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Life and Loss

randomlychad  —  March 23, 2018 — Leave a comment

It has been a tumultuous couple of years. I suppose, as much at is rather not admit it, I’m aging. Which means people close to me are aging as well.

It means change.

Learning to adapt to changing bodies, energy levels, interests…

Loss.

It’s axiomatic. The older get, the more people we lose. Like in this last year, we lost my wife’s beloved grandma, a close family friend…

Grief has become a constant companion. If not so much overtly anymore, it’s still there just beneath the surface. And it doesn’t have a timetable. It just is. Time itself heals nothing, and closure seems to be just an abstract concept, an illusion. I don’t think we’re ever really over the loss of those close to us.

There’ll be a memory, a familiar place, a previously shared experience which brings those piercing pangs of grief right back…

Life is hard. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. More is required of me, expected of me, as I’m closing in on 50 than ever before. The only answer I know is Jesus. And that his grace is for the cracks.

And the crackpots like me.

–Chad

The latest adaptation of L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time releases this Friday in the states. Thing is, I’ve never read it. In fact, thinking back on my childhood, I can’t remember reading a single children’s book. Not one.

I’m hard pressed to think of an example. The fact that I’m slinging words across this screen now certainly implies that, at some point along the way, I did learn to read. At least I’d like to think so. It’s probably up for debate.

The earliest memory I have of reading something I wanted desperately to read was Stephen King’s The Shining.

I was eleven.

I suppose that explains quite a lot (you over there in the peanut gallery? Yeah, you! Shut up).

I read a lot of King over the ensuing years. No one quite has the mastery of character, setting, local color that he does… In any case this is supposed to be about children’s books, right? Right. And other than The Hobbit I didn’t read really read any books explicitly for children until I was well into adulthood.

I devoured, and loved, Lewis’s Narnia books, the Harry Potter books (but those certainly grew increasingly adult in tone as the characters matured), and not much else. I believe I may have read some of the Lemony Snicket books, but lost interest after the third, or so.

I think I tried reading Winnie The Pooh to my daughter when she was younger, but she lost interest.

So not a lot of children’s books have been read, okay? More’s the pity.

Then I read Shawn Smucker’s The Day the Angels Fell. It was a children’s book about a very deep subject: death. And how sometimes death could be a good thing. But more than that the book contains a rollicking good yarn about a quest for the tree of life. Why am I telling you this? It’s simply this: it’s great that L’Engle’s book is getting another adaptation, but more than anything I wish I could see Smucker’s book up there on the big screen.

I would be the first in line.

What children’s book would you like to see made into a movie?

A Wrinkle in Time releases this Friday, March 8th.

Synopsis:  From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic that takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, good versus evil and, ultimately, the triumph of love.  The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Storm Reid as “Meg Murry.” A Wrinkle In Time is in theaters March 9, 2018

Watch the trailer here: A Wrinkle in Time trailer

The Miracle Season

randomlychad  —  December 15, 2017 — Leave a comment

Hi! I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted any updates here. The truth is I needed to step away; I was in the process of reorienting my life around Jesus…

Or rather He’s been reorienting me around Himself.

Life has become incredibly simple, really. There are those things which give me life, and those that don’t. There were too many years filled with empty pursuits. In any case, when Grace Hill Media asked me to blog about the upcoming motion picture, The Miracle Season, the decision to return here to this forum was simple. This movie appears to be an inspiring, life-giving experience.

THE MIRACLE SEASON is based on the inspiring true story of West High School girls’ volleyball team. After the tragic death of the school’s star player Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hopes of winning the state championship.

THE MIRACLE SEASON is available in theaters everywhere on April 13, 2018!

Watch the new trailer HERE: The Miracle Season trailer on YouTube

Build Boys

randomlychad  —  August 31, 2017 — Leave a comment

I thought of you when I read this quote from “Stepping Up” by Dennis Rainey –

“It’s better to build boys than mend men. —TRUETT CATHY, CEO OF CHICK – FIL – A”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/i4qFLTY

As with yesterday, the following comes courtesy of Grace Hill Media, and makes a compelling point about the vulnerability which accompanies grief. When we are desperate–hurting, grieving, alone–we are often altogether too open to anything which will assuage the pain, numb it, drown out its voice.

Yet that very voice always comes screaming back, shrieking like a banshee, claws like meat hooks piercing our souls. The late, great C.S. Lewis well said that "our passions are not too strong, but too weak… We muck about with drink and sex, when all the the splendors of heaven are open to us."

Yet when we are down in the very depths of despair we don't see that splendor. Grief, loss, pain pale the light, and we reach out for whatever shred of comfort we can find.

Sometimes that takes us to dark places. Whatever comfort we find there turns to ashes and dust, blowing away upon a baleful wind.

And then there is hell to pay…

We know this, but when we're that far gone into despondency we don't care. God doesn't seem real any longer, or if we cling to a shred of faith in his existence, it's in a capricious deity who doesn't care.

Else why would he cause, or allow, us such pain?

Thus the downward spiral goes.

Fortunately, as David wrote, even the darkness is as light to him. And the thing about hitting bottom is that we've hit bottom. We may not be able to see it at the time, but there is a way back up…

Without further ado, Grace Hill Media:

Comforting Those Who Need Us Most
 
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
Thessalonians 4:13-14
 
 
Life is a miracle filled with God’s blessings, love, and cherished memories. Life also comes with struggles, temptations, and loss. At some point in our lives, we will grieve the loss of a loved one.  Our grief is one of the hardest things to overcome – and it manifests differently for everyone.  We as God’s creatures love deeply and thus we feel loss strongly.  
 
For many, it takes time, faith, prayer, and support to heal from the loss of a loved one. But for some, the journey may be too difficult and their burden too heavy.  We’ve all heard that there are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  But what if someone struggles to heal?  What happens if they get stuck in one of the stages of grief – anger- for example can lead to a great deal of self-destruction.  How far might a person go “to make the pain go away.”
 
There’s an upcoming film “Annabelle: Creation” that deals with this very premise. I’m not usually a fan of horror movies but there’s something in the storyline of this upcoming film that’s worth talking about. The movie begins with two parents – the Mullins – who suffer through the unimaginable and sudden death of their daughter.  Their grief is unbearable, and it is when they are at their weakest and most vulnerable that temptation and evil comes with whispers of consolation, and a way of “seeing” their little girl again.  I don’t want to give away any more plot spoilers, but needless to say the Mullins give into temptation, and a supernatural battle against evil takes place in their home.  If you’re a fan of horror movies, you may really enjoy this film which releases in theaters this Friday, August 11.
 
Though the Mullins are fictional characters, the idea that we’ll do anything to hold on to a loved one who has passed and/or that evil wants to take advantage of us during a time when we are vulnerable can be very real.  
 
Grief, especially when it comes unexpectedly, can crush the spirit of even the strongest among us.  As Christians, it is my hope that whenever we come across someone who is grieving, we reach out to comfort and support them with their immediate needs (ex. cooking dinner for the family, babysitting the children, etc.).
 
It is also my hope that we minister and share God love with them and remind them that they are not alone.  As Christians it is our duty to take care, comfort, and pray for one another.  Healing may take weeks, months, or years, but it is a comfort when they know they can turn to God and to their neighbors to help them through.
 
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3
 
“After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Thessalonians 4:17-18