Taking Away The Sting Of Death

I thought of Carol last Saturday during the Stewardship Consultation. I thought of her again today when reading the story linked below in this reflection.

Carol and Rick and their three college-age daughters joined Broadmoor Community Church in Colorado Springs. I remember the February, 1980 day, the same say the USA beat Russia in Olympic Hockey. Obviously, even though my first Sunday as pastor, the man counting attendance had little to do!

That very Sunday Rick and Carol arrived, their first time. They left their name and asked for a visit. The next morning, I called Carol, remember her laryngitis and made an appointment for the next night. That same afternoon I had forgotten I had called Carol, called her again. There was “something” about that raspy voice. I thought, Where have I heard that voice before?

It was Carol! I was Mark! What a mess-up. I admitted that I had forgotten the morning conversation. In the perfect “Carol tone” she responded, “Oh, it’s so nice to have a minister who’s not afraid to be a human being.”

Life continued. A few years later, both Rick and Carol very involved in leadership at the church and community, Carol was diagnosed with lung cancer, liver cancer, bone cancer. The full lexicon, her days becoming shorter.

At Thanksgiving their three daughters came home and said to their mother, knowing the cancer was rampaging, “Mother…we want to take you shopping, to get you some new clothes for Christmas.”

Carol muted to that, had something else in mind. She hadn’t shared that she read a very poor family living up the canyon in Green Mountain Falls lost everything in a fire in their trailer home. Carol tracked down the mother, got the sizes of that family’s 3 grade-school-age girls. She then on the day for shopping, showed her daughters the “special shopping list.” They gulped, yet they KNEW this was their mother, not letting death stare them down.

That afternoon the five Tilden’s visited the Green Mountain Falls family to share Christmas gifts. Not a word said about Carol’s failing health. For Carol the point was to help others. A few months later she died.

That is a WOW experience for me, about what it means to face super foes, and for many death is the worst foe, and not be killed by it. I thought of that when reading this link, about how a daughter’s death brought forth a love…not planned, but neither denied nor avoided.
And with that, as I write this Tuesday April 17, 2018, one day before my dear mother’s birthday [Mom? May your soul be at peace; your son’s doing what he can, no matter what.] I am packing to fly to Tucson. It will be a wonderful trip. To visit Jessica Cox, her husband, Patrick and her father. To listen to her father in what it means to raise a daughter with no arms. To preach in the church where two of the dearest friends in the world are members, Hugh and Jane Smith. Even have a new story Jane and Hugh haven’t heard before.

In that visit I am sure I will learn how the human capacity to love is not dwindled by the specter of pain or hardship or bumps. My prayer for me, for Diane and Jason, for my two sons and their families, is they, too, live in the day, giving carpe diem the best definition possible.

Here’s the link—a daughter was killed by a stray bullet—and how her family and one other are impacted.

God bless us and care for us…always!



About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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