DWITS #4 – Chapter 1, The Sting of Death
In order to get through writing (and reading) a book on death, personal stories interspersed with upbeat moments evoking hope and peace can help overcome our struggles with grief. I am pleased to share the opening paragraphs of the first chapter, which I pray will entice you to read the rest of my book!
I have always been drawn to bodies of water, especially where they meet with white sand beaches. This love of water probably began when I was just a girl. My hard-working father dutifully and joyfully took off two weeks every summer of my childhood to drive our family from Wichita, Kansas to far-off lakes and oceans. Once to our destination, I enjoyed fishing with Dad, beachcombing with Mom, building sandcastles and swimming with my siblings. I cherish those memories and endeavor to replicate them with my own children.
Now in my early-60s, I still make it a priority to escape my everyday farm life in land-locked northeastern Colorado to explore Caribbean or Pacific islands for my longed-for, much-needed beach time at least twice a year. The endless song of crashing surf, exotic backdrop of towering palms, fine sand clinging between my toes, hot sun browning my aging skin, and salty breeze kissing my wrinkled face, symbiotically soothes my soul far more than any other earthly pleasures can.
In between my beach chair reading sessions, I walk out into shallow water, run through waist-high foamy waves, swim out to the deeper blue, then catch a wave as I lie prone on a boogie board. The waves are usually not too fierce, just high enough to carry me back to shore. But sometimes they like to dominate, plunging me underwater. I surface with a shake of my head, choke on salt-laced water, gasp for air, then make sure my leashed, prescription sunglasses are still in-place. One time I did lose a pair when pummeled under some especially strong surf on a remote beach in Cozumel!
The beach captivates me. It is my grand scale sensory reminder of the sovereign power and constant presence of our great God. His Love engulfs us; His Power is ever-present; His Presence knows no bounds; His Refreshment is constant; His Peace is without end.
About a year ago, I took a two-week writing sabbatical to Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii. Enjoying the beach twice daily, I was reminded yet again of God’s overwhelming love for me. His gift to me was a house-sitting opportunity for some dear friends (thank you, Susu and Greg!). That incredible time of refreshment and restoration allowed me to write the first draft of this book. I poured out tears — dammed-up for 20+ years from life-shattering grief — onto my keyboard. In utter quiet, in complete solitude, I was able to process all that had happened to me. In that time of reflection, I could clearly see how God rebuilt my life after each of three immediate family member’s deaths, forming me to be fit for His service. A vessel that could help pour His water of life out onto the lives of others through my writing. It blessed me to write this book, and I hope it blesses you to read it. To Him be the Glory, now and forevermore.