A Return to the Valley of Suck and Four Lessons of Faith

 Today I participated in my first interview as an author.  It was a return to my book, "Life Sucks Seek God."  I had no idea what it might mean or how I would feel.  It is hard to believe the book was published four years ago now!  Today, I am looking at life with a new vision of ministry and with a renewed hope for living thanks, in no small part to the new family I am part of with my new wife, Lauren, and how our children are moving forward with their lives.

As Valeria, host of the Fit for Joy podcast, asked questions, I found myself remembering and reliving moments from the days when my late wife, Heather, was living and fighting cancer.  I got to talk about where the Valley of Suck originated and how important my Facebook support group was during those times.  As I reflect on the interview, four lessons of faith came out of the discussion:

1.  You are not alone.  We make the choice to be alone but not only can we find support in person, it can come through online groups.  As I talked about it though, we cannot lose sight, that in the valley of the shadow of death and the valley of suck that caregivers walk, God is there, our shepherd (Psalm 23).

2. The Sacred Space.  Valeria's questions brought me to talk about "thin spaces" and the "time between time," that happens when people are dying.  Being with Heather was sacred as she crossed from this physical world and into the spiritual world.  Teilhard de Chardin said, "We are not physical beings on a spiritual journey but spiritual beings on a physical journey."  So true.

3. Faith can be fun.  That one sounds kind of odd, I know!  How did this come out of the interview?  As I live and wrestle still with the Valley of Suck, it taught me the value of faith and how it gives rise to hope and joy.  Rabbi David Horowitz helped me understand the theology of wine to the Jewish people and how we Protestants have lost it - for it is a sign of God's blessings and God's love for us!  There should be times of joy on the journey!  Party!  Celebrate ALL THE GOOD!

4.  The Journey Continues.  I have been going through a class and course that has had me asking and discerning my call, my passion and my gifts.  As I have gotten feedback, I had no idea how important this part of my faith journey has been and what you, my friends and readers, have been looking to me for in your journey.  I have to ask for forgiveness for not continuing to address this.  So my journey continues and I plan to be more attentive and real and be here for you!

The Valley of Suck is still real to me. In moments when I don't expect it, it grabs my ankles and pulls me down.  Even after all this time. You don't ever get over the grief.  You walk through it and you do it every...single...day.  The Valley doesn't have to win though.  I wrote the book from the Valley of Suck and it proves again and again to be a tested way through. 

Keep going.

Do No Harm. Do Good.  Stay in Love with God.  Even when life sucks! ;)
Jedi Pastor Ken



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