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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

the last few weeks have been…hard. Death- when it stares you down in the face of loved ones, grasping desperately to hold to life…it’s just hard. In the news this week, Destiny who has chosen “death with dignity” is just another example. In no way am I condemning or condoning her choice. It’s just another example of the hard reality of our frailty.

This summer, our oldest teenage daughter asked Alan to read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. She has read (and seen the movie) many times. We recently watched it together. She was sniffling at the end and said, “every time I read or watch, I’m hoping that the ending will be different.”

After reading the book, as she requested, Alan wrote this message to her on Facebook. Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.30.08 PM

Dear Daughter,
I finished the Fault in Our Stars last night. I had planned to make it a leisurely read over the course of this week, but I became invested in the characters and their fates. It was well written with many brilliant moments of dialogue and profound thoughts. I laughed and maybe even cried . . . a little. I feel like I personally know Hazel and Augustus and would like to have conversations with them (I imagine they would sound just like John Green in his mental floss videos). When I turned to the last page, however, I was left with a deep abiding sense of dissatisfaction. Much like the characters felt with the end of An Imperial Affliction. As I pondered the book and the strange cavernous feeling of hollowness I felt at the end, I realized it was not the events of the storyline that left me dissatisfied. As heart wrenching as it was, the events that befell our star crossed lovers made perfect sense. What left me dissatisfied was something much larger. It was the worldview of our characters in which the meaning and purpose of everything ultimately pointed to nothing more than the “universe wanting to be noticed.” It was a coldly naturalistic worldview devoid of a rich and robust theism (God) and spirituality. This is not to say that I expected a Christian worldview. In fact, I would not change the book. I just found it a bit hopeless even when it was attempting a hopeful perspective.
I have been at the bedside of people dying from cancer. I have sat long hours with the dying and their family members who were coping with the inevitable. I have been in the room as people breathed their last. I have performed funerals for those who died too quickly from diagnosis to death. I have witnessed something that is lacking in this book. I have witnessed the profound and powerful moments when the very real presence of God overwhelmed all in the room. I have seen those last few golden moments when just before death a dying believer sings a fear defying song of praise as they see their destination looming before them. There is a capital-S something beyond the veil of what our physical eyes can penetrate. There is a reality that gives meaning, fulfillment, hope, peace, and victory beyond that of a cold impersonal “universe.” That reality is God.
I loved the book and thank you for asking me to read it. I am just processing. I had to remind myself they are just characters in a book. I love you. Okay? Okay.


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