Wednesday, April 27, 2005


My thoughts today have turned to others that I have known who have since passed. I am trying to figure out my thoughts and that is part of the reason for blogging. I truly wish I could have been blogging after I heard about Julie. But work and other events didnt allow me to. They did distract me though, which was a good thing (I think)

Life is precious. And it is also frail. Truly there are so many forces that are bigger than we humans. Indeed, many times it is that which is smaller than us which does us in. If not for the hand of G-d, none of us could be here.

Sean died in an accident on his motorcycle. He was only 26 years old. He was a friend of my brother-in-law(to be) but we got along quite well. Sean was crazy, to put it midly. All the stupid things that non-crazy people would have stayed miles away from, Sean did. He was the first person to have ever put me on the wrong end of a gun. You see, that was his idea of a joke. Knocked on the door and had the gun right in my face as I opened it. It was only a 9mm but from my end it looked bigger than a 12 gauge. What do I do? hah, nothing. My brain froze up and I just stared and continued to open up the door. Took me an eternity to see past the barrel to see who held it. I suppose I should mention that that same gun, a couple months later, went off and shot him in the leg as he was putting in his waistband (no holster.)

If I left it at that you might wonder why we got along. Well, like I said, Sean was a little crazy and that made for a lot of fun.

The other person that comes to mind is Erica. An intern at my church she was just 19 when she went to be with the Lord. A yound lady of sweet spirit whom I had met just briefly, but she was one you immediately wanted to get to know better. Someone who lifted up everyone she was around, lit up the room if you will.

Well I didnt get that chance. The night before Erica's death a young lady named Jamie was praying over her and had a vision of Erica screaming and then instantaneously being in the arms of Jesus. The next morning a high speed head-on accident took her from us. But hers wasnt a life that lent itself to mourning her death. Rather, her life and the way she lived was celebrated at her funeral. Her life was a gift to those around her. A blessing. She was a shining example of Christ and His love.

Erica's last diary entry, the night before she went, said that she was finally ready to meet G-d. That she was ready to give her life in service to G-d. That she was no longer afraid and she no longer loved her life.

Makes me think on where my life is. Would others mourn my passing or celebrate my life? Would I leave a lasting impression on those who only briefly knew me? Or will I just be forgotten. Seems to me I have a lot of work ahead of me to become like Erica (1 Corithians 11:1 "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.")

R.I.P. Julie Rifkin

Amongst all the hustle and bustle of getting the store ready for a walk-through and having to do inventory today something was brought to my attention that caused me to stop short. I dont know if any of you have heard of the lady in Colorado Springs who killed her two sons and then commited suicide, but obviously it has been all over the news here. Well, I was really trying to avoid it as that sort of story bothers me, so whats the point right? Well, I picked up a paper so I had something to read at lunch and opened up to this story and saw the picture. A family portrait of a woman I know. A woman who is no more.

Julie was a woman who spent much of her time volunteering at church. At times she seemed a fixture of the church and that isnt an easy thing to accomplish in a mega-church. Because she was always around I personally worked along-side her in times past. We would trade off working the bookstore on sundays so we didnt always get stuck working.

Looking back, I guess I can see more clearly the depression she fought with off and on thru the years. It is hard to understand the depths of despair, how wounded the spirit can truly be. Hard to comprehend that others are bleeding from their souls. Fortunately most will never be able to understand it because they will never experience it but I have been there, and I know only too well. The emotional pain becomes physical pain making it even hard to breathe.

When you begin to understand the despair of one in depression, you can see how they might be led to take their children along with them. Once the decision to take her life had been made, the thought of her children with no mother would have hurt her even more. The solution she chose was to not let them go through that pain.

I make no excuse for Julie's actions. Just expressing my sorrow. I pray that Julie had not slipped from the Hands of Grace and I pray that her children, Gabriel and Nathan, are found to have their names in the Lamb's Book of Life. Also for her husband and family, and all those who knew her. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose." May it be as you have said Lord.

Perhaps, like me, she spent that time serving in an attempt to feel worthy. Worthy of love, acceptance and G-d's salvation and forgiveness.