can you imagine how John felt when Jesus asked him to baptise him?  Here was the man sent to lead us to heaven asking one of us fallen ones to lead him by example!

The good people of Victoria, Kansas have this lovely statue giving us a look into that moment of service.  What I enjoy the most about these statues is the ability to walk around, below and above a scene.  When I remember or read the story of John the Baptist and then view this statue, I feel that I am starting to live the moment.  I find it easier to put myself in the scene, watching the interplay of these two great men…the great prophet and the one he was to announce at the River Jordan.

As with all things spiritual and artistic, the moment it clicks comes not from reading the story but rather from the moment it touches your personal soul.  Maybe your mind can grasp it from the words, maybe a picture might make it stick…or just maybe this three dimensional image puts these two men into our lives with the same power those people at the river bank received.  As fellow Christians we must all help each generation find the path that will connect them to Christ.  There is no right or wrong way…there is just the way it clicks.


P.S.  I forgot the Holy Spirit dropped down and added an audio dimension to the story the statue does not..but hey we can add that today when join the chorus to sing our praises to God on high!