I still got out of bed at dawn. But I didn’t know why.
A couple of weeks after the funeral, someone suggested we go out for an evening. I didn’t want to, but I told my family that I thought maybe we should.
We had almost made it through dinner when Leesa broke down. She was so sorry, she said. She didn’t want to spoil things. She would try to sit through the movie, but nobody wanted to watch a movie, so we headed home.
Later that night, Leesa told me she couldn’t go on. All she ever wanted to be was a wife and mother. Now twenty-two years of prayers and mothering had disappeared with the pull of a trigger. I pointed out how much joy Stephen and Alese had given us.
“We still have them,” I said.
Her despair lifted momentarily.
Then she said that Stephen and Alese had turned out good in spite of her.
Hurling logic at Leesa’s shame turned out to be as helpful as throwing rocks at the devil.
Still, I tried to save Leesa by becoming a student of her grief. I took notes every day about anything—a song, a smell, a sight—that triggered a memory that turned into tears, like when in the supermarket one day, she saw a young boy Scott’s height and build with a baseball cap turned backward.
Two weeks after we buried him, the funeral bill arrived. It was $10,064.69. Thirty minutes later, my secretary walked in the room with a sack of mail. I dumped out thirty-eight sympathy cards and letters, which contained twenty-two checks—one for each year of Scott’s life.
I added them up. The total: $10,065.00, a few pennies above the cost of putting his body in the ground. I was stunned. I didn’t need the money. I still had plenty in the bank to pay for Scott’s funeral.
“What are you saying, God?” I asked.
The voice of mercy, the voice I had ignored for money, spoke to me through money. It said, I paid for his death. I also paid for his life. And I’ll pay for everything you ever need for as long as you live.
— Jack Deere, Even in Our Darkness
How to Use This Book
Jack Deere’s new memoir Even in Our Darkness is a powerful story of finding beauty and friendship with God through the pain of loss, tragedy, and brokenness. It’s an unvarnished look at the Christian life that will help you discover how to deal with disappointment and find beauty, even in our darkness. This book would make an excellent gift to a friend going through grief and tragedy, or a good group study for adults dealing with the pain of disappointment and loss.
What people are saying
“Even in Our Darkness is filled with the raw pain, beauty, mystery, and grace that our hearts were meant for… I found the vulnerability and transparency of this book to be shocking, and a desire arose in me to live all the more in the light as God is in the light. This book will encourage you.” — Matt Chandler