September 7, Day 67 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
A Special Date
September 7 is a very significant date in my life. My mother was born on that day, in 1922. She had a profound impact on my life. I can’t think of anyone whose son I would rather be. She passed away in 2012 after 89 full years of life. She was gifted, yet humble, and did her best to know God and reflect His love to others. I think that’s a good model to follow.
When I think of my mother’s passing, I’m reminded of a chat I took on TheHopeLine with a 24-year-old man who I’ll refer to as John. John had lost his mother at the age of only 22, not 54, my age when I lost my mother. I couldn’t have imagined facing life without my mother at his age. He opened the chat as follows:
“Well my mom passed away almost 2 years ago and when it happened I tried to be like the tough guy and be strong for my brother and sister. Now almost 2 years later it has just been rough for me lately to I guess deal with the loss.”
Shortly thereafter, he wrote, “I think about my mom most nights and just cry and it hurts to think about it now.” I soon found out that his father had been in and out of jail and had never been a part of his life.
The leadership of TheHopeLine has always contended that coaches and youth who contact TheHopeLine are often divine pairings, meaning that God matches up the client with the coach who will be best able to help him or her, if not simply connect with them on a heart level. Such was the case, I believe, with this particular interaction.
We chatted about grieving the loss of a loved one, how it takes time and comes in stages. He was struggling with anger. How could God allow this to happen? It just didn’t seem fair to him. I gently reminded John that we are all destined to die. Merely the timing is unknown. Yet, he could be thankful for the years that he had his mother.
Since it seemed as though John had been stuffing his feelings and not grieving the loss of his mother in a manner that would be most beneficial to him, I recommended that he seek out a grief counseling group. He liked that idea and agreed to find one. I thought our interaction was just about over as I went to assign a resource to him for further help.
We don’t often share personal stories on TheHopeLine because the interaction is about the client not the coach. However, I felt compelled to tell John that I, too, had lost my mother recently. That prompted an interesting question: “Does it get easier to cope with?”
“Regarding my mother,” I said, “she was a wonderful lady who honored God with her life. I felt so blessed and overwhelmed to have had her for as long as I did. But there are still times when I wish I could talk to her. Nevertheless, the gratitude and blessing, and the prayers of people who love me, as well as God’s loving care are bringing me to a bright future. I’m encouraged and looking to move forward with my life.”
“What’s pushing you to move forward?” John asked.
I proceeded to tell John about the hope I find in knowing Jesus Christ. John found that same hope and peace with God before this chat ended. He described what he had experienced this way: “I actually feel like a sense of relief in a way. Talking about all of this and letting it all out has almost like lifted a burden if you would call it that…Believing that Jesus is there for you and forgives you of your sins is actually a great feeling in itself.”
It was clear that John had a great chance to break the cycle set by his absentee father. His mother would have been very proud of him.
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Yes, we cycled on September 7. To be specific, we cycled on Highways BB, MM, D, C, M, O, T, and J. Somewhere in between, we hit Routes 10, 210, and 13. Missouri has a unique lettering system for their side roads. I’ve not really figured it out because there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet. I’m certain they’ll run out, so I suspect they may recycle here.
If yesterday’s roads were your run-of-the-mill roller coaster, today we jumped on the Cyclone. What a joy to encounter hill after hill, at least the ones we were able to eclipse from the momentum of the previous downhill. Highway O offered the best dips. We had a blast on a most beautiful day. Cycling into Higginsville in anticipation of a rest day made for easy work even with sore and tired legs.