I went to the Psalms today because I knew I’d be able to find one that would help me with my current mood. Two friends recently died and I’m trying to deal with my emotions. I’ve learned if I don’t express them in some way they become buried inside which hurts only me.
I found just what I needed in Psalm 44. It’s a lament after Israel suffers a humiliating defeat. The Psalmist seems to blame God for all that happened and I don’t believe these deaths are God’s fault but the feelings expressed are similar to my own. Psalm 44:23 yells at God to “wake up! We’re lying in the dirt and we need your help. Arise and come to our help!” (The Inclusive Bible)
Why did my friends die at such a young age? I don’t know the answer but I do know, I’m mad.
I met Mike Vosberg-Casey at the Open Door Community. He never held a regular paying job but instead used his life doing unpaid activities such as serving folks who were homeless and spending time in prison for crossing the line at what was formerly called the School of Americas in Georgia. He married a death penalty lawyer and was a stay-at-home dad. He died a month ago from colon cancer at the age of 39. He spent his life honestly serving others and he didn’t care what folks thought. He listened to his friends’ council but he knew God’s voice was the only voice that mattered.
My other friend who died was Bill Thompson (see Nov. 9, 2012)
I served on a team who supported him as he went from living homeless to having an apartment. He had a marvelous sense of humor and in him I saw someone who never gave up no matter what life brought him. He died last week at age 57 from a rare form of Parkinson’s. It is so unfair because he was just getting his life back together.
Psalm 46 helps me here. “God is our refuge and our strength, who from of old has helped us in our distress.” Although I don’t understand my friends’ deaths, God is my refuge and will give me strength and wisdom to learn from their lives. Like Mike, I want to stop caring what folks think of me as I do what I hear God calling me to do. As he believed, this is all that matters. Like Bill, I hope I have a sense of humor around my challenges as he did with his many struggles. I never want to give up even if I get an illness like Parkinson’s and have to move into a nursing home because I can no longer take care of myself as he did.
Life is too short and precious for me to live any other way.