Forced Witness (Part Five)

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Paisley Yankolovich
From the 2017 CD, Forced Witness


So do I blame God? Should I blame God? My son’s death taught me that if God allows the young to die then our human lives really don’t matter much. His life was not complete. His work was not over. On the contrary, it was only beginning. I cry every day, not merely because I miss my boy but because I know what he has missed out on. I’ve lived the next thirty years of his life and it kills me to know that he won’t know marriage, children, career, ministry, just the experiencing of living.


I prayed for a son, I prayed for my son, I prayed with my son and now he’s gone. Should I pin that on the Almighty or should I accept the fact that God’s hands are tied as we live, suffer, die and oft times perish for all eternity. Doesn’t God suffer as well? He watches us die. His children. We hurt, we wither, we die and He is our forced witness. Pain might be His closest friend as well.


So if God suffers along with us in our suffering, do we not then share his suffering with and for others? Is Christ’s example on the cross not the ultimate example of this unity in suffering? Salvation was and still is accomplished in suffering. Jesus challenges us to examine our hearts to determine if we are worthy to share in His suffering. So if we suffer, does that not automatically not only bring us closer to God? But even more so, our better, Higher, Spiritual Self?


Am I experiencing life’s greatest blessing disguised as a curse? Should I embrace my agony as a gift from On High instead of hiding the shame I feel as a son-less parent in the dark gloom that is now my home. Is there hope here that I am missing? Would I even accept it if it were so? Or would that be too painful of an admission: That my son’s earthly life didn’t matter past the twenty year mark but was to serve as God’s tool to bless me and make me the powerful super hero of faith He always intended me to be.


I love my son and I know that December 17, 2013 was the day the devil won. I know God did not take my son away from this life for His own pleasure and design. And I’m not sorry that I’m not quick to trivialize, spiritualize and make a big happy out of the demonic violence that has occurred. I know there is hope all over this thing. I know that redemption is for the taking. I know that God will be glorified and that testimonies galore will abound but even the disciples were sad to see Jesus go. Life without Him meant confusion, despair, fear and ultimately death.


Can’t I have it both ways? Can’t I be grateful that my son is in heaven and that God will always be there for me and mine but still mourn, still be angry, still be destroyed? In some alternate universe, my Jesus, my only source of hope, my refuge, has my son. I know he’s alive there, in peace, in love, but I cannot touch him, see him, hold him, and experience his beautiful life. Jesus is his captor now. I know he’s in good hands. But my hands are empty. And my heart is broken. There’s not a new angel in heaven. It’s my child. My son. His eyes are not on me, they are fixed on Jesus. I look on Jesus through tears. Endless tears that never satisfy but only encourage more tears. More tears, more rage, more hopelessness. If children are a blessing from God, then I have been cursed. I’m forever marked as one of “them.” I look in the mirror and see that I have changed. The light in my eyes has gone out for I’ve lost my hope. I’m reminded of CS Lewis lamenting his loss when I say, “His absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” I’m enveloped in loss. It has become my constant companion. Impossible to ignore. And it’s never going away.




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