Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where to Start

     Tomorrow will be seven weeks since Nathaniel went to be with Jesus and our lives are anything but put back together, though we are standing and we are moving forward. We miss our little guy more than thought possible.
     Some days are pretty good actually, and we are able to live and feel slightly ok. Other days, it is hard to figure out where to start. Those are the days where the roller coaster of emotions we have experienced really keep us from being able to jump back into "normal" life. We cry, we struggle to find motivation, we hurt, and in my case I can be quite angry on the inside. It is interesting to note that these rough days and moments come without warning, often without prompting, and leave me, at least, wondering about this constant battle between emotion and wisdom because really what separates a good day from bad is how I feel, not what I know.
     That being said, I have been observing this back and forth between emotions and wisdom during this time of grief. Those who believe that the two are one and the same, I challenge you to read on and consider some things that I found. Wisdom is being that of knowing what is right, and emotions are being how I feel and want to act. One always seems to end up the slave of the other in this valley that I currently walk. There are times where the relationship between the two seems healthy and there is respectful treatment of the other; while there are also times when one pushes the other so far out that you don't even know that it is there.
     Let me give an example: I have considered on more than one occasion how much easier it would be to uproot our family and head back to the farm, to which would seem to be a quiet life, much simpler than being a minister, though the actual "work" would be more labor intensive, I would find rest. On top of that, it would be in hockey country. That sounds so good to me, and based on how I feel when emotion is master, I can convince myself that I deserve it. I have given my entire adult life to God's kingdom and the church(10 years), and I have had my heart ripped out and, what feels like, everything taken away. I deserve quiet and simple and I don't believe anyone would hold it against me.
     Compare that to getting back into ministry, in which people need you to be strong, people need you to lead, the hours never stop and you are never off the clock, and you are constantly fighting for battleground for eternity. Maybe to some a Pastor's job seems easy, and a lot of the time it sure can be;  however, it is those moments of spiritual warfare that come from taking a stance and choosing the side of Christ, and the emotional maturity (or lack there of) that comes with working with people that make this job end up on the tougher end. So which will it be? Pigs? or People? (I laughed as I wrote that because sometimes the line can seem a little blurry pending on the day or person)
     Emotionally, the farm seems like a better pick. But where is the wisdom?
     Wisdom got pushed out the door. What? It would seem wise to make a move like that for the health of me and my family doesn't it? Maybe, but for me wisdom is deeper than that. It is centered around God's purpose for me and our lives in eternity. It means, as the band Switchfoot put it, "we were meant to live for so much more."
     My wisdom says, God is good in all things, even this, and you will see your son again. I have a relationship with Christ. He died for me so that I might live, so that my son is in heaven in his arms right now. Wisdom also says my family is the body of Christ and serving in His mission can bring many more into the fold. Basically, it will be hard, it will be tough, it hurts now, and there is more hurt to come, but in the end the eternal consequences for obedience to the Lord and loving His people, will bring about a happiness and joy greater than any experience here during this earthly existence. Wisdom says stay in ministry and keep up the fight.
     That is a pretty intense example so let me put it on a lower level. There have now been three times where emotions have really taken over me and I have punched a filing cabinet, a door, and a wall. I was overwhelmed with anger and hurt and lashed out beating these objects with one solid knockout...I think I almost broke my wrist on the filing cabinet and each time it hurt like crazy and didn't really make me feel any better. Most of you would probably agree with this statement,"duh!" Wisdom would say, that wood is stronger than skin, bad idea. Emotion said, "aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! PUNCH! Owe! Dang it! This really hurts!"
     As I read my own thoughts it sure seems like one is easier and I guess that is my point. When emotions rule my decisions, wisdom comes in second. When wisdom rules my decisions, it doesn't necessarily feel all that good. Obviously, there are other circumstances in which we can make different points for emotions and wisdom being more closely connected and yes the two can work together, but writing about that wouldn't make me FEEL good (LOL). One of them is generally the winner and master which our decisions and behaviors follow.


  1. Very well written, El Philio, and thought out, to boot. And, uh, I agree with the Pigs vs People some days as well.

  2. Wow, what a glimpse into the soul of anguish. Although I don't have great insight or profound wisdom to share, this I know: although the Lord cares about everything regarding us, He is more concerned about our character development than happiness in our present circumstance. Enough already, huh? You are doing SO well, Phil. Keep standing!
    With that being said, my one truth I know I can tell you is simple: No matter what, in the end, WE WIN! :-)

  3. Hi Phil,

    So very hard to imagine your loss. It kind of takes ones breath away and leaves the body in physical pain, and the brain struggling to comprehend what is happening, eh?
    That God is in the moment of both emotion and wisdom and able to handle their diversity gives us pause. Hmm. I like how you are able to separate the internal conflict of ministry and preservation. No answer, here. But I admire your susinct-ness.
    Looking forward to seeing you again. Oh, and you don't have to hide from this process or be any stronger than you are at any one moment - it is in our weakness - this weakness - that God is made perfect. Something to ponder. love from Susan J S Goerz

  4. Obedience is the master of both wisdom and emotions. Sometimes obedience to Christ confounds both.