In the very early morning hours around 3 am after my son Caleb passed away, I found myself completely broken and my spirit was consumed with deep sorrow. I recall very vividly that moment when the weight of what happened only hours before and consumed me and the pain became more than I could bear and that’s precisely when I cried out to God and I kept saying, “Mercy Lord, mercy. Mercy Lord mercy.” What I was after was mercy from the pain and anguish. The shredding of my soul of which felt like was being torn from one end to the other with mashing and tearing back and forth. The pain would not abate. I would liken it to being perhaps run over and over and over again and even though not necessary but that thing keeps running you over. The pounding did not stop. It was in that moment where I had no option but to fall at the feet of God so to speak as there was no human way for me to escape the pain. I felt compelled to beg God for mercy. I was in fact on my face on the floor prostrate sobbing uncontrollably.
I bring this all up again because this past week a young girl of six years old was struck and killed by a car here in Colorado Springs in a neighboring development while riding her bicycle with her mother. I first heard it on our local radio station while I was driving to work on Friday, September 22, 2017. I recall feeling a pit in my stomach and I texted my wife at the next stop light to mention it to her as well. I continued to drive but could not help but feel for the family involved. To know the tragedy of losing a child. To know the door that family passed through. It started to weigh on me and I said a quick prayer for the family. As the day went on I went on with my business and did not give it a lot more thought but as I drove home I heard the same story repeated on the radio as they provided updates.
The next day my son Aaron asked me to take me to his girlfriend’s house that just so happens to be in the very development where the girl was killed. On the drive over, I could not help but think about that family again. As we got closer, my son Aaron told me it happened right near his girlfriend’s house and she actually knew the family and did babysitting work for them. For me this was starting to get a little too close to home. As we approached the destination and not knowing where this took place, off to the right I saw the makeshift memorial with a tarp and toys right on the corner. My heart sank again and I could not help but stare as we drove by.
I dropped my son off and started to head back home and the weight on my heart became greater as I approached the memorial again on the way out. I started to slow down my car considerably as I approached and almost wanted not to look to my left but felt compelled. I pulled over my car and set the transmission into park and took my foot off the break. I continued to feel that moment. Feel the pain. Feel the sorrow of loss. Feel for the family involved. I started to pray for them right there and I said, “mercy Lord, mercy. Mercy Lord, mercy.” I started to get consumed with pain as my own loss and pain came to the surface. I continued on and prayed for that family my whole ride home.
I turned the local Christian radio station on and as I approached my driveway I started to become overrun with emotion. I put my car in park and began to sob uncontrollably. I felt empathy for that family and my own pain and loss consumed me. I pressed into God like that morning when I lost Caleb and repeated, “mercy Lord, mercy.” Mercy for that family in their sorrow and from mine. I continued to press into God and find relief. I find it is the only place for refuge.
So often I suppress the pain and loss of my son and try to lose myself with the distractions of this world but those feelings are there deep down. Early in my journey I both pressed into God and I fled God in anger and perhaps shook my fist at God at times. I’ve been through so many spiritual ups and downs since my son passed away and though I’ve gotten and feel way better than the early days, there is still a weight that is on me in some respect and a dark spot on my soul where the pain remains. This is not something I expect will ever go away but this incident and reminder this week with the young girl who passed away is a stark reminder of the only place I can find refuge is with the Lord. It’s in those moment where I truly press in and seek God and his peace and mercy that I find any relief.
The truth is there is no escaping God’s presence. The bible speaks to this in Psalm 139:7-12
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
The context is that running from God is futile. There were days early on that I was so angry with God and it served me not. I only find refuge when I press into God. Time and time again I find myself broken with grief and I press into God as it is the ONLY place for refuge. It’s like a one on one phone call where my spirit connects to God. It almost has like a tunnel feeling where this tube opens up and God is there and on the other end my spirit is able to connect. I can’t quite put it into words properly. What I know is that I find help there. I find relief. I find some peace.
Psalm 46 sums it up quite well:
6 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Though I go through life trying to make sense of tragedy I know that God has a much bigger plan and I don’t always see that. I often take it personally when it’s not about me and never was. The bigger picture is that all things are for God’s glory. Ultimately all this pain and sorrow will be made right and I long for the day when I can see my son again. I continue the best way I know how on this earth and all of its troubles. I continue to keep looking up and do my part in life to do my best with all that I know how. God continues to bless our family and we remain faithful. I certainly do not have all the answers and my journey is still ongoing. I still have pain and I still experience that sense of loss. I will continue to serve God and even though I don’t always understand his plan I trust it’s right for me. God has made me stronger through it all. I don’t always see that until I am tested. This was a big test of my faith and I have remained true.
I continue to ask for your prayers and if you would find the time and if you are still reading this blog post that you might pray for the family who recently lost their child here in Colorado Springs. They are just starting this journey and I can say I know their pain. I feel their pain. My prayer is my writing might help some other person out there or have some impact. Feel free to reach out to me or comment on this blog.
Author: Andrew Dubas
Note: I am not a professional writer just some dad who lost a child and and find healing in expressing my experience in this blog. I did not proof read this blog for errors or grammar issues. I will ask my wife to look it over later and will correct as needed. 🙂