Eulogy for my Grandfather–9 years late

I remember where I was when I heard the news: I had just gotten home from a night at Youth Group, after a long afternoon of “Annie” rehersals. My parents sat the three of us down on their bed, and my Dad said, with tears in his eyes, “Boppa Guy died.”

I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of my lungs; my heart was pounding, and my eyes welled up with tears.

Your death hit me hard. I was in 6th grade, and at that point in my life, I didn’t know what fully death meant even though I had been to more funerals than weddings. Nobody so close to me had ever died before. All the deaths were such and such a person who had been “insert obscure relational title here.”

Your death was the first time somebody died that I had personally touched, whose voice I can remember clearly, whose laugh still rings in my ears. Your death was the first time a physical presence close to me had died.

Nine years later, I have come to understand what death literally means: a final cessation of all physical and mental activity. But nine years later, I have come to my own theories about death through my study of physics and my observations of how people interact with each other.

Yes, death is finite, unless you’re a Christian, in which case, death is temporary. But the finality of death is not important. What is important is what I’ve come to learn.

Physicists have this law called the “Law of Conservation of Energy,” which esentially states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it just is. The same amount of energy has existed since the universe has been created, and the same amount of energy will exist up until the moment the universe ceases to exist. The energy that exists today is the same energy that existed when George Washington walked this earth; it has just been transferred from one form to another over time: light, potential, kinetic, sound, etc.

This law walks hand-in-hand with my theory about death: a person dies when all of their energy has been transferred to other people (I’m not talking about physical energy that one can obtain from eating food. I’m talking about the energy that makes up the universe, the energy that a person is made up of: personality, beliefs, what some people call an “Aura”). For people who die young, either the have less energy to start out with or they transfer it more quickly. For people who die when they’re 116, they either start out with more energy or they transfer it more slowly over time.

I’ve come to discover that people start to resemble the people they hang out with the most, like how married couples begin to look alike, except my mannerisms begin to resemble the people I hang out with the most. My vocabularly has expanded and reshifted to mirror the vocabulary of the people I know the best. My personality changes depending on the group of people I’m hanging out with. This is the transfer of energy to which I am referring.

I don’t have any direct proof for any of this, of course. It’s all speculation based on observations and physics, but I’d like to believe that it’s true.

If it’s true, we have the potential to affect people generations from now, not just because of the laws we make, the legistlation we pass, how we leave the environment. But we also have the potential to impact people generations from now because of the transfer of energy. Theoretically, the energy you give off, the energy you transfer from one person to another could be vibrating and reverberating in the universe a hundred years from now, or at least, technically, in the gene pool of your descendants.

Physicists have also discovered that there are rays of light called photons that can pass through objects as they are drawn into the ground. I like to believe that all these particles that have bounced off people’s face, travelled through these people, on the way to their final distance (or where ever photons go) have had their paths forever changed because they came in contact with these people. I like to believe that the same photons that came in contact with Jesus have, at some point, come in contact with me, a legacy 2000 years in the making.

I have no proof of any of these, Grandpa. But it’s been nine years since you died, and sometimes the facial expressions my sister makes are expressions I swear I saw you make before. Sometimes I’ll make a joke, and my dad will say, “That was a Boppa Guy joke.” Your energy and the photons that came in contact with you are continuing to make an effort nine years later and will continue to make an impact generations from now.

It’s either physics or genetics, and I’d like to believe it’s a mixture of both. Genetics are powerful because a child can be the spitting image of a great-great-great grandparent they never met. But physics is powerful, too.

It’s the language of the universe, and I take comfort in language. So, I’m taking comfort in this theory about death.

Life is finite, and so is this eulogy. But I don’t know how to end this; I’ve never been good with endings. But I guess I’ll end with this:

Scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy, and they have found it accurate and consistent across space and time. Take comfort in that because God is the creator of space and time, and time is relative. Down here, on Earth, it’s been nine years. But in heaven, it’s been no time at all.

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Bible WhatNow?

Disclaimer: Bible Quizzing is not for every one, and I was not paid to write this post, nor was I asked to in any way, shape, or form. This post has stemmed out of several conversations I’ve had over the past few days about Bible Quizzing, and you know, since I’m better at writing than I am at talking, I decided it would be more conducive for me to write it all out.

Question. Question Number 1 is a two part question. Question number 1 in two parts. Question. What is Bible Quizzing, and why do you do it?

What is Bible Quizzing?

That’s a complicated question. In the approximately 10 years I’ve been involved with Bible Quizzing, I still haven’t been able to string a set of words together to accurately describe what Quizzing is to those who haven’t seen it. But I’ll do my best because you all seem so interested in the topic.

First off, it’s not a room full of students sitting in neatly arranged rows of desks, taking a test on the Bible like an SAT or an AP. And it’s most definitely not a “Quiet, No Chatting, No Fun” Zone.

It’s like Jeopardy and Family Feud got together and had this child that also gives you a great leg workout if you do it right (And trust me, you want to do it right because one day you’ll know the answer but be outjumped and outgained by the kid from the other church you’ve been trying to beat for years). It’s an individual team competition, and I know that doesn’t make sense to those of you who don’t quiz, but it makes sense to those of us who do.

Because while we are trying to beat the team in the seats across from us, we are also trying to beat ourselves. How much of this can I memorize? How fast can I get up? Can I get more questions than I did last month?

And I don’t really know how else to describe what it is, except that I know I wrote a post about what Bible Quizzing is a while ago. You can read that if you like.

As for why I participate in it, that question is easier to answer.

I was forced. Or not, I can’t really remember.

If I was forced, it’s because I was a painfully shy child. And I’m not talking like “Won’t talk to strangers” type of shy; I’m talking “You’re my grandfather but I can’t ask you to play this game with me because what if you say no? So, I’ll just passively aggressively set this game up on the table and hope you get the hint that I want to play the game” type deal.

If I was forced, it’s because I needed to pop this “fear of people, rejection, and any type of social interaction” bubble that was surrounding me.

If I was forced, it worked.

If I wasn’t forced, it’s because I wanted to be involved in Quizzing.

If I wasn’t forced, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I haven’t been a quizzer in three years, but why have I kept coming back?

Simple: the relationships.

The people I’ve meet through quizzing are easily the best friends I have ever had. It’s easy to say that you are best friends with someone when you see them almost every day, but when you only see them once a month, it’s a lot harder to call someone your best friend.

The relationships I’ve made through quizzing are easily the ones I cherish the most, no matter the miles or states that may separate us. The friends I’ve made through quizzing are the “I know it’s 3 in the morning, but I’m having a hard time. I feel like Atlas, holding the world up on his shoulders. But unlike Atlas, the sky is falling around me. It’s 3 am, and I called you because I knew you would answer” type friends.

I’ve stayed involved with quizzing because I want to be that friend for somebody, and I really love watching the quizzers grow and mature right before my eyes.

Quizzing is hard. I know that. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes the thought of studying and competing is overwhelming. Trust me, I understand. I’ve been there.

Numerous times throughout my quizzing career I thought about walking away. Between studying for school, balancing my Mental Health, and studying for quizzing, I didn’t think I could do it all. I couldn’t quit school, because that was frowned upon. I tried to quit life, and yet I’m still here. So, I tried to quit quizzing.

That didn’t work either because the relationships I made were too precious for me to give up on. So, I decided to focus less on the competition, which was never really a focus of mine anyways, except for that year and a half when I decided to memorize EVERYTHING.

Which was fun and all, but I realized winning isn’t everything. I cared more about my allies than my PPQI (which for all you sports fans out there is like a batter’s RBI). I started caring more about quality than quantity, but not everyone does, and that’s ok.

Quizzing is a combination of competition and fellowship, prasing and winning. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because all of these aspects put together contribute to the greatness that it is. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And you win some, you lose some. And I’ve won some great friends, some great confidence, and a greater understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Because my greatest enemies in the quizzing room became my greatest friends when the final question was finished.

And that’s the beauty of it all.

So yes, I think every body should try quizzing at least for one year, because you can’t really understand the fullness of its greatness without experiencing everything: the practices, the tournaments, the weekend getaway, the week long nationals, the victories, and the defeats.

It’s more than “you have to see it to believe it.” It’s more like “you have to experience it to understand it.”

And I hope you can experience it at least once, and if you can’t, I hope you at least are a spectator once because miracles do happen, and this is one.

Late Night Thoughts: I’ll Be Ok

The most common question I get is, “What you were wearing?” As if that makes a difference. I was in 8th grade, and my whole life I had been taught that, as a woman, I have to be careful what I wear because it could be distracting to boys.

I was wearing jeans and an extra-large hoodie if you must know.

The second most common question I am asked is, “what did you do to provoke him?” Nothing. Unless you count him asking me out and me saying, “no,” because he was a jerk who slammed my locker shut every day, who used to pull my hair because he liked the way it curled.

Now before you say, Boys will be boys, or, that’s how he shows you he likes you, let me tell you that I grew up hearing that if a guy is mean to you, he likes you.

“He’s pulling my hair.” He likes you.

“He stole my ball.” He likes you.

I took that to mean that if someone is mean to you, they must like you.

“He beat his wife for years.” He loved her too much.

“Why didn’t she leave?” She loved him too much.

For years, I was mean to my body: I cut myself open. I watched myself bleed. I starved myself. I belittled myself because I believed that in order to love my body, my being, I had to first be mean.

Meanness, I thought, was the way people showed love: Love is born out of hatred; Abuse is a symbol of love.

How messed up is that?

“Why did you do this to yourself?” I was trying to love myself.

“Why didn’t you leave?” Trust me, I tried. But something pulled me back.

You’ll be ok.

People like to believe that most sexual assaults and rapes are committed by strangers. However, that’s not the case. (Trust me, I’ve done the research. I know the statistics. 1 in 5. 1 in 7. I wrote a 12-page paper on the prevalence of rape in society and the way society treats the victims and the perpetrators. Sometimes, society doesn’t get it right).

I knew the guys who did this to me. I went to school with them. I saw them every day before and after until they dropped out. Win for me.

I graduated High School. They didn’t.

I am going to graduate from College soon. I’ve come a long way.

The things they called me, the things they told me, still echo in my ear.

Slut.

Bitch.

You’re asking for this.

You’ll never amount to anything.

Nobody will ever love you.

 

Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not.

But I love me. It’s taken me years to get to this point. It’s taken me years to realize how beautiful I am I have the advantage of knowing where I’ve been and can compare it to where I am now. And with all these facts laid out before me, how can I not love me?

There are days when I want to go back in time and say to my 13-year old self, It’s ok. You’ll be ok. It will get better. I want to take her by the hand and show her the people she’ll touch, the people she’ll meet, the lives she’ll change. I want to tell her the story of her 19-year old self going to Guatemala, sharing her testimony with a group of Junior High students, and leading a young Guatemalan teenager to Christ because of her story. I want to tell her about the hard days and the sad days and the in-between days. I want to remind her that one day the sun will come out, and she’ll feel better. I want to tell her that despite the cyclic nature of Depression, she can get through this.

I’ve learned life is beautiful, and I want her to remember this.

I want to tell her that one day she’ll learn about the power of words, how writing can change a life. When she discovers this, she will have found what she wants to do with her life.

I guess those guys must have been wrong about me then.

My 13- year old self would love me.

My current self loves me.

God loves me.

He’s the One who called me back that day.

You’ll be ok.

Some days I have to remind myself of this, especially on the days when the weight of the world is on my shoulders.

God loves me anyway, and I’ll be ok.