Sometimes, it is very, very difficult to be away from that place that I will always call "home."
Sometimes, "only" a phone call away sounds like a terrible nightmare.
I got a dreaded phone call today that my grandmother is in ICU after a surgery on a blood clot. While I was VERY upset that this call came more than 15 hours after she entered the hospital, I am relieved to know that things are looking really good and she may even be sent home as early as tomorrow.
In the same conversation, I was filled in on the incredibly tragic stories of other things going on at home. Another suicide of a young man - only 24 years old, and graduated a year behind me in high school. Heartbreaking news. It gets worse: there was an accident in the middle of his procession from the funeral to the burial today.
To add to my frustration, I have spent the day reading and writing a paper on John Calvin's theology of predestination and how that applies to Christian life. The only thing good about writing this paper is that I am learning what I do not believe, hence I am more able to articulate what I do. Calvin's theology is, in many ways, so contrary to my own that I am incredibly frustrated to "listen" to someone talk about life, death, struggles, sin, faith, etc in such distant ways... as statistics or facts rather than as individuals, lives, beautiful and worthy creations of God that we are. It is difficult to read that God uses all things for good and that everything that happens has been pre-ordained by God. Really? My grandmother may be okay, and for that I am thankful. But what does this say about my friend's 16-year-old brother who died in a car accident just over 2 weeks ago? Or was the young man from my home town destined to be so miserable that he would want to take his own life?
I don't think so. We have more than that. We have hope. I think it appropriate to come back to what has been one of my favorite quotes since I first read his biography during college... from none other than Harvey Milk... now a familiar name to many as his story appropriately made it to the big screen. Mr. Milk leaves us with these words:
“You cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living."