Skip to main content


This morning I woke up and could not get going. I was alone in the house while my sister and Anahi were running some errands, and one of Julie’s favorite songs was playing on the radio.  I began to cry. "God, how long? When will I see the other side?"

As paradoxical as it may sound, I am actually beginning to long for the next grief surge. It has become the new familiar thing. It’s the one connection I have with my past. It’s the time I have to myself to think of two great loves that enriched my life for 15 years. Thinking about the son I had, who made me a dad and brought fatherhood out of me. Pondering how love grows deeper over the years. Thinking about the incredible wife God gave me, who loved me unconditionally and made me a better person. Now all of that is gone, and I am left with just a quiet house and tears.

But I am also aware that life never stops and is constantly moving forward, even if I am moving very slowly right now. People move on. Many of you have been there for me since day one. But I realize that empathy can last only so long. I have never considered myself a passive person. I don’t like to be stuck. I praise and admire proactive people. I enjoy going somewhere in life. But this is very hard. If I had let my humanity run my emotions, and forgotten that I have a God who holds me in the palm of his hand, I would have given up long ago. Life without hope of restoration would be very difficult.

I have taken steps forward, but I still wake up some mornings wondering when I will truly laugh again (I mean from deep within). When will I be cruising again on the highway of life fulfillment? Narrow roads, winding paths, and lonely stretches have been the norm this year. I don’t want to sound like a complainer because I have been blessed with wonderful friends, so many prayers, and the love of my immediate family. On top of that I have a little daughter who does not let one day go by without giving me kisses and telling me that she loves me. But I am tired of crying, of missing my loved ones, of spending hours learning new skills, of taking responsibility for new tasks.

When does grieving end? Some say "Never;" others say, "Just wait; you will laugh again." The Bible says that God will turn our mourning into dancing. Others say the pain will gradually fade into your memory bank. In a sense, I have found truth in all of these statements.

Some days I want to be done with grieving. I want to write in my journal: "I woke up this morning, and life is good. I am not hurting anymore, and I am moving forward." But I know that the line between the past and the present is never that clear. We are constantly embracing our past and weaving it into the present. The future can be new and good, depending on what I do with the good and bad of my past.

Some days I think I am over the worst of it. But then I wake realizing that I am on the journey like anyone else dealing with his or her past and hoping that tomorrow will bring a new season of joy, renewed dreams, and fulfillment.


  1. Thanks for sharing the truth, Norberto. You are giving people who grieve permission to speak from their hearts when they hurt, and not feel like they have to be on a timeline and "hurry up" through this. And your friends will never run out of empathy--you just help us know how to pray for you when you let us have a peek inside your world. Hugs from Encarnacion.....


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

The Genesis of my story in Paraguay: Part 2

In Part 1, I shared how my first move to Paraguay was at age 5. At that time I was a minor, following my parents around. But my second move to Paraguay was at age 25 when after college, I—or better said, we—decided to move back to Paraguay. This time, the Genesis was a letter inviting us to help pioneer a new radio station there.

At the time I had just gotten married to my college sweetheart Julie. We were both enrolled in seminary, enjoying just being married and going to school. Among our hobbies at the time was traveling the U.S. and to any country that we had the funds to go to. During those days, we began running seriously and trained for our first marathons and adventure race. Our first marathon was the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie and I finished together in what I thought was a pretty good time of 4 hours, 12 minutes.

One day, a letter in our mailbox got us thinking about plans beyond graduation. The letter was from Walter Franz, inviting us to help establis…

Paraguayan Weddings

On Valentine’s Day, we had the joy of attending the wedding of Sandra and Anastacio, young leaders in the church. Sandra is my assistant with Children of Promise and Anastacio, apart from his carpentry job, has a popular youth-focused radio program every night at 8:00 on our station.

We’ve been to quite a few weddings, and these are some of the uniquenesses of southern Paraguayan wedding celebrations from our North American culture:

1. Nothing is fancy. Emphasis is placed on the act of marriage and not on the decorations or food.
2. It is not an expectation that parents help pay for expenses. Most families just make it each month with regular expenses and cannot afford to pay for eleborate feasts. Most couples have to spend months saving for their own wedding.
3. Borrow as much as possible. Many times wedding dresses are borrowed 5-10 times, because few women can afford their own. Flowers, decorations, shoes and ties (Norb loans out his ties often...since he never wears them!) are …