The Catalyst

Seeing friends post about the Catalyst West Coast Conference last week and then seeing Michael Hyatt’s blog this morning has me thinking about that word: catalyst. I want to look at two definitions here from

1. Chemistry: a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
2. A person or thing that precipitates an event or change.
I talk in my book about my father’s death being a catalyst for my brother. I suppose it was for me as well but it was more obvious with my brother. Paul’s first drink alone and on a Monday came on that day. And so the downward spiral began. Paul was going to drink until his father woke up.
Daddy didn’t wake up. The catalyst (death) remained unchanged.
It might surprise you to find out that I didn’t think Paul was close to our father. I felt this way because he never went to see our father. I guess what I didn’t realize is that it was just too painful for him to watch his father deteriorate. I remember his friend Jack telling me that one time they were near the convalescent hospital and Paul booked it across the street to the other side. The only time he was there in those five years Daddy was sick was that final Monday. I can still hear his voice, “He looks so small.”
Daddy didn’t wake up. The catalyst (death) remained unchanged.
Paul stayed true to his word and never stopped drinking. Even in rehab he found a way to drink. In fact after rehab, things seemed to get worse. Finally his body could no longer support his self-medicating and he went to the everlasting sleep. In both of these deaths I found out things about myself. The most important thing is: I never could have gone through these losses without my faith. The second: God made me to be strong for a family that needed me.
Daddy didn’t wake up. Paul won’t wake up. The catalyst (death) remained unchanged. 
And I’m okay with that. We have a time coming when there will be no more night, no more pain, no more death.
Daddy will wake up. Paul will wake up. The catalyst (Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord) remains unchanged.

My View From The Loft

The choir loft is gone.

That was my thought when I stepped into the church I’d started attending in college. I hadn’t been there in almost 15 years.  It was the first church I went to without my family but it was close to school and taught from the Word. Being that it wasn’t the church we grew up in, you might find it odd that I have a memory of my brother there. 

The choir loft is gone.

He sat in the balcony that Christmas Sunday. The week before I had bravely made contact with my homeless brother. It was a brave thing to do because not only did I have to talk to a stranger to help me find him but I had to hurt my mother. But it had to be done. From the choir loft I looked up and saw my older brother, now looking even older. It was the first time I’d seen him since he became homeless. 

The choir loft is gone.

I sat in the choir loft singing, watching him sing and trying to process it all.  I honestly didn’t understand it. He seemed to be enjoying the service so much so why couldn’t he turn to God for help with his addiction? The next morning I still wouldn’t understand it, but I would find peace.

The choir loft is gone.

It was the last time my brother was in church. It was the last time we would sing together this side of Heaven. The place which I wondered and prayed is gone. The next time I’ll sing with him we’ll be in a new Choir Loft and instead of looking like an old man, my brother will be a redeemed man.

Easter Memories?

Seeing all the children dressed up for Easter at church yesterday made me think about my childhood Easters. Not remember, but think about. When it comes to Easter outfits I would need a picture to spark a memory and there aren’t any.
I thought I had found such a picture but then I looked at the date Sept. of 66 and am just not sure. I guess it’s possible that Dad took the picture at Easter time and then waited for the roll of film to be completed before taking it to the developer. Too bad I didn’t ask my mom about it. It’s just another one of those gaps in my life. But it’s a good gap. It’s a nice picture that takes me to that place deep down where I know that, while our life was hard, it wasn’t all bad.

I’m reminded of my Bible reading this morning. Moses wanted to see God’s Face but that wasn’t allowed. Instead he was placed in a gap in the rock so that God’s Glory could pass by. Whether it be gaps in my memory or painful memories, I’ve known all along that God was close by.

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