Four family deaths and the burial of three loved ones on the same day did something to me that only those closest to me have witnessed. Today I want to reveal it to everybody. The death of Jacob has doused many passions I once enjoyed and involved myself in life. Like a bucket of water thrown on a campfire all that is left of the once hot fire are charred coals, some rising steam, and the sound of hissing.
I want to write about the death of passion for those who are on the outside of grief and know nothing about losing a child. I desire to write this not to be critical or cynical of your passions so I preface my writing so you don’t misunderstand my heart. My hope is that perhaps I can help somebody who is confused as to what changed in their friend who once shared similar passions with them. Maybe your golfing partner no longer plays anymore, perhaps your buddy doesn’t want to come over and watch the big games like he used to. What happened? I think I can explain it out of my own personal experience.
I used to be obsessed with outdoor activities. I couldn’t get enough of hunting and fishing. I once was deeply involved and passionate about the sport of wrestling. There was a time when American politics were of great interest to me and I involved myself in the dialogues and used to be a dutiful voter. I also was once a fanatically obsessed fan of Michigan sports teams. It was easy for me to enter into activities and conversations that involved my passions at one time, but not anymore. On March 26th & May 15th 2014 these fires were quenched by a bucket of grief. Oh, there are the remnants of the fire there in my life but none of my former passions mean a hill of beans to me anymore.
The death of certain passions have caused me to pull away from the conversations and activities that I was once obsessed over. Much of it is like eating a cracker with cotton mouth and nothing to wash it down with.
My former passions have all but become inane nonsense to me. I hate the political noise, I can’t change the world with my one vote so I have chosen to walk away from a former passion that is of no personal help to me. I no longer allow my thoughts and desires to be hijacked by my sports teams, or guns, politics or outdoor activities. No, grief has all but struck the last and fatal blow to those former passions. Even entering into the conversations of these things has become difficult for me to endure. Why is this? Have all my passions died?
In my experience with grief I have learned to chuck all the noise and nonsense that only adds to the chaos and robs me of peace. Most of the passions I once had have all but died in my grief and I am not sure they will ever be resurrected again. I suppose only time will tell me that, I am not without passion however. Life’s passions for me got extremely pared down because death always magnifies what is truly important and eliminates what is not. Deer hunting, a stinky fish, political views, a football game are of little or no value to me anymore. Though I still lightly involve myself in these occasional enjoyable activities they don’t consume me.
Bring up politics, hunting, fishing and sports and I may be lightly engaging but quickly bored. And if I were to bring up my passions you might be lightly engaging and terribly bored as well. What have my passions and interests boiled down to you might ask. Read my blog posts and you will discover that I am passionate about the truth. Jesus said, “I am truth” and he also stated that “the word of God is truth.” Jesus is God in flesh, and he as the God-man beat death, was raised, ascended through the heavens, and is now seated at the right hand of God. The scriptures foretold it, it happened, and he is returning to judge the earth. I am passionate about this hope in him.
I have discovered that people have many passions but I find few people (especially men) who are passionate about Jesus and the truth.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
Oh and by the way, I do have one other passion I will mention. Her name is Stacey and we have three beautiful kids (one in heaven) who we are passionate about. They have life partners now and God willing I expect my family to grow. Somehow I think that grand babies will be our next passion in life.
Jesus said that our mouths reveal the passions of our hearts. What we talk most reveals our true passions, so we do well in listening to the stuff that our tongues are wagging about. Many of the passions that once dominated my time, my thinking and speaking died with my son. My passions are for Jesus, the truth, and my family, almost everything else to me has become superfluous.
Maybe I am an anomaly or maybe I am not, but this is for certain. Grief pares down our passions to the most important things in life. Sorry if I don’t appear to care about my former passions anymore, the fire was doused by 4 funerals. I am pretty sure other grieving people are feeling similar things. So cut some slack to your friends and family who have silenced the noise and focused on the things that matter most to them. Death kills many passions but also gives life to the passions that matter most; don’t try to understand this, just please take note and accept it for what it is.