"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Monday, April 23, 2012

LOSS & My Pair of Cleat (TOS)

Universal: of, pertaining to, or characteristic of all or the whole: universal experience. Applicable everywhere or in all cases; general.

"The wise man has eyes in his head,
   while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
   that the same fate overtakes them both."
-Ecclesiastes 2:14 

Last week I had the great fortune to talk with a good friend of nineteen years. The conversation was like most chats where time and distance has become the great separator leaving the discussion solely centered around spouses, significant others, work and children. Throughout the exchange happiness surrounded the words of good health, shock and disbelief when recanting the number of children that bare my last name and delightful laughter was commonplace concerning all things to do with love and relationships.

It was a good conversation. 

I know this because it is said that "all good conversations gravitate towards philosophy." 

So true.

And while are verbal exchange increased with satisfaction we soon began to bare our souls a bit and philosophy became part and parcel of our little talk while discussing life and everything it has to offer in the way of disappointment, sadness and sorrow. We contemplated broken relationships, lost dreams and the loss of loved ones. As our conversation came to a close my friend shared with me that her mother died a few years back and that her Dad struggles mightily in her absence.  
After a sorrowful response and a few words of encouragement I ended with three not so profound words; "Loss is universal."

She agreed.

With that we said our goodbyes and then I asked her if there is anything she would like me to write about. She replied that no one had ever ask her that question, but she wanted time to ponder her thoughts before she responded.

"Take your time", I said.

A few hours later her response was heartfelt when leaving me a message on my cell phone.

"Talk about loss" she said as she finished her message;"talk about loss."

I texted her back; "will do."

People often say there are only two things that are certain in life; death and taxes. I believe this to be true, but I also believe there is room to add a third foreseeable consequence called loss. I use the word consequence because if one lives long enough one will experience some kind of loss that is at times unbearable and creates a pain that has few remedies.

Loss can be devastating. 

One only has to attend a funeral of someone that died young in life or look in the eyes of a mother and father as they bury their child. Words can't adequately describe the grief and pain that is lodged deep in the eyes of someone that is experiencing deep and intense pain.

It is awful to observe someone dealing with loss and even worse to experience hurtful loss.  

As I mentioned before; "loss is universal."

Not very profound, but true.

In the book entitled; "Poverty to Prosperity", written by James Allen in 1901, these words were written in the first paragraph of the book about pain and loss:

Unrest and pain and sorrow are the shadows of life. There is no heart in all the world that has not felt the sting of pain, no mind has not been tossed upon the dark waters of trouble, no eye that has not wept the hot blinding tears of unspeakable anguish. 

There is no household where the Great Destroyers, disease and death, have not entered, severing heart from heart, and casting over all the dark pall of sorrow. In the strong, and apparently indestructible meshes of evil all are more or less fast caught, and pain, unhappiness, and misfortune wait upon mankind. 

As you can see the phenomenon of pain and loss has been universal for some time.

And though our chances are 100% that we will experience loss what isn't universal is how we choose to deal with our misfortune and grave disappointment. 

We all have choices in every situation.

The good news is that with all the pain we will experience there are choices, healthy choices, at our disposal. And though our pain during loss might be unbearable and suffocating it in no way has to define us.

Over the years my ability to respond over reacting in tough situations has grown, and that growth has been anchored in God's word. More specifically, the words of David in Psalm 61, 62 and 63 has taught me some very valuable lessons about how to deal with severe disappointment and painful loss.

Allow me to share.   


The first thing we should do is cry; get it out. We are all humans and not robots, and with this less than enlightening fact it is important that we display our emotions and express how we feel; often if we have to. Interesting enough is the fact that the shedding of tears is healthy. Dr. William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center in Minnesota and his team analyzed two types of tears: the emotional ones (crying when emotionally upset and stressed) and the ones arising from irritants (such as crying from onions). They found that the tears that were emotional based contained more of the protein-based hormones, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and leucine enkephalin (natural painkiller), all of which are produced by our body when under stress. It seems as if the body is getting rid of these chemicals through tears. That explains why we usually feel better after a good cry. So, there you go. Cry as much as you want - it is probably good for you. Now I know what Lemony Snicket meant when he said; “ know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.”

There is also a spiritual cause that supports crying. Psalm 61:1-4 states;

1 Hear my cry, O God;
   listen to my prayer.
 2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
   I call as my heart grows faint;
   lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
   a strong tower against the foe.
 4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
   and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

It's important to cry out to God. I will say it again; "It is important to cry out to God." God is all knowing and He knows the depth of our pain and understands our affliction. Even if you feel as Job did when he proclaimed in Job 32:20; "I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me", God hears you. God will always hear you; God will always see your tears. He understands your pain.


One of the toughest virtues to obtain in ones life is the virtue of patience. Webster defines patience as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. It's tough to embody all of those qualities when we are hurting. On the other had it is easy, very easy, to complain, loss our temper and to become bitter. The good news is the God has put a limitation on our pain and suffering, and though when we are in the midst of deep and threatening pain God has a plan for that pain and suffering in the midst of that circumstance. If we allow Him to guide us with his providential and protective hand we will see the purpose of our hurt. We can grow from our pain if will just wait on God and His direction. The words of David in Psalm 62:1-2 states; 

I wait quietly before God,
    for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will never be shaken.

If we wait quietly for Him victory will come, understanding that in His arms we will always feel protected, in His arms we will never feel disconnected. It makes no difference the valley of life we are experiencing, God will always be there if we invite Him into the circumstance. Be patient, wait on Him. He will rescue you in due time. His timing is always perfect. 


In Martha Munizzi's song she sings these words;

 Because of who You are, I give You glory.
Because of who You are, I give You praise.
Because of who You are, I will lift my voice and say;
Lord, I worship You because of who You are.
Lord, I worship You because of who You are.
 Jehovah Jireh, my provider.
Jehovah Nissi, Lord, You reign in victory.
Jehovah Shalom, my Prince of Peace;
and I worship You because of who You are.

In the midst of our trial and tribulation,; our pain and loss, God is still God and He is worthy of our praise. David went on to say in Psalm 63: 2-5;

I have seen you in your sanctuary
    and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.

God deserves our praise. Whether the sun is shinning or the clouds are promising rain we must find a place in our heart to truly praise God and have the faith to believe in Him and His promises. He will never leave us or forsake us. His word is true and His promises will be realized, we only need to put our trust; our confidence in Him. He is my Jehovah Jireh, my provider. He is my Jehovah Nissi, my victory in time of foreseeable defeat and He is Jehovah Shalom, my peace in all times. He is all things that are good in every good and bad time, and because of that He deserves my worship; my praise.

This past week I had the very unfortunate experience to to view from afar the sadness and sorrow that surrounds that of a fallen soldier. Capt. Nicholas Rozanski was laid to rest last Wednesday. Nicholas was one of three Ohio National Guard soldiers killed in a suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan. He was a Dublin, Ohio native; he was 36

I happen to live across from the St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church where the service was performed, and as I watched the crowds of people gather at the church where it's bells, the ones I hear each day signifying a new hour, seemed louder to me. I could only think of Ernest Hemingway's novel "For Whom the Bells Toll" and the fact that Afghanistan, some 7000 plus miles away from Dublin, seemed so very close to me.

As I reviewed the fact(s) in my mind that Nicholas left behind a wife and two small children my spirit became heavy; my emotions overwhelmed. "God be with them" I prayed.

An American Hero.

In times of sever difficultly and unspeakable pain we realize in short order what we can depend upon and what we can cling to.

It is times like this that I realize that God has provided and sent everything we need. He gives us His comforter, His Holy Spirit; His Parakletos.

The Greek word for Holy Spirit is Parakletos (par-ak'-lay-tos) which literally means "one who consoles, one who intercedes on our behalf, a comforter or an advocate." 

Parakletos, pronounced down south as pair-of-cleat-tos, is to mean summoned, called to one's side. It is one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate. One who pleads another's cause with one, an intercessor. In the widest sense, a helper, aider, assistant. Parakletos is the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.

God's spirit, His Parakletos, sole responsibility is to provide divine strength when our strength isn't enough. 

It is our helper in time of need.

(true phonetic spelling)

In closing, I never had the privilege and honor to meet Capt. Nicholas Rozanski, and I've yet to meet his wife and children, but with that it is my prayer that they all experience God's hand wrapped around their heart. It is my hope, and prayer, that God's spirit surrounds their thoughts, wipes away their tears and provides them with hope; protects their future. It is also my hope that every time Nicholas' wife puts a pair of cleats on those two little children's feet she realizes that there is One there with her, One that is there to comfort her, to provide peace and perspective, and finally, One that is there to strengthen her and ultimately provide victory.

Just cry, wait, praise.... and see. 

sbb 23.4.12