Things have been getting worse.

I thought 4 Weeks/30 Days would be some signpost on how I can survive.

And now I’m at a whopping 32 days and it’s just getting harder.

Maybe it’s because I hit a huge tidal wave of grief a few days ago that I still find myself sinking under.

This will pass. It’s what I hear. It’s what I know.

But it’s so bad. It’s so hard. It’s so dark and deep and all-encompasssing.

I want to be that Happy Andrea.

I want to be productive.

I don’t want to sink anymore, I want to rise.

But here I am, sinking.

Through it all, I do hear one clear encouragement from the Lord:

Don’t worry, Andrea. You are exactly where you need to be.
You have never been outside my will.
You are right in the center of my embrace.
The center of my purpose.

So right now, where I need to be is sinking deep into the ocean of sadness.

Just taking a trip on that Sad Boat.

Just a BIG OLE round-the-world cruise on that Sad Boat.

I do feel support as I ride the Boat. People are shouting out encouragements to me. People are throwing money into my Sad Boat.

It helps. It does, it does!

Yes, people are trying to help me get off and on that Sad Boat, and yes, everyone is doing a great job. Everyone’s working overtime!

But on that Sad Boat I remain.

And I want to get off.

It’s just not my time.

I hope people keep loving on me. It makes my boat easier to float.

And I hope they realize it’s not their fault I’m still on the boat.

They’re doing everything they can!

And I guess I need to give myself that same grace–

And tell myself over and over again how it’s not MY fault I’m still on the boat

I’m doing everything I can.

And I guess I’m right where I need to be.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Thank you.

How can I ever find the words to say more words than thank you?

THANK YOU.

What a blessing, a gift, a light in the darkness.

So many of you have given so, so generously. Radically and generously. I am beyond grateful. I am GREAT with GRATE-FULL-NESS.

I would enter my new life with very little if it were not for your beyond generous donations. What would I do without you? I shudder, and I’m grateful.

Oh but how the expenses and financial fears tally up.

Oh but how dare I ask for more?

I don’t know. It feels wrong and right. Wrong because you have already proven tenfold that you love me, that you will lift me, but right because I know I have more to do and more I need.

Need might be an extravagant word- but it would help.

Regardless, I need to tell you of my promise.

I give you this promise– whatever you are able to part with, I promise to use well.

I really, really want to keep writing. I NEED to keep writing. And this dang but beloved blog doesn’t make me any money.

So if you’ve been encouraged by my blog, would you consider contributing a small amount so I can continue devote significant time to my writing? So I can continue to process my grief with my pen? So I don’t have to rush into a brand new life, so I have some money to live off of so I can pray and fast and discern what to do with this new life? And so maybe I can use my pain to help someone else?

I hope someday soon to feel financially secure again. To have a home, and a job, a calling and a family and money to give. But I don’t know when that day will be. I hope someday to be on the other side of this, sharing testimony of how many people lifted me up and supported me in a very literal way in my life’s darkest moment. I hope to be at the other side and to give MY money away with radical generosity, lifting up friends and strangers in THEIR darkest moments.

I am so grateful for you friends.

And to you who have already done so much, (cards, flowers, favors, amazon gifts, print orders, cash, meals, gift cards) PLEASE STOP GIVING ME THINGS! You have done so much. I can never repay you! Instead just try to convince make your moms and your aunts and extended networks give me things… kidding. But not at all.

By the way, this is as honest as it gets, talking about money. About FREAKING MONEY.

I hope you hear my heart in all of this. And I hope you hear how I love you, how I desperately love you.

So here comes the link.

Donate here: GoFundMe

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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So, some very poetic things happened as I walked along the beaches of Lincoln City this weekend.

But then some very… different thoughts came to me,

As I pondered the mortality of all things, and the immortality of God and Oceans.

I just couldn’t stop looking around me and seeing how all of us ALIVE would be dead someday.

How everything around me would be dead someday.

That seagull? Gonna die.

Everyone on that boat? Gonna die.

That dude? Yup. Dead someday. Full dead. Can’t change it.

Then it escalated quickly.

Awwww, that adorable little dog??? HE’S GONNA DIE!

That precious toddling toddler? GONNNNNAAAAAA DIE.

That old lady? DEFINITELY DEAD SOON.

WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALL OF US!!! ME TOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

CAN’T ESCAPE IT!

NUTHIN’ WE CAN DO ABOUT IT!

DIE DEAD DIE ASHES TO ASHES DUST TO DUST FULL DEAD DEAD ALL DAY DEAD ALL NIGHT

WE’RE ALLLLLLLL GONNNAAAAAA DIEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

(In a sports announcer voice.)

I mean, I went a little nuts. I MAY even had a little bit of fun with it…

But I mean, it’s true isn’t it?

And by true, I mean it’s like the truest thing ever, actually.

There is NOTHING truer than death.

Nothing certain-er or even MORE certain than death.

So why are we so scared?

Why don’t we talk about it more?

I know for me, I need to stop avoiding death, and start living.

Death is inevitable. Every person I’ve ever met, and will meet, will die. Even me.

So what do I do with that knowledge?

I LIVE. And I try to find purpose.

I encourage you all to face your mortality.

I challenge you to stop delaying what you think about death, life, and God.

You don’t know the number of your days.

You do know this– you’re going to die.

So what are you going to do with that knowledge?

And when are you going to decide what you want to believe?

If you knew BJ, know he’d want you to not be afraid. Know he’d want you to stop running from the inevitable. Know he’d want you to explore scary things like death and God and Jesus and eternal life. Know he’d totally get that you’re weirded out. Know that he was totally weirded out at one point. Know that he decided to give his life to God. Know he believed it was the best decision he ever made. Know the peace and comfort God graced us both with as we battled cancer. Know the joy BJ felt, experienced, and shared, even as he faced something scarier than many of us will ever face.

If you loved BJ, you owe it to him to explore the God he loved so very much.

Know BJ loves you.

And he wants you to know death doesn’t have to be scary.

Or the final answer.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Thank God for oceans

 

I was dipping my toes in the ocean.

I was picking up rock after rock, saying a prayer, then chucking them into the ocean.

And I thought,

Thank God for oceans.

It’s a weird thing, being human.

Us humans weren’t made to last.  We die.

We all die.

But oceans– they don’t stop. They don’t end. They don’t die.

So sitting at the foot (feet?) of the Mighty Pacific Ocean, I thought

Thank God for oceans.

Everything in my life can be stripped away. I can lose friends, family, possessions, jobs, dreams–

But I can’t lose the ocean.

It won’t ever go away.

As I walked and dreamed and offered thanks, God filled my head with metaphors and melodies:

Enraptured by you. Surrounded by Blue. Floating in waves of love, I’m enraptured by you.
(A song I’d written that came to me unexpectedly.)
You will lift my head above the mighty waves. You are able to keep me from stumbling.
(A song I’d heard for the first time this weekend.)
And there I find You in the mystery. In oceans deep my faith will stand.
(A classsic.)

And I knew, I understood–

The ocean can never be taken away from me.

I can lose everything, but I can’t lose the ocean.

Maybe that’s enough.

An ocean is pretty big. Pretty spectacular.

Maybe it’s enough.

God and oceans.

I’m pretty sure it’s enough.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Death isn’t scary.

The aftermath of death is scary. The unforeseen future. The loose ends. The shock.

THAT is scary.

But the actual dying part? BJ in my arms?

It wasn’t scary.

Don’t get me wrong– it was sad. It was life-altering. It was devastating.

But it wasn’t scary.

Death isn’t scary.

Are you surprised to hear that?

Maybe that’s an overstatement. Maybe death IS scary, but it wasn’t scary for me.

You see, I had never seen a “dead body” before.

Now I have.

And it wasn’t scary.

We think of dead bodies and we think spooky ghosts and creepiness and gore.

But it wasn’t like that at all.

Being near BJ’s body after he passed was one of the most sacred moments of my life.

Maybe I’m weird, or crazy. Maybe my experience is unusual. Maybe it’s not. This isn’t something we talk about a lot so I don’t know. And I can’t speak to people who die violent deaths, but for my BJ, his passing from cancer, his slowly decreasing heartbeat–

It wasn’t scary.

If anything, this whole thing has imprinted the “naturalness” of death.

We all die.

We ALL die.

BJ’s just came sooner than we thought.

But it’s not like it was NEVER going to come, you know what I’m saying?

The reality of being human is the reality that we are going to die someday.

All
of
us.

I’m going to die.

I’m going to DIE.

And there is not a thing I can do about it.

So death really isn’t scary- it’s reality. It’s the future.

And really, it should be nothing to be afraid of.

Now I don’t mean for this to become a monologue on mortality. I doubt I really have anything new to say on this topic, but I need to say it anyways. And maybe though this is not a new thought, it could be reaching a new audience.

ANYWAYS.

BJ’s dead body.

(Feel free to stop reading but this is personal processing and therapy time.)

BJ’s body, absent of his soul, but still carrying his likeness, his essence– it was beautiful.
He was beautiful.

He was peaceful. He wasn’t suffering any more. He was at rest, at ease. Free of pain and sickness.

And I sobbed as the reality of never hearing his voice again set in, but I was overcome with the peace that “this happens.”

This is the way of the world. This is what it means to be human.

People die.

And sometimes-

YOUR people die.

So death isn’t scary, it’s truth. It’s life. It’s reality. It’s inevitable. It happens.

So yes I’m still sad, still confused, still grieving-

But this whole thing is making me see death in a whole new way.

And maybe that’s right where I need to be.

So death isn’t scary. It can even be beautiful.

(Sad and beautiful)

Oh BJ, what an honor to be there at your passing. To see you dip your toes in both worlds,
one minute on earth and the other in Heaven.

I am glad and I am grateful to have been a huge part of your life here on earth.

And you will forever be a huge part of my life here on earth.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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