The next guest in my Sacred – the Light and the Dark is my dear friend Juan. Juan shares a heartbreaking story of how he found sacred through loss.
Juan and I met on twitter and bonded over a deep affection for all things In and Out!!
– Juan Lopez is a Youth Pastor at “Casa de Dios” Assemblies of God Church in Bell Gardens, CA. and also manages a paper store in Hollywood. He met his wife, Anabel, in 10th grade Algebra. They’ve been married for 3 years. He spends his spare time chasing his 2 year old son Joshua around their apartment. He longs for the day when the unscripted freedom of Pentecostal theology would hold hands with the beauty of Sacramental Liturgy-
Please welcome Juan as he shares:
We visited our son on Easter Sunday. It took us some time to find his grave. The patchy grass looked different from the last time we were here. We knew the number of his grave but we doubted ourselves because it looked different. Ugly thoughts crept in my head:
You’re a bad parent! How could you forget? Why haven’t you bought his grave marker?
I kept looking. My wife searched the cemetery website on my iPhone. We double checked the number assigned to his grave. We were right. We had passed it because someone had placed Easter decorations on his grave. We grieved for the visitors who might have decorated a grave believing it was their baby. There was a plush toy with a name written in sharpie on it. It wasn’t our son’s. I looked around and saw the same name on a nearby grave.
We had talked to a young couple the last time we were here. Did they decorate it for us?
I placed the plush toys on what seemed like the correct grave. Feeling happy that someone was nice enough to decorate our child’s grave. Feeling sad that someone might have decorated the wrong grave. There was no way to know. All you can do is hope that you’re right. It felt like life.
No answers. Only hope.
Every moment is a sacred moment. My wife carried our son in her womb for eight months. We felt him move. He kicked so much at night. He moved at the sound of my voice. Our first born would kiss mommy’s tummy at bedtime. All sacred moments.
We knew his condition early on. We were told his skull never formed. This was not something that could get better. We were asked if we wanted to terminate the pregnancy. We respectfully declined. We believed in a God of Miracles. So we did the only thing we knew to do. Pray. We prayed together. We prayed with our Church. We prayed with strangers. We cried. We believed. We hoped. God surrounded us with a community of loving people. All sacred moments.
When Caleb Anthony Lopez was finally born, we covered his head and held him close. Each time he cried meant the world to me.
Go ahead, scream my son. Leave your mark on this world. Let it hear you. You are here. You are alive. You have name. You are loved. You are known. You are.
All sacred moments.
Why do we visit the graves of those who sleep? Not because it’s all we have left of them. It’s because it will one day be the place of a miracle. Our hope is in resurrection.
All of life is sacred. Every laugh. Every tear. Every. Single. Moment.
To call any moment secular almost feels blasphemous in the light of the resurrection. God in the flesh being raised from the dead. It means that this body matters. This world matters. What happens everywhere has to matter. Jesus is the first born amongst many and our hope is in resurrection.