Friday, September 16, 2011

The 9-16 Dance

"He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave." Mathew Henry

When 9-11 comes, my family is glued to the TV. We watch all the shows about the day, the aftermath, and the stories of the families that have happened since that day. When 9-16 comes we have a sense of what those families feel. You see on 9-16, our family remembers the day Daniel died. While I understand that our loss was not equivalent to those loses on 9-11, because we had prepared, said our goodbyes and thought about what 9-17 may be like, those families did not. Yet what I think we have in common is that there has been a response to the loss. From the rubble and destruction that caused death, life eventually springs forth. From the pain and sadness, hope and vision come forth. From what seemed bad, good has come. First we mourned, now we dance!

Kermit the Frog speaks of the response to death of his son to his gathered family as Bob Crachit, in the Muppets Christmas Carol. "Life is made up of a series of meetings and partings and our family has experienced parting with the death of Tiny Tim. We are reminded to be thankful for our family, each member precious, each unique, and perhaps, appreciating our family becomes easier in the wake of a parting, a loss."  Kermit's family then responds quietly, in acknowledgment of this moment of loss, and in love and appreciation for each other. Every year as I watch that scene from the movie, I am moved, as I so know the scene from my own life. That moment after one has parted, when it is just those gathered who feel the love and appreciation for those who are close and the pain of the loss. I have been blessed to experience it many times since. 

As I spoke to my mom this morning, little was said, but we acknowledged how long it has been since Dans has gone, and spoke of the loss of others in the family since. The series of meetings and partings continue, we know we shall be together again in heaven so the sense of loss is lessened. We feel no fear, there are no unanswered questions, death has no grip on us, it is as it says in Romans 8. Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time to mourn and a time to dance, so we have mourned and some days we still mourn, but now we mostly dance. I believe the dance is the eventual good response to death, to loss.

Pastor Jim Erickson was known to says regularly that we can get bitter or get better. I hope our response as a family has been to get better, to dance, to create more family. Our immediate family has grown, the camps are built on creating family, the camp staff family continues to grow, the church family has grown. Nothing is more important than building Gods family, it is an easy formula really. Knowing that God's family has grown out of the rubble of Dan's death makes it easier too for me. I know Dan would be pleased if he was here, I know doing Gods work was most important to him in his very short life.

So I close this entry by challenging all who read it to build God's family. Be wary of getting caught up in mourning, in pain, in knowledge, in religion, in thought, in anything that sidetracks you from His family. Nothing is more important, as there is nothing God desires more than growth in His family. In the wake of His sons death, I think it is what makes God dance!


  1. As I read this I can't help but think of John 12:24…a scripture where Jesus gives an illustration to His disciples regarding the necessity of His death and resurrection.

    “Truly I say to you, If a seed of grain does not go into the earth and come to an end, it is still a seed and no more; but through its death it gives much fruit.”

    And in doing a quick search on the scripture, I found this explanation;

    “The greatest philosopher that ever existed could not tell how one grain became thirty, sixty, a hundred, or a thousand - how it vegetated in the earth - how earth, air, and water, its component parts, could assume such a form and consistence, emit such fragrance, or produce such tastes. Nor can the wisest man on earth tell how the bodies of animals are nourished by this produce of the ground; how wheat, for instance, is assimilated to the very nature of the bodies that receive it, and how it becomes flesh and blood, nerves, sinews, bones, etc. All we can say is, the thing is so; and it has pleased God that is should be so, and not otherwise. So there are many things in the person, death, and sacrifice of Christ, which we can neither explain nor comprehend. All we should say here is, It is by this means that the world was redeemed - through this sacrifice men are saved: it has pleased God that it should be so, and not otherwise.”

    It is true that the death of your beloved brother was the seed that was planted for the harvest which bears his name.

    God bless you and your family on this day as your remember Dan.

  2. I read this on facebook, too. Beautiful memorial to Dan today. I know he would be pleased if he were here to see what has become of the seed he planted. I love you, Tony. I am thankful for the family we are blessed with and most importantly, for the bond we share in Christ. Looking forward to a big reunion in Heaven!

  3. I never got to know Dan, yet every day I get to experience the blessings of the Camp Daniel family. It was the summer of the camp theme "Family" that I became apart of the family. Now Marceaux and I are starting a family of our own with the love and help of a huge family around us. I am so greatful to Dan and the whole Piantine family for their courage and endurance in all they have accomplished and went through, providing a much better life for so many others.

  4. Whenever I start to wonder just what direction my ministry should take, I remember often Dan's last words to me when I asked if he had any words of advice to his uncle before he left this earth. I expected many thoughts and words about disability ministry. He told me this: "Preach the Word". That was it. I will never forget it. God's Word -- before, now, and forever. Thank you, Dan. I wonder what you are doing right now? I can only imagine. Thanks, Tony. I love and appreciate you. Our family has been so blessed. With God's help, we will keep the Godly legacy going. The best is yet to come!!!