It's December 25, 2014. I awoke today about 5:30 AM without the ability to fall back to sleep. This is not new and normally my restlessness on this day would be because the ensuing joy that would soon follow as our children discover what they seemingly waited for all year, gifts under the Christmas tree. Today is much different than years past. I haven't posted a blog recently because of my suffering. I wish there was some easy way for me to express where I am emotionally however human language does so little to convey sorrow. I wanted this blog to be a place for me to journal but I find myself not doing so as not to be some depressing blog where after people read it, they want to run in front of a truck. I still struggle with so many things its hard after not writing for some time not to be so scattered.

It's so easy when asked, "How are you doing?" to say, "I'm OK." This type of response though cordial, avoids a deeper human interaction that puts me in a place of vulnerability. It's not uncommon for most people to say they are OK when they aren't. Many reasons surround such a response that I will not dwell on as I speculate why other people do the same thing I do. I can only speak for myself. I've had many trials in my life and experienced sorrow and anguish at the hand of imperfect people who wounded my soul by turning what I've shared as a weapon against me. To be close to people certainly is an art in some respect. Allow a little of me and see where they go with it. I've learned through suffering to erect walls and and keep to myself. Discuss the surface within reason and only engage when its necessary. This was all before Caleb came to be.

Losing my son however has taken me to a different state of being. A different level and type of suffering that has no comparison. My deepest challenge is to make sense of it all. As much as I want things to be my old normal, there is little refuge from this new place I find myself in. Now that I'm a pickle, I can never be a cucumber again and this is where I find my challenge. I have these new clothes on and don't know where they came from. I touch them with my hand and look down and don't recognize who I am with them on. It's a stage of grief. It's been hard lately to see Caleb's likeness. At first I sought after every photo but now I hide them from my sight. I only glance at them to see what my reaction might be at the time. There are so many reminders that my erected walls are having trouble keeping me safe. Fresh mortar is being mixed while the old is not yet cured. I build higher and faster but gaps in the wall are leading to structural problems and it's hard to keep up at times.

Human interaction is my weakest point. I tend to hold one inviting hand out while holding the other up saying, "Stop, don't dare come closer." I send mixed messages. The truth is, I do not know how to act or what to say a lot of times. People want to know how I am doing but how can I even begin to describe what I can barely comprehend myself? I've spent a lot of time reflecting on so many things and life goes on whether I can keep up or not. So I'm learning all over again as if I'm an infant. I'm starting all over after discarding everything I thought I knew. learning how to maneuver and navigate new waters with a rougher sea and stronger headwinds in a rickety old boat. Dry land is on the horizon and it's just a matter of time until I get there. This is not to say that all my moments are like this. I'm functioning at a high level with work and my responsibilities however it's what occurs between my ears in the meantime that consume me at times.

Some days I just don't want to be around people. Introverted to a whole new level. At times I'm this way with God too. My faith is strong however it seems all of my relationships are suffering. Early on, I found some writings by John Piper on the Glory of God. I actually wrote about them in a previous blog "The Switch, all for His Glory." This would compel me to send a note to John piper via his website to thank him. One of his office workers recommend a book of John's and actually mailed it to me free of charge. The book is titled "Suffering and the sovereignty of God" I am still trying to grasp what I read. This because though I heard of Calvinism, I never really studied it. There was some really good deep theological stuff in that book but at the same time it leaves more questions than answers and I'm working on those now because it challenges a lot of what I thought I knew.

I know I need more devotional time but I sometimes find myself both engaging God while at the same time pulling away... In the same way I treat my carnal relationships. I am all over the map. Sometimes I'm just looking for an escape. If I stay in my hole, no one will find me right? I've had bouts of depression and anger and on a whole I am doing better and this blog post covers several weeks of emotion. So don't leave here thinking I'm in the bottom of the sea. I very much have new joy at times and have happy moments. Those are coming back but it's the daily weight of my internal dialog that leaves me detached at times. So yes, Both Tiffany and I both very much have our ups and downs. We are in the very early stages of our grief. We try our best to put one foot in front of the other and push on. We are both still very much being refined by God.

Waking up today on Christmas has been exceptionally hard without Caleb. I stood from the top of the stairs looking down on our living room where my children and wife were ready to open presents. I wanted to take pictures and video like normal but there was one gift that was not there. Caleb. In my heart as I walked down the steps, I wanted to turn back to "Caleb's closet" to bring out his large portrait picture to set near us as if to make him present with us though not possible. It was a fleeting thought but my heart yearned for him to be with us. I feel bad that Caleb has been relegated to a closet but it's hard to see his likeness right now. More reminders of his absence that only amplifies the pain.

For now there're new shiny distractions on this date to tend to so as much as I want to seclude myself in writing, my family awaits. The kids seems to be doing rather well with everything. We all miss Caleb in our own way and every day brings new challenges of their own. My wife just completed memorizing the first chapter of James so I also have some catching up to do in that regard as well. I have some time off from work until January 5, 2015 so its a nice break from my day job though I will be working on my home instead as I'm finishing my basement for more living space. I could use some sunny weather too. The sun has been hiding a lot and that's had a negative affect on me. Is it too much to ask for an early spring? :)

So this is my update for now. I can't say when the next one will be but hope it helps you to understand me a little better and where I'm at. There's nothing easy about suffering and grief and it's even harder to put into words. Let's see where this goes. I will keep looking up and please continue to pray for my family. Thanks!