Three times now, I’ve experienced the kind of grief that feels like the kind of a kick in the stomach that it can knock you over. Three times.
- For Jim, one of my best friends from college, who died in 1989.
- For my father, Jerry Buegler, who died in 1999.
- And yesterday, for my father-in-law, Lyle Tjosaas, who died surrounded by family, and was loved. Deeply loved.
Lyle Tjosaas was someone who I had an enormous respect for. He oozed integrity. And he was outward focused. He was a servant. From his church council, to the Dodge County Commissioners, to the local, state and national dairy promotion boards, he looked way, way beyond himself. He said over and over again, our (society’s) job is to look after those who can’t look after themselves: the children, the elderly and the vulnerable. And he lived that. He really did.
He was funny. He was kind. And his Christian faith was of utmost importance to him. It was integrated.
Lyle’s funeral will be Saturday. I have been asked to co-officiate. I am deeply honored.
These 3 times I’ve experienced this kind of grief. And each time I am reminded that I “get” why the early Jewish people would rend their clothes in grief. It is that deep and primal.
But I’m also reminded that death does not have the last word. The promises of God defeat death, and Lyle, my father, Jim and all of us receive the gift of the resurrection.
To put it simply: Jesus wins. And because Jesus wins, we win.
In these upcoming days, I will try and remember that. It will be hard because there will be so many reminders that will bring back pain. But ultimately, pain will fade, memories and laughter will become the norm, and I will be reminded that we are resurrection people.
Today, there are no more words. But tomorrow…