Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why Comments Are Important and An E-mail From Karen and Joe

Almost 2 years ago, something happened that made me feel isolated and sad. I was at the verge of being angry and resentful, and I prayed that God would not allow me to harbor those negative feelings in my heart. God gave me a way out. He introduced me to the world of blogging. I didn't have any background or information on blogging, I just plunged right in. Through blogging I met a lot of wonderful moms who encouraged me through their comments. Reading comments were such a comfort to me at that time. Later on, blogging became not just a venting place but a ministry as well. Little did i know that God will now use "me and blogging" to minister to the Johnsons at this time of sorrow in their lives. Karen sent me an e-mail this morning, and she told me to publish it here too. Your comments on this blog means so much to them:

Liza....thank you so much for the blog. We love it. Thank you for your willingness to do this extra work for us. You are such a gift. It was so moving to see the surfing photo of Joey and the verse inscribed over it. Never has the resurrection meant more to us than at this moment. The comments are so touching. Please express our gratitude to so many for their support. It truly helps ease the pain.

We are grieving together with Joey's friends and our old friends who have come by the house where we are staying. The comfort of human touch and compassion is so meaningful to us. The grief comes in waves and takes us by surprise in its intensity. We feel deep loss and at the same time deep peace and trust in the Lord's compassion and goodness and wisdom. He never fails, and has felt very near to us. There is a certain sense of God having prepared us for this in the past few weeks and months, especially as we share our stories with one another. There were just little comforting signs that God was in control.

We are so thankful that the Lord brought Joey out to Maui just two weeks ago so we could have some really special, now precious, time with him. We love the Lord for loving our boy and making it possible for us all to be reunited one day. He is now safe in the arms of Jesus.

We are planning the memorial service and just ask for prayers for it to come together, and also for the fatigue we all feel right now. Thank you for loving us and being such a help right now.

All our love,
Karen and Joe

A few weeks from now, or several months from now, all of us will be going back to our usual routine but Karen and Joe won't be able to do that. They will try, but they will find out that their life is never the same. they will process this, they will grieve ... and I can guarantee you that on that time, they will come back here ... and will be reading the comments left here, over and over again. They will bring comfort to their hearts...

I encourage you to leave a comment on this blog, once, twice, as much as you can (in any post). It does not have to be long, it does not have to be profound, you can just say "we're praying for you" or type in a Bible Verse that you think will minister to their hearts. Believe me ... I know ... your words will be like soothing balms to a wounded heart....



Danielle Allaire said...

To Karen and Joe,

Even though we never got to know each other on Maui, and though our families were only loosely linked in the sister-church community of Kumulani and Hope chapel, I want you to know how proud I am of you as parents; you crafted one of the most beautiful, special people I have ever had the honor of calling a friend.

Joseph and I realized we were both from Maui the first day I took a job at Filter. From that moment on--after realizing we both were at Seabury at the same time, to bonding over surfing, and being pasty, redheaded kids in a land where not being tan is inexcusable--he took me under his wing as the younger sister he never had. He encouraged me in difficult times at work, bonded with me in our mutual faith as Christians (and made me accountable to my beliefs), gave me advice on boys, as well as playing the protective, big brother card when they weren't treating me as well as he thought they should.

Most of all he encouraged me to get the most out of life: have fun, carve out the life I want under the circumstances I deserve, and--as cheesy as it sounds--to always follow my heart and my dreams. Even though life experience solidified these wise beliefs, I know that your upbringing paved the way for his exuberant respect for life and all of its possibilities.

The last communication I had with your son was while he was with you in Hawaii for your daughter's graduation. I had sent him a text asking for some his friendly and wise advice. He responded with a quintessential Joseph response, saying "Don't fret, Dani" and promising that on his return we'd work things out... over a pint in my and his (new) neighborhood. We never got that pint, or that hug I'm sure he would offer upon first sight, but the last thing I said to him was this:

"You are the best. I mean that in the most sincere and loving way possible."

I know that is what everyone who knew him thinks, and hope that he knew that through my own words. We love you, support you, are praying for you and will never forget the life you brought us that touched so many.

God Bless you both.

Danielle Allaire

Anonymous said...

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Psalms 147:3

Rolf Whitney

Janet on Maui :) said...

Dearest Karen, Joe, Jaime, Joanne & ohana,
I am so sad about Joey and the great loss you are all feeling. Life changes so quickly, seems like we were just praying together & watching your adorable grandchildren on Friday and then you are plunged into grief.
What a wonderful gift you had of having Joey home for Joanne's graduation and Mother's Day, only God knew. It was comforting to have I.B. at school this week, being surrounded by her friends during this time. As a mom of a son who lives far away, every moment we have together counts. Our children are more precious than they know.
Glad you had many moments with Joey and those memories will soften the anguish. Someday we will sing again with Joey as we worship the Lord together. Knowing that God catches our tears makes the heartache bearable, most of the time. The letter & photos from Kristin & Liza are wonderful.
Hug each other from me ... as you have hugged me so often ...
May God hold you tight in His arms,

lorensaved77 said...

Dear Joe,Karen,Jaime,&Joanne,

" I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me" Phil 4:13

This verse got me thru the most difficult time in my life...hope it brings you strength.
Love you guys,
Nancy and Loren Family

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen and Joe,
We were so shocked and saddened at the news of Joey's death. I know he has been a friend to Shelley in Maui and LA. In fact, he is the one who invited her to the church where they both worshiped, away from us parents, but not far away from the Lord.
We grieve with you and at the same time know that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for everything.
Aloha, Lynne and Chad Andagan

hebrewsch10 said...

Dear Joe and Karen,
I can barely think of anything else, but you and yours, and what you are going through. I remember all of the times, even though you barely knew us, that you reached out and helped us. You continued to remember our situations--texting and emailing to check on us. I can only believe that your son was the same caring individual that you two are and I miss him without ever having met him. I pray for you without ceasing and I will continue to do so.

I love you both and my heart aches for you,

Trish Garcia

lita said...

Dearest Joe & Karen ~
I wanted so much to post a comment sooner, but I was without words. I couldn't process the news. I had to keep asking myself, "Is it OUR Joe & Karen Johnson?" And as the news made it's way around the church body, I knew it to be true. Although I haven't yet expreienced a loss of this magnitude, I can only imagine the depth of it's pain. You both are such strong pillars of Faith, and have always given so much ~ asking nothing in return. My prayers for you run deep and I know that God has His arms wrapped around you ~ His spirit is comforting you ~ and His Peace is covering you....

Love you so,

Anonymous said...

Karen and Joe...I am continuously drawn to your blog, I think, in efforts to feel closer to you via pass on the wordless, unspeakable murmurings of my heart that so desires to comfort, encourage, and love your family, yet fall so short in the written word.

Karen...your email that Liza posted, overflowed with a mama's love for her baby boy.

The Body of Christ uncessingly continues to link hearts in prayer to cover and protect your family.

ulu, spencer, riley, spencer boy, quinn

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe & Karen & JoAnne & Jaime,

Psalm 4:8 "I will lie down and sleep in peace - for You alone,
O LORD, make me dwell in safety."

Love Always, Kevin & Shirley

The Goerings said...

Joe and Karen...Lanny and I received the heart-wretching news in disbelief of the untimely loss of your son, Joey. It has taken a few days for us to actually comprehend the reality of the news. Our hearts ache for you guys! Having to submit our dear Gina to the Lord gives us the utmost understanding of what you and your family are now experiencing. The loss of one's child is without a doubt the hardest of life's experiences, yet comforting in knowing our precious ones are safe in the arms of Jesus. You and your family are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. We are so sad for you and we send you our love and words of comfort as your grieve for your loss. May the Peace of God be of comfort to you.

The Goerings

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen, Joe and family,

Dave and I want to express our deepest regrets. I have a profound sense of loss and just can't stop praying for all of you. We are so close to our children, talk to them mostly every day, but now I just want to talk to them constanly. I am so sorry.

Dave and I never got to know Joey personally, only what we heard thru our Maui friends, but I know that he must have been wonderful, look at his wonderful parents and friends!! I love the surfing picture of him, makes me think of my own boys. Hold on to the t-shirt, sometimes, it is something like that , that get us thru difficult times.

We will be constanly praying for ya'll, that is the only thing that we can do for you, but I know, that will be the thing that gets ya'll thru this time.

We love you dearly,

Dave and Barb Koukl