for a couple of months after i returned from the philippines, i was submerged.
i couldn’t get motivated. i didn’t want to be around people. i definitely didn’t want to talk. i felt empty. i didn’t care. and the worst part about it was i couldn’t stop myself. i couldn’t make it go away. and i had no idea what was going on inside of me.
i prayed, but it felt like it was falling on deaf ears. i didn’t lack faith, but i couldn’t grab a hold of it. god seemed very, very far away. i simply felt alone. i was still doing my job…but going through the motions. i studied. i taught the truth of god’s word. i did the mechanics of youth ministry. but there was no heart.
for the previous six months, wanda and i had planned to get away to a youth conference in san francisco. the date was approaching quickly. great location. good input. time away to think and pray and seek the face of god and get some good food down on fisherman’s wharf. the timing was amazing. it was exactly what i thought i needed. we even had the possibility of getting tickets to the world series that was being played in the bay area that year.
this trip was about all i was looking forward to in my life. it was some light in the dark tunnel.
a few days before the trip, i got a call during wednesday night college bible study at my house. my mom called to tell me she wasn’t feeling too well. she just wanted me to know. she was that way. by the time the morning had rolled around, we had driven two hours to where my parents lived and i was telling the doctors to turn the machines off. she was gone. totally unexpected. no warning. no time to prepare.
a few days later, i was preaching at my mom’s funeral. it was something i could have never let anybody else do. she was my mom. i was her only son. her faith was amazing. i know she had prayed for me every day of my life. to handle this moment for her was the least i could do.
and i thought i already knew what auto-pilot was!
at the conclusion of the funeral, we left immediately for san francisco. we were a day late, but it didn’t matter. we were going to swing by our home in huntington beach, drop off our kids with the family that was going to watch them for a few days, pick up our bags that were already packed, and get on our way. in spite of everything, the light at the end of tunnel was still there.
as we were driving, it was about 5:00pm. i turned on the radio to listen to the world series pre-game show. at 5:04, the live broadcast was interrupted by the news of an earthquake that was rocking candlestick park. you gotta be kidding me! we were driving right into the loma prieta earthquake of 1989. the earthquake that was broadcast live during the world series between the giants and the A’s. yeah, that earthquake.
we got news almost immediately that roads into san francisco were shut down indefinitely. the hotel where the conference was being held had experienced some significant damage. the conference was called off. so we just drove home.
so much for my light at the end of the tunnel.