Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Once there was television… And then there was Jack Bauer. Simply described, badass – the biggest, baddest and best television has ever seen.

Stubbornly pursed lips bent on serving out justice, grim eyes that defiantly stare death in its face, brazen boldness both in stride and word coupled with unequalled brilliance of scheme, weapons in skilled hands that miss no mark no fraction of a second too late – the irrepressible federal agent controlled only by self-will and determination, know for his unmatched courage, resilience and resolve despite losing everything to gain nothing for self – so surreal, yet very real even if only on reel is Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland).

For me, and I believe many more across the world, Bauer and “24” have redefined television forever. Never has a character or TV series been so compelling or convincing, thanks to the ingenious concept, script, direction, performances and cut that went into its making. We, the captive audience, couldn’t help but join Bauer in the longest days of his life by spending the longest days of our lives watching every episode of every series back-to-back if we could help it. What was it that mesmerized us so and still holds us in its grip? The heart-thumping action, no doubt… and like it or not, the dissatisfaction – of never getting enough of Jack Bauer. I, for one, can honestly say that 24 was my “twelve” and I struggle with withdrawal symptoms, now that the series has concluded. Seth Godin was right when he said that great brands (and I say, great TV series/characters) are built on dissatisfaction. You have a prime example of that in 24!

What drew me most to Bauer and what I will no doubt remember him most for, though, is his motto to “do whatever it takes to save them and I mean, whatever it takes.” (Dialogue between Jack Bauer and Renee Walker in my favourite season, Season 7) Sure, there has been a lot of controversy about the torture and violence implied and portrayed throughout the series as a means to the end. However, my fascination is with regards to Bauer’s commitment to protect his country and people no matter what the cost. As a federal agent forced to turn fugitive whose wife was killed, daughter estranged, and his own health seriously jeopardized on more than one occasion, he owed his country nothing, least of all after they abandoned him as prisoner to the Chinese and then decided to sacrifice him in order to meet terrorist demands – all of that despite the great service he had rendered his country. Wouldn’t some recognition be in order? A medal of honour, perhaps? Or a bravery award? At least, a chance at a decent life? But, no!

I find it hard to fathom such unquestioned allegiance and dedication to a cause, harder still to implement it in my own life. Season 7 forced me to think hard and question my own commitment to mission accomplishment. Was I willing to do whatever it took? Or would I turn chicken when the going got tough? Worse still, would I turn into a Tony Almeida, agent turned traitor, disillusioned, distraught? Would my losses, failures, fears and regrets rule me or I would I overrule them?

I learned that the name Jack Bauer is believed to allude to the highest card in the game of Euchre, the “bower” being the jack of the trump suit and the most powerful card in any particular round (via Wikipedia). I sincerely pray that in my mission and commission I will come out the “Jack Bauer” in every trial, know that I have been given a spirit of power, believe that I am more than a conqueror with greater strength in me than is in the world. So help me, God!


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MercyMe – I Can Only Imagine

I spent a good morning just sitting in the Presence of the Lord, listening to good worship songs, singing aloud now and then, breaking down in tears more often than not, and just letting Him speak to my heart and minister to me. I cherish these times that I spend with Him alone in the quiet of my little attic and even long for solitude so I can forget all else and focus only on Him without any distractions and detractions. There’s nothing quite like resting secure and at peace in His embrace, letting Him breathe life and love into my spirit, strength and healing into my body. It always leaves me feeling fresh and free, kind of like having taken a long cool shower in the peak of summer, only much better.

The last couple of days He’s been speaking to me about “being still”. Stuff out of my old blog posts reminded me that I ought not to be anxious and worried, trying to make things happen the way I saw best, but rather to be still, stop trying to figure things out, and just let God be God. He often silences my folly saying, “My thoughts and ways are higher than yours.” So this morning as I listened to Don Moen’s “Still” (one of my all-time favourites), my prayer was, “Lord, let me soar with you on wings like eagles, far above all of my circumstances, my worries, my fears… Give me an aerial view… let me see things through Your eyes… and Father, not my will, but Your’s be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Heaven. Ah! Thoughts and songs about Heaven always make me teary-eyed these days. (Here we go again!) I just can’t help imagining that along with all the angels, Daddy must be singing, dancing, playing his harmonica or violin or saw (or whatever heavenly instrument fancies him), worshipping God before His throne. I am reminded over and over of the few lines I wrote to encourage him on his deathbed… He wanted us to sing him “In His presence is fullness of joy”, and not knowing any such song, I made up some lines and sent them to Him. I don’t remember exactly what they were, but I know they spoke of being in His presence, bowing at His feet, worshipping Him, joining the angels in a song, and finding rest and healing… little did I know then that that’s exactly what Daddy would be doing in a couple more days.

As much as I am thankful that Daddy does not have to suffer from his debilitating disease any more, I do miss his quiet presence back home. Home has just not been the same without him. Every time I travel on work and return, a feeling of dread comes over me at having to return to a home without Daddy. Although he spoke little, there was always his touch to everything at home – be it in the garden, or the kitchen or the living room. His knowledge and love of living things was a reflection of how God cares for his creation. I see the rotting bee-hive and wonder who will have the guts to brave the bees and extract honey now. I listen to the wood pigeon and wonder who will teach me to identify the bird not just by its song but by its plumage as well. I taste the passion fruit and wish so much he were here to taste it too. I’ve always boasted about a Dad who is good at jams, jellies, juices and wines… His jars of fermenting fruit still lie around like mementoes of his existence… as do his insulin syringes and numerous medications, for that matter.

One of my deepest sorrows is the fact that Daddy didn’t live to walk me down the aisle, or see me happily married, or be a loving grandpa to my children. Those were some of the desires I had and sincerest prayers I prayed, knowing full well that his health was fast deteriorating. I wanted Daddy to teach my children the songs, stories and tricks he taught me… a wish that must now be forgotten, or hopefully someone else like my brother can fulfil in his place.

It’s somehow hard to believe Daddy is no longer here with us, although it has been well over 7 months now. I still prefer to imagine he has just gone on a trip somewhere and we’ll see him again soon (which is true in a sense). I found a postcard he had written me while on his ministry trip to Amsterdam. He had gone to attend a Billy Graham conference along with other Christian leaders from around the world way back in 1986. I was only 4 then. The postcard had a picture of the plane he was flying on, and he wrote about how beautiful the sky and the clouds looked from up there, that he hoped I was being a good girl, that he missed me and loved me. I can only imagine him communicating similar thoughts to me right now… how beautiful heaven must be, how much he misses me and loves me…

I miss you and love you too, D’dy! I wish I could see you again soon… I wish I had had more time with you before you left… I wish I could have been by your side your last few hours instead of continents away… I wish God had worked a miracle and made you well, like we all prayed and believed… I wish He had even raised you from the dead… I wish soooooo… many things! There’s so much I wish I could tell you but I figure you probably know, being in heaven and all… like the last time I saw you alive… the last hug I gave you, as my tears expressed unspoken words of sadness at having to leave you, and regret at having disappointed you deeply… the last time we took a walk together on the street, as you struggled every few steps… the last wave goodbye as the train pulled out, and that gut feeling that told me it was the last time I would ever see you again. All I wanted to do right then was jump out the train and run back to you… but instead I just cried from sheer grief all night. I think I cried then what I could not cry once you had actually gone. I recall the last few nights I spent at home with you, and how you struggled through those restless nights, complaining of chest pain and discomfort in addition to your other ailments… if you heard me cry quiet tears you probably imagined I was crying over love lost, but I cried those tears simply knowing you were slipping away from us. Joel’s birthday dinner was the first time it hit me, that I might not have you around for very much longer… I recorded you playing the harmonica on my little digital camera, and remember feeling annoyed that no one paid attention to your playing and didn’t even realize the gravity of those moments. Something told me right then that those moments were precious and I would never hear you play again. I wonder why I couldn’t have taken more pictures of you with us before I left… I wish now that I had…

The wishes and why’s are many… I know I will never know the answer to some of them while on this earth… I know it is only God’s grace and strength that has pulled all of us through the last several months. Even as I write this, I refuse to accept the sight of your frozen, lifeless body in the casket, or the image of you buried 6 feet under. To me, you continue to live on in my heart and memories… and I’m thankful above all else, that I know for sure you’re in the Lord’s presence where there is fullness of joy – that was your testimony. I continue to grieve even as I try to reconcile myself to the loss because as a mere human, and as “Daddy’s girl” I miss you. You taught me so much through your life and struggles, and were a living example of faith against all odds. You have left behind a legacy with standards that measure way above anything I can imagine myself living up to. But I hope I can someday soar above them… I hope you will look down on me from heaven, smiling and a proud father. I owe you so much. I know you’re in a safe place and in safe hands, and the same hands that carried you now carry me towards my destiny and calling. What exactly that will be, and what challenges I will have to face to get there I do not yet know… but I know I’m in a time of preparation and healing… a time of filling so when the time is right I can pour out what has been poured in… a time to learn, cry, forgive, let go… a time to draw closer to Him, and let Him draw closer to me… to let Him fill the empty hole that was once my Daddy by taking over as my Abba Father, Almighty Daddy. I am aware that many things I do not know or understand now I will in the future… until then, I am content to rest in my Heavenly Father’s arms and let Him lead me through life’s path.

I had put off writing anything about Daddy all this while, knowing it would be a painful exercise, one that would bring forth an endless issue of emotions and tears, one that would needless to say be a difficult one for me. I don’t quite know how I ended up writing about this, having begun with quite another thing… but I feel a sense of relief, having given vent to myself and my pent-up feelings. I feel somewhat encouraged, just knowing that though Daddy is not around anymore I have my Abba Daddy to take care of me, provide for me, teach me far greater things than my own Daddy might ever have taught me (not to discount all that Daddy did teach me or the wealth of knowledge I missed out on)… I know it will take many more such writing sessions, and times alone with God to stop grieving… and I don’t know if I will ever completely stop grieving, really… just because there’s nothing that can completely replace Daddy and what he meant to me… but in time, I guess I will heal and stop feeling the pain as much… something only time will tell… for now perhaps I must end my rambling and go back to resting in His presence. Am not sure what to call this piece, so I think I will just title it, “Of a Good God and Grief…” since that’s what it’s about.

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