Audio Version


Wordio Version

Cheryl and I have survived what some say is the most stressful event in a person’s life – the loss of a spouse. Among the many, many things I learned through the process of death and loss, these five are prominent:

  • it’s never far from our door
  • we can survive and be healthy again
  • love is more powerful than death
  • even in the worst circumstances, God is awesome
  • it’s not nearly as intimidating as before

For some time now I have been following the prolonged health struggles of a friend who lives a distance away from us. His wife Rhonda has been faithful to post their journey on Facebook and family and friends have been grateful for that connection.

Unfortunately Lloyd passed away a few days ago. The praises and condolences are flooding in for a good, godly man who made a difference in the lives of many, many people. In keeping with her faith, his wife’s announcement of her great Sadness declared again that her hope was in a sovereign and loving God. It has been beautiful to witness. (Please pray for her and her family.)

Although he was a bit older than me, I realized that Lloyd could be described as one of my cohorts. You see, I have entered that time of life when increasing numbers of my contemporaries are greying, wrinkling, retiring, getting sick and coming upon end of life issues. People like me. People I know. People I love.

But wait, this post isn’t meant to be a downer but rather it’s meant to be the opposite – it’s a triumphant post. Kinda like a song I know.

Let me explain…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I love our treadmill. I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking, Brian NOBODY likes their treadmill / dust collector / junk holder.

Actually, I do like it.

Mind you, tread milling isn’t easy. As a matter of fact I haven’t been on it today but I have flimsy excuses good reasons for that.

First of all I kinda forgot about it, so…

And I’m pretty sure I need new shoes, because I heard good shoes are important to avoid shin splints, bad knees, athlete’s foot, gout, stuff like that.

And a headband. Can’t treadmill without a headband in case sweat were to run down into my eyes for the first time ever.

Not to mention boredom is a big problem. Watching TV is boring and listening to podcasts is boring on the treadmill. Eating hotdogs on the treadmill is not as boring but it’s hard to get mustard out of the belt.

Plus I’m lazy.

But here’s the thing – I have finally conquered my treadmill. I have outsmarted it, actually. That’s right, I am smarter than a treadmill … shout that to everyone you meet!

See, I’m a drummer, and all drummers have an irresistible need to tap their hands and feet almost continually. So I’ve made myself a playlist with lots of drum-friendly songs on it. (I’ve labeled it ‘Jog 1’ even though I do little more than a fast walk.)

I climb on the treadmill, strap on the earphones, crank up the volume, turn the speed to match the timing of the music and start air-banding as hard as I can.

There, alone, running in place, arms flailing and crashing, I become one with my invisible drum kit. The band is in my ears and the treadmill is my stage. Complex syncopations, lightning fast single stroke rolls and perfectly timed cymbals fill the song.

Meanwhile the only thing the world outside hears is the loud offbeat I’m pounding on my belly.

If only I could be that good in real life.

On my ‘Jog 1’ playlist is a generous amount of Third Day, a Christian southern-rock band and one piece is typically the next-to-last song in my set. It’s an air band classic, a triumphant song called, Leave This World Behind.

For the last time I’m gonna cry my tears and
For the last time I’m gonna feel my fears yeah
For the last time I’m gonna see my shame
And all of that will change all of that will change
When I leave this world behind
When I leave this world behind
For the first time I’m gonna live my life and
For the first time I’m gonna be alright yeah
For the first time I will feel no shame
Everything will change everything will change
When I leave this world behind
Don’t worry for me
When I leave this world behind
‘Cause I’ll be in glory
Don’t you shed a tear for me
I’ll be doing fine
There’s a reason that I’m here today
My heart is longing for a better place
All my tears and all my pain
Will be gone in Jesus’ name
I’ll be free and I will sing forever
All my tears and all my pain
Will be gone in Jesus’ name
I’ll be free and I will sing forever


It opens with a guitar, light percussion, then vocal. Later the bass slides in and a throaty snare drum drives it relentlessly the rest of the way through until it collapses joyfully at the end.

I can’t air band my way through that song without tears of joy. I just can’t.

This isn’t a morbid I can’t wait to get to heaven sort of thing like I’ve heard from some church people in the past. One line in the song says, ‘There’s a reason that I’m here today’ which to me says, You have an important purpose here on earth before that time comes. There are too many Christians who glorify the next life so much that they don’t remember the importance of living this one well.

I’m healthy and I love my life. I have no premonitions and I’m not expecting to leave any time soon. I’m perfectly happy to wait for the next life until I’m 109 years old – minimum.

But of course I don’t know for certain when my time will come any more than you know when yours will come. Anyway, that’s not the point.

The point is, don’t worry about me. It’s all okay because Jesus made it okay. Death isn’t a stop, it’s a pause; a stutter-step before we confidently enter an immaculate new life.

Lloyd will be there. Marilyn and Tony will have already met and swapped stories about me and Cheryl by the time we get there (uh-oh). Someday … someday … our families will be together and whole.

And you will be there too. (Letting you know now that I take my coffee strong with two creams.)

There will be amazing choirs and bands there too.

And I’ll be the drummer I always imagined I was on the treadmill.