Monday, May 17, 2010

Paul Isaacs

Last night, my friend and coworker Paul Isaacs died from cancer, passing peacefully, surrounded by his wife and daughters.

Though I never had Paul as a classroom teacher, he became a mentor in my life in ways words can’t describe. The way he lived his life was a model I respected and admired. His wry sense of punny humor cracked me up almost every time. And his down-to-earth, welcoming voice calmed and gave a sense of peace.

As I’m discovering, befriending members of an older generation comes with a price. Though God alone may count our days, there exists an inherent likelihood that my older friends will die before me, perhaps long before me. I continue to struggle to wrap my mind around that reality. Simply put, I don’t want to.

Life rarely waits for anyone to “be ready”, though. And so, on the same day that I attended a wedding, heard God’s love spoken into my life, worshipped, prayed, cried, and even ran mundane errands, Paul had his last hours.

I found out this morning, the first email came from a mutual friend and coworker a little before 9:00. Official word from Paul’s principal came almost an hour later, after much of Facebook already knew. Finally, later in the day, we were given the go-ahead to post something on the school’s home page.

Days like today ignite in me a passion to work in the news industry. We live in a flat world, the word has to get out, people have to be told. To wait an hour, or worse, half a day, is unconscionable. News ought be instantaneous to the greatest degree possible.

Today God and I aren’t on good terms. If I’m honest, I’m pretty much pissed. Paul was younger than my parents, he has kids about my age, and he was a good man. If ever one needed proof that “only the good die young”, Paul epitomizes that. How God could allow this, why God offers healing to some but not others, these are the questions I’m battling. And I’m angry, and I’m sad, and I’m frustrated, and I’m torn.

And it’s okay, because God is big enough to handle my anger, my frustration, my questions. And it’s okay, because some day I will find peace. Maybe not answers, but peace. Paul did. His family did. I can too. Eventually.

Just not today.


Gallimaufry Girl said...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Keep a tender heart and keep seeking.

Amanda Jane said...

Jeremy...your heart ache and anger are valid. You have every right to feel and express their depth.
Know that I am praying. And even when you can't see his goodness on your side of things, know that God is good.

oldgemdude said...

I appreciate your comments, Jeremy. They are honest and heartfelt as you along with many of us morn the loss of a dear friend. At the same time we morn not as the World does because we can celebrate Paul's new joy of listening to maybe even conducting music,in a realm transcending anything we can even imagine.

Dave Lindmark

Anonymous said...

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Steven Curtis Chapman