Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grief and blessing - Godspeed my brother (Geoff Maul)

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. - Romans 14:8

Geoff (and Maggie) in September 2011, the day we started our ongoing series of interviews
This is going to be a hard post to do right. But I have to try. This blog is where I do a lot of my processing of life, my thinking out loud. And you, those curious enough to read over my shoulder, are a huge part of how I write and how I continue to grow. Thanks so much for being a part of me.

I lost an important part of me around 8:15 yesterday evening. My brother, Geoff, is just plain gone.

Oh, I understand the fact that Geoff is - and always will be - a critically important element of what it means to be a Maul, and I'm confident without question that he is now more alive than he has ever been and in the presence of the God he loves so deeply. But Geoff is still gone, our lives are still undeniably empty, our hearts are literally aching with grief, and our spirits are heavy with sadness.
PASSAGE: I headed down to his house Sunday afternoon, and my privilege was to spend the next twenty-two hours doing absolutely everything in my power to serve my brother and to bring into play every possible resource on his behalf. Geoff has some amazing friends, and I can't say enough to thank Tom Monroe for being such a solid and faithful rock of consistent presence over the past couple of weeks.

Geoff's daughter, Hannah, and I were able to make sure that he completed this particular phase of his journey in the comfort and security of the beautiful Tidewell Hospice facility in Ellenton. He passed away in the evening, literally surrounded by family and friends.

It was, in every sense of the word, a "holy" passage. The presence of God literally filled both the physical space and the hearts and minds of everyone present. My sense was that the reality of the holiness was evident to everyone, official "believer" or not. The truth of such an experience has enough gravity to transcend even the most deep-seated conviction or doubt.

GOD IS: And that is really the point of my post this morning. God is. And God is all about the business of saving people. And by that I don't mean the clich├ęd, formulaic version pushed by some religions. What I'm talking about is God's constant invitation that we participate in the fullness of life, the "life that truly is life," the new and living way of Jesus.

You see, Geoff's death, my brother's passageway into the next stage of the journey, turns out to be more evidence of the life-charged life. There was so much living faith in the room with Geoff yesterday evening that the very walls were crying out, "Peace!" "Love!" "Salvation!" "Rest!"

I'm going to miss you, Geoff (I already do...)
It's a difficult paradox, I'll acknowledge, because that room was also loaded to the ceiling with grief, and sadness, and a sense of loss that will stay with those of us who love Geoff for a very long time.

And so, "God-Speed" my brother. Thank you so very much for all the adventures, the laughter, the tears, the challenges, the irrepressible enthusiasm, the complications, the travels, the conversations, the insight, the honesty, the shared family, the broadening of my horizons (voluntary and otherwise!) and - most of all - the enduring love.

In love, and because of love - DEREK

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