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    Part comedian, part teacher, and part pastor, Dugan is a traveling speaker who loves to speak at a variety of events. If you're interested in finding someone to speak at your next retreat, conference, ministry night or leader training, you're at the right place! Dugan has experience speaking to students, adults, men, kids, and more! Whether you're looking for something powerful and moving, or light and comedic, Dugan offers both (as well as everything in between)! Check out Dugan's newest book "Never Alone" and shoot him an email 72,69,82,69,46.EREH

Medicine

I was thinking about medicine the other day.

At the time, I had a cold and was consuming so much Advil Cold and Sinus, IBProfin, Nyquil, and a few other things I grabbed while walking through the medicine aisle at Target in a congested haze, I just started putting them in a bowl with milk in the morning. I’m calling it “Honey Nut Tripledose.”

But the truth about medicine is that it doesn’t really do anything. It doesn’t cure or change anything. All it does is cover up the symptoms.

I know there are some medicines (especially prescription ones) that do help cure things by adding or subtracting chemicals to the body, but the truth about medicines like Tylanol or DayQuil is that they’re simply designed to deal with the symptoms, not the virus.

They make a headache go away or unclog a nasal passage or settle an upset stomach, but the reality is that the source of what caused that is still in our body. The virus is still there, we just aren’t experiencing the effects of it.

Obviously, I’m not a doctor of medical expert, but the more I thought about the medicine I was taking, the more I realized that all I was doing was enabling myself to temporarily not feel bad.

And it was great! I loved being able to breath through my nose or swallow food without wincing or being able to look at mild lighting without my head pounding. But after 4-6 hours, I was right back where I started, needing to take a large pile of pills with my meal and then wait a while for them to kick in.

 

I heard a haunting song the other day that said:

Pick it up, pick it all up.
And start again.
You’ve got a second chance,
you could go home.
Escape it all.
It’s just irrelevant.

It’s just medicine.

You’ve got a warm heart,
you’ve got a beautiful brain.
But it’s disintegrating,
from all the medicine. – “Medicine” by Daughter

Sin can very easily become our medicine.

Alcohol, sex, drugs, gossip, porn, food, power, etc.

It can numb us, make us feel better, temporarily fix our problem, but the root is still there. Our symptoms are gone but the virus isn’t. We escape for a moment but the pain, fear, insecurity, stress, anger, etc. is still there. Waiting to hit us again once our ‘medicine’ wears off.

And unfortunately, too many times I’ve experienced an addiction to this medicine. Some kind of sin pattern that I return to again and again because it temporarily eases my discomfort.

And just like an addiction to medicine can wreak havoc on a person’s body and mind, an addiction to sin can wreak havoc on a person’s soul.

So instead of simply taking medicine, maybe we need to seek a cure. Or more accurately: The Curer.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. – Peter

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Jesus

Going to the doctor takes a higher commitment (time, money, etc.), it might hurt a lot more, and we probably won’t get immediate results. But seeking to heal the root of our problem will benefit us significantly more in the long run than just taking more medicine.

 

So, if sin has become your medicine, seek the Lord for what the root of the issue is in order to heal that.

In the meantime, Advil Cold and Sinus works amazing for a cold.

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The Bible Meets 90’s Music Part II

Here it is again! Things from the Bible, as illustrated through 90’s songs (Alternative Rock edition):


“(Good Riddance) Time of Your Life” by Green Day
Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)

“Sabatoge” by the Beastie BoysFrom that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. (Matthew 26:16)

“The World I Know” by Collective SoulDon’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

“Basket Case” by Green DayHas no one told you, my lord, about the time when Jezebel was trying to kill the Lord’s prophets? I hid 100 of them in two caves and supplied them with food and water. (1 Kings 18:13)

“Comedown” by BushWhen the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:1) OR As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses. (Exodus 33:9)

“Inside Out” by Eve 6Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! (Luke 11:39)

“Self Esteem” by The OffspringThank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139:14)

“Zombie” by The CranberriesThen Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” (John 11:43-44)

“Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing PumpkinsJesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” (Matthew 26:34)

“Hey Man, Nice Shot” by FilterAs Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. (1 Samuel 17:48-49)

“Black Hole Sun” by SoundgardenI watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. (Revelation 6:12)

“Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Hey Jealousy” by Gin BlossomsA peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)

“Alive” by Pearl Jam“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10)

“December” by Collective SoulAnd while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. (Luke 2:6-7)

“Run” by Collective SoulThen the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:46)

“Iris” by Goo Goo DollsAfter Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region. (Matthew 9:27-31)

“Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis MorissetteThen the Lord said to Moses, “Now put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out again, his hand was white as snow with a severe skin disease. “Now put your hand back into your cloak,” the Lord said. So Moses put his hand back in, and when he took it out again, it was as healthy as the rest of his body. (Exodus 4:6-7)

“Fake Plastic Trees” by RadioheadBut the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

“What’s My Age Again” by blink-182Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:27)

“Head Over Feet” by Alanis MorissetteYou brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. (Psalm 30:3)

“Intergalactic” by Beastie BoysThen God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14-18)

“First Date” by blink-182Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine. (Song of Solomon 1:2)

“Never There” by CakeHas the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? (Psalms 77:7)

“Sheep Go to Heaven” by CakeAll the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. (Matthew 25:32-33)

“My Own Prison” by CreedThis letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to Philemon, our beloved co-worker… (Philemon 1:1)

“Stay Together for the Kids” by blink-182 – “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” (Malachi 2:16)

“Father of Mine” by EverclearAt that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. (Matthew 11:25) OR Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

“I Will Buy You a New Life” by EverclearSo King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. (1 Kings 10:23)

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The Bible meets 90’s Music

This post combines two of my greatest passions: The Bible and 90’s Music.

This will be interesting for anybody who:

–       Was born between 1975 and 1990

–       Loves 90’s music

–       Is a pastor

–       Reads stuff on internet blogs

–       Teaches about the Bible

–       Has exhausted every other option for an illustration

–       Is Elliot Day

–       Likes anything that you enjoy

–       Is me

–       All of the above

Here it is: Things from the Bible, as illustrated through 90’s songs (One-Hit-Wonders edition):

“Everything in its Right Place” by Radiohead – Shalom
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. (Numbers 6:26)

“Sex & Candy” by Marcy PlaygroundFor the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. (Proverbs 5:3-4)

“Bittersweet Symphony” by The VerveWhat sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. (Isaiah 5:20)

“Unbelievable” by EMF – You used the lovely things I gave you to make shrines for idols, where you played the prostitute. Unbelievable! How could such a thing ever happen? (Ezekiel 16:16)

“What is Love” by HaddawayLove is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

“You Get What You Give” by The New RadicalsGive, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. (Luke 6:38)

“One of Us” by Joan Osborne – ‘Nough said. Or: Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

“Closing Time” by Semisonic He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. (Revelation 22:20-21)

“Jump Around” by House of Pain…you will jump up from your ambush and take possession of the town, for the Lord your God will give it to you. (Joshua 8:7)    OR Frogs will jump on you, your people, and all your officials. (Exodus 8:4) Ishmael and his ten men suddenly jumped up, drew their swords, and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. (Jeremiah 41:2) OR When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. (Luke 1:44) So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up and went home! (Matthew 9:6-7)

“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray CyrusMy heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! (Psalm 42:4)

“Whoomp There It Is” by Tag Team – God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. (Acts 2:32)

“Torn” by Natalie ImbrugliaLooking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:21-22)

“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’ConnorThen Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:67-69)

“Thong Song” by Sisqo – …probably not usable.

“Good” by Better Than EzraHow kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! (Psalm 116:5)

“The Way” by FastballJesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

“Blue” by Eiffel 65There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. (Exodus 24:10)

“Sandstorm” by DarudeI will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. (Genesis 22:17)

“She’s So High” by Tal BachmanHow beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! (Song of Solomon 1:15)

“My Own Worst Enemy” by LitI don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:15-20)

“Sunny Came Home” by Shawn ColvinSo he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

“Macarena” by Los Del MarAnd everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. (Acts 2:4)

“If You Could Only See” by Tonic“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” (Mark 10:51)

“I’ll Be There For You” by The RembrandtsAnd Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. (1 Samuel 18:3)

“No Rain” by Blind MelonAt times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. (2 Chronicles 7:13) OR A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain. (Proverbs 25:14)

“Jump Jive An’ Wail” – The Brian Setzer OrchestraAnd David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. (2 Samuel 6:14)

“Breakfast At Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something“Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. (John 21:12)

“I Love You Always Forever” by Donna LewisGive thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34) OR Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. (Psalm 89:2)

“Kiss Me” by Six Pence None the Richer – Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine. (Song of Solomon 1:2)

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Pain

I wonder what it’s like for God to watch us be in pain.

 

I remember hearing Donald Miller once talk about a very dark season in his life. He talked about sitting in a hotel lobby during this season and he said he remembered thinking that up until that point, he never really understood why anyone would want to commit suicide. And while he made it clear he did not want to kill himself, he said: “But in that moment, I got it.”

He didn’t have any desire to kill himself, but for the first time, he understood why somebody might want to.

 

I really love my daughter. She’s only 16 months old but she is such a delight and my heart experiences a level of love for her I never knew I was capable of. The draw I have to love her, encourage her, and protect her is overwhelming.

But sometimes, the intensity of my desire to protect her causes me to suddenly begin imagining outrageous situations of danger.

And I find this influencing my behavior.

When Eva begins to move towards the top of the stairs, I jump up out of my chair to ensure the baby gate is closed, despite vividly remembering shutting in 30 seconds before.

I get out of bed and walk through the house at 3am to make sure the doors I locked and double checked at 2am are still locked.

I back out of the driveway at a record breakingly slow speed while checking all 4 mirrors in my car 16 times a second.

I give Eva a bath while crouched on my toes like an athlete waiting to bolt in a sprint to catch her from going below the water’s surface if she slips.

I drop, throw, and step on five-hundred-dollar electronics the moment she starts crying from the other room or on the other side of the couch when I can’t see her.

I react and spill entire cups of water as I bolt to pick her up when she hits her head or pinches her finger.

All this because I have an extremely intense desire to protect her. And while bumping her head or slipping in the bath tub is intense enough, even worse are the mind games that begin to plague me.

My mind begins to spiral down an irrational path of absurd situations involving all the ways that Eva could potentially get hurt. I begin recalling news stories about freak accidents that resulted in young children and babies being hurt or killed. I start to imagine someone breaking into our house, or a wreckless driver smashing into our car, or Eva falling and landing in some funky way that does irreparable damage. And much worse.

 

My protective nature for Eva can often times turn into a very fearful, irrational, overprotective thing that then controls my thoughts and actions.

 

And in the midst of battling these thoughts, I remember thinking this thought: “I have never wanted to be an overprotective parent…but I get it now.”

For the first time, I had an understanding of why some parents end up totally overprotecting and sheltering their children. Why it’s so hard for some parents to let their kids out of their sight or home or emotional connection. The desire to protect someone you care so much about can lead to wanting to protect them in any and every way possible.

And for the first time in my life, it all made sense to me.

And yet I don’t want to be like this with Eva! I want her to make her own journey, to explore, adventure, discover, make mistakes, try new things, gain confidence, grow her independence, become her own person! I love watching her do that! And I can’t wait to learn that balance of holding her hand when needed and letting her try it on her own when needed.

 

But at the same time, there might be times when she will need to get hurt.

I don’t mean I want her to get hurt but the reality is, sometimes her getting hurt might be the best, or dare I say only way for her to learn/grow/live/become who God has made her to be

 

She might get her heart broken.

She might make the wrong choice.

She might touch the stove.

She might come home crying.

She might be betrayed.

She might fail.

She might fall.

And it will kill me. I will rush to her side and hold her and dry her tears and speak encouraging things to her. Every time.

But the reality is that she will get hurt.

And while that will be difficult for me to watch, I also know that it is a good thing.

As C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, and screams to us in our pain.”

Because as imperfect as a father I am and will be, God is not. He is a perfect Father. And He, again and again, allows His children to be hurt. Not because He wants it to happen necessarily, not because He likes it, not because He can’t stop it, but I think it’s because He knows it is serving a higher purpose.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4

Our sufferings produce hope. My hurt produces hope. Eva’s pain will produce hope.

God knows this, and as illogical as it might seem, I know it too.

 

When I pray for Eva every night as I hold her tightly to my chest and her eye lids get heavy, I don’t ever pray that she won’t get hurt. Because I know that won’t happen. And also because I want her to become who God made her to be, which probably means she’ll get hurt.

So instead, I pray that God would be with her and that she would know Him and love Him.

Then I lay her down in her crib and walk downstairs.

Most of the time I don’t want to let her go, but as I’ve heard from many parents before, the process of raising a child is caring for them when they’re totally dependent…and then learning to let go of them.

And if it’s as difficult for me as I anticipate, I know it’s gotta be that much more difficult for God.

But I also know this: whenever we are hurt or in pain, God is right there. Not to take our pain away, but to be with us while we go through it. Jesus never said life would be easy or painless, He just promised that He would never leave us alone.

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The Day My Granddad Died

My granddad died when I was 16.

I know because I was in the room when it happened. I watched him die.

This is him: 

And he has an incredible story.

William (Bill) Carter Brown was in the Air force as an airplane pilot during World War II, and he flew every bombing mission over Germany during his service.

He piloted a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress”, one of the first multi-engined bomber planes ever made by the U.S. As WWII began and the demand for them increased, they became the first modern aircraft that was mass-produced. They were massive, hence the name. Easy targets but able to carry about 4000 pounds worth of bombs.

(Left: My granddad on his B-17. Middle: My granddad with his company. Right: A picture from his Air Force training book.)

The B-17’s would fly in a box formation, so that their nine machine guns could provide overlapping fire to protect each other as they flew and were attacked by smaller fighter planes attempting to bring them down before they reached their target and were able to drop their massively destructive cargo. Unfortunately this formation caused them to be vulnerable to ground-based anti-aircraft guns, however, B-17’s were one of the most durable planes ever flown, with stories of planes losing major sections of their body (such as the tail fin) during a mission and the crew still making it home safe.

This is what my granddad flew over 30 times into enemy territory. He would pilot the plane, set the course, and then sit back and wait. Once they entered enemy territory, all he could do was sit and pray to survive while his crew prepared to drop the bombs and bullets began ripping through his plane. Once the bombs were away, he’d turn the plane around and return home, once again, hoping to survive the trip.

Definitely not a low-stress job. But he did it, and lived to tell about each mission.

After the war, my granddad came home to his fiancé, married her, had two children (including my mom), worked as a furniture salesman, and lived in Ohio.

 

(Left: My granddad and grandma on their wedding day. Right: My uncle – age 11 and my mom – age 5.)

I’m not sure if it was due to post-war issues or how he was raised or something else, but he wasn’t the greatest father to my mom. I don’t know much about what it was like for her as a child, but I know that as an adult, my granddad wasn’t very loving to her. There was tension around her education, her marrying my dad, and the general lack of his involvement in her life. I know it was painful for my mom.

But all that changed about seven years before his death. All that changed after my grandma died.

For whatever reason, after his wife’s death, he did a total 180-degree turn in his attitude. He was interested in my mom and her life, he was interested in me and my sister’s lives, he developed a relationship with my dad, he would call regularly to talk to my mom and hear how we were doing, and he would welcome us into his home a few times a year when we would drive out to Ohio to visit.

I remember my sister and I stayed in his guest bedroom and played darts on a cheap Velcro bull’s-eye. We’d also watch TV on a super old school-television that only got like 3 channels that we had to change by cranking the metal knob on it like we were cracking a rusty safe.

(These are two posters of B-17’s that I gave my granddad and hung in the room I slept in as a kid.
I asked to have them after he died and they now hang in my house.)

His house was old and smelled weird with outdated carpet and tile. He always had whole milk in the fridge and his bedroom had two single beds that him and my grandma slept in until she died (he kept the bed up after she died). But we loved seeing him. He was lively and funny. We usually had to shout so he could hear us but even when he couldn’t, he would smile and nod and just watch us from his chair.

He laughed a lot and loved to talk about his time in the Air force. He played with our dog when we visited and loved to watch morning game shows with us.

(My mom and granddad a few years before he died.)

The last 7 years of his life were wonderful. He was involved at a church, had some close friends, and was a loving father and grandfather to my mom and our family.

 

But then he got sick.

It started out with him getting dizzy spells every once in a while, one time resulting in a large bruise on his face after a hard fall.

And eventually, he ended up in the hospital.

I don’t know all the medical details of what actually caused his death, but I remember him being in the hospital for about a week, each day him getting a little bit worse.

At one point, he would joke with anyone that left the room: “Okay well thanks for stopping by! If I don’t see you again, you know where I’ll be!”

The next day he was much worse. My mom led us all taking communion together with him in his hospital room while he was still able to participate.

The next day he slipped into a coma.

And the next day he died.

We were all gathered in his hospital room.

Me, my sister, my dad, my mom and my uncle among others.

At that point machines were keeping him alive and it got to the point where my mom and uncle made the decision to pull the plug and let him die peacefully, surrounded by family.

I sat on the windowsill when it happened. It was probably the furthest I could have been from him and still been in the room.

I was scared.

I didn’t know what it would be like to watch a person die, let alone a person I knew and loved.

I looked at my granddad lying in the bed. He was usually so full of life, and now he was lying there, completely unaware of anything and unable to interact.

And he was about to die.

My mom, tears streaming down her face, was sitting next to her dad with her hand lovingly on his arm.

She looked up at the nurse and with a slight smile, gave the nod.

The nurse pressed a button (which I guess is how they ‘pull the plug’ nowadays) and walked out of the room.

The machines quieted and all we could hear was my granddad’s breathing.

His breaths got slower and slower and further and further apart.

Until he finally took his last breath in and let it out.

 

And then the most amazing thing happened. To this day, it might be the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.

As he let his last breath out, his eyes, which hadn’t been open or aware for a number of days, opened.

And as they opened, he looked straight ahead towards the ceiling with a look of unmistakable recognition and joy.

And in that moment I realized he was looking at Jesus.

The look lasted for just a second, then his body relaxed, his eyes glazed over, and he was dead.

I couldn’t move.

I sat there looking at the body of my granddad, which I realized in that moment was only a physical shell and that my granddad was in a completely different place with his Savior. This was just his body.  And I had seen the moment that his spirit left it to go be with the Lord. We had all seen the moment he looked God in the face, felt His presence, and then left this planet.

I couldn’t believe it.

My mom looked up at me and smiled a sad yet joyful smile as if to say: That was so cool.

I looked at her with awe and was too moved to smile back.

I started to cry. Not out of fear of pain, but out of joy and wonder. All the fear and mystery and uncertainty about what it would be like to watch my granddad die was gone. All that I felt was this unbelievable joy at having just seen one of God’s children see His face for the first time.

Like my daughter’s face when I come home from work or when you see a loved one coming out of the airport after a long vacation.

Bill saw Jesus.

And I’ll never forget the power and the beauty of that moment.

I’ve never forgotten that moment and I am so grateful for the experience of seeing my granddad become truly alive.

 

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