Remembering My Dad…

Twenty-four-years ago this month my father passed away. Unlike most people, I had to experience his loss twice. When I awoke up from my accident I kept asking where he was. I didn’t remember that he’d passed away four years before. Not only couldn’t I remember his passing but, during my coma, I had seen my dad so clearly. I had felt his presence. I knew he was with me.

My family couldn’t bear to tell me that he had passed away. Doctors and rehabilitation specialists advised my parents to withhold the information; to allow those memories to return to me when… or if they ever would.

They did.

The memories slowly emerged from darkness, almost like a bottle that had risen from the great depths of an ocean, with the contents stoppered inside… safe and sound. I was a daddy’s girl, no mistake. I miss him but I have humbly and thankfully accepted the comfort God has offered me in my grief. And I choose to remember my father with great joy and happiness.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Love Reminds Us Why: Inspiration from Trystan Owain Hughes

“Pain may well remind us that we are alive, but love reminds us why we are alive” Trystan Owain Hughes

Some of you might recognize this quotation from Wm Paul Young’s book, Cross Roads, but it originated from a book called Finding Hope and Meaning in Suffering by Dr Trystan Owain Hughes. Hughes wrote the book after he was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition in the hope of showing others that, even if we are struggling with a severe illness or injury, we have a choice how we respond to adverse circumstances. What Hughes found when he was diagnosed was that, instead of casting him in a downward spiral of unhappiness, the pain and suffering he experienced actually prompted him to actively seek out sources of hope and meaning. He encourages us to “take a step back from our anxieties and worries and rest in the love of God.”

Hughes suggests that there are “five areas where love may be found in the midst of pain: in nature, memory, art, laughter and other people. By becoming conscious of the echoes of the transcendent in these areas, we will gain new strength. And paradoxically, through facing our suffering, learn to truly live.”

He covers the topic beautifully in a post on his own blog entitled: “Love reminds us why”: God and the mystery of suffering.

Suffering can oftentimes be a very private matter and that was one thing I found when I was recovering from my accident. It was difficult for me to fully disclose the depths of my suffering on both a physical and spiritual level because I felt like I was letting everybody down. In retrospect, I was punishing myself for not being a superhero! And although I didn’t have Hughes’ wonderful book to inspire me at the time, I did arrive in the same neighborhood as some of his conclusions.

It became indelibly clear to me at one point that I had a choice. I could lumber and struggle under the weight of my own sorrow and pain, shying away from all the beauty and promise that life offered before my accident… or… I could move toward that light again; actively seeking out the good in life, the positive. Doing things that would affirm my relationship with God, with family, with friends… with myself.

I’m interested to know how you’ve dealt with pain and suffering. What techniques have worked for you? Feel free to leave comments below or if you wish, email me at jacquerainwater@gmail.com.

The Greatest Gift is Love

When I had my accident during the Ice Storm of 1994 I was driving a car with a personalize license plate which read: 1 Cor 13.

For those of you familiar with the verse 1 Corinthians 13, you will know that it is attributed to Paul and it speaks of love, or in the Greek version agape which, although it has a rich and interesting history of interpretation, most often from a Christian perspective centers around love and charity; in particular the love of God for humankind, the love of humankind for God, or the love of our fellowman.

I believe it was the love of God and God working through all the amazing people who helped me that day – and in all the days of my recovery – that saved my life.

1 Corinthians
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there aretongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.