The hardest part of dying is the haunted hunch that I’m leaving loose ends, that I don’t have enough time to complete things, important things. If completion is life’s goal, I am limping off the track miles before the finish line.
I won’t grow old and cranky with Jaci. I won’t get to tease her as I lounge at the breakfast table that she’s not old enough to retire and I won’t get to kiss her on the steps of the Acropolis and I won’t get to take care of her when she’s ill and we won’t get to muse together about how longevity and wisdom somehow supplant even passion in time’s alchemy. Loose ends.
Nor will I get to see my kids’ weddings. I won’t share embarrassing childhood stories about them at their rehearsal dinners and I won’t wait in the lobby as they deliver their children and I won’t get to remember their baptisms as I baptize their kids and I won’t marvel at their talents in service to God’s world. I won’t get to talk them through the transformations of the decades. Loose ends.
And I won’t know my grandchildren. I won’t get to teach them wet willies and I will never laugh when they pee in the backyard and I won’t smile mischievously and hand them back to their parents because I have grown tired of taking care of them. I will never read them bedtime stories or go to their soccer games or conspire to confront their parents about what they’re doing wrong while appearing not to do so. I’m just enough self-possessed to think, too, that my grandchildren will be somewhat different for missing out on time with me. Loose ends.
My counselor says that naming lost dreams helps us grieve them, and he’s right, though I am uncertain that this grief can be overcome. My life will conclude amidst loose ends. I will die incomplete.
I feel like the Jeff Goldblum character in The Big Chill. He’s a disappointed writer, lamenting to his now middle-aged college friends that he’s writing puff pieces for People Magazine. “I’m tired of writing articles that people read on the toilet.”
One of his friends retorts, “You can read Dostoevsky on the toilet.”
“Yes,” Goldblum responds sardonically, “but you can’t finish it.”
There’s something about completion, a satisfaction which comes only with tying up loose ends and bringing a story to its proper conclusion. Dying young makes this impossible, and this makes me really very sad.
Lent begins today. When Christmas came to seem scant, Lent became my favorite time of the year. I was startled by this transition at first, in much the same surprise as when I discovered that I preferred officiating funerals to officiating weddings. The realization began with the merest of intuitions, a vague sense that Lent is deep and beautiful and true. It has grown into a full-throated praise that God is the Lord of life and of death and that we belong to God in both.
Still, connecting the sobriety of Lent with the alleluias of resurrection takes some time. When I was a parish minister I was always tongue-tied when a teenager came forward for the imposition of the ashes. “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” Saying this to a fourteen year old is something like quoting the theory of relativity to a third grader. With the rare exception, they just aren’t ready to hear it.
As we age, though, if we’re lucky enough to get liver spots and weak bladders, we get closer to understanding what a heap of ashes these bodies really are, and since we had nothing to do with willing ourselves into existence at the beginning of life we must face the fact that we may not will ourselves into new existence after death. If our story finds completion, or if it ends abruptly and too soon, still, it is part of a larger story whose author is grander than we are.
The goal, then, is thanking the Author. And the best way to do so is to live our stories with all of our hearts, minds, and souls.
Here is the Lenten logic, then; there’s nothing like taking a knee and rubbing ashes on your forehead to make you feel vulnerable. And there’s nothing like feeling vulnerable to remind us upon whom we may depend. And there’s nothing like depending on God to give us the courage to be obedient. Vulnerability leads to courage leads to obedience, and there, just then, we meet Jesus.
Just think about Jesus. Talk about vulnerability! What courage! How obedient!
Now think about Jesus’ last words, at least as John’s Gospel has it; “It is finished.”
There is a subtle distinction, it seems to me, between being finished and being complete. To finish something is to bring it to an end. To complete something is to tie up all the loose ends. After Jesus’ life is finished, Christ’s life continues: resurrection, ascension, glory, and finally, someday, completion. But not yet. Being finished doesn’t necessarily mean being complete.
Lent invites our contemplation of this truth and the incorporation of our story into it. If Jesus can finish in incompletion, well, I suppose I can, too. Penitence, then, is the embrace of our personal incompleteness. Confession is our willingness both to see and to say this truth. Heaven is God’s tying up the loose ends.
I’m still sad, of course, thinking about what I’m going to miss, thinking about those who might miss me. But they’re going to be okay. God will see to it.
As for me, the only thing bigger than my grief is my trust in God, and God isn’t finished with me yet.
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- Allan ThompsonI am a Director of Missions an associational missionary with Southern Baptists and work with churches in nine counties of southern WV and SW VA. I forwarded Karl's entry from Feb. 26 to all my pastors as one of the finest pieces of personal writing I've seen in a long time. Karl's honest, transparent, powerful images both touched me deeply and inspired me at the same time. Great testimony.4/27/20
- Mario CruzKarl, you are one of the best life teachers I've ever known. When you first let me into your "First Presby" family, I felt a true acceptance and understanding. Your heart is on your sleeve and your thoughts are not stifled, but your capacity to embrace all others, and their sometimes different opinions, shows your sincere caring for Humanity. Gale and I love you and your wonderful family.4/25/20
- Lynda HamiltonMy thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.4/24/20
- Patrick SheppardAbsolutely beautiful Karl. I think we are all the poorer for the lack of contemplation we do about what it all means. I told a passenger on the ship when we were discussing our “gilded cage” environment while looking for a port that we really have nothing but gratitude to express to God. He is and always be in control, thank you for your constant reminder.3/25/20
- Sharon FantoKarl today my prayers are for YOU. With all that is going on in the world, my thoughts and prayers are with YOU.3/24/20
- Jimmy Alan HallMy Love for you, Karl. You fill my heart with Love, as always.3/23/20
- Joanne leslieMy heart and prayers for you dear Karl and your precious family.3/10/20
- sharon fantoLove you Karl Travis. Thank you for sharing your insight with us. Our lives are better because of you! My love and prayers are with you, Jaco and your family during this time . I have a tee shirt that says PBPWMGIFWY Please be patient with me God isn’t finished with me yet ! Xoxoxo S3/8/20
- Julie ScrewsHi Ka rl! You would have known me as Julie Jennings from First Pres in Tulia. Missy Stringer posted this journal entry and I was moved to read your whole story. I'm wishing I had stayed connected to you sonehow. I currently live in Raleigh NC. I would have visited you in Chapel Hill in 2015 and prayed and remembered stories about Korky. I didn't know then so I'll start praying now. I have health issues of my own (MS and in a wheelchair) and I'm aware of the difficulties in navigating healthcare. Anyway,I wanted to reach out and add my support to the many already in your corner. Take care and I wish you peace.3/7/20
- Any SweetI love this and know that it was not easy to write. Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable. Trusting and abiding in him is the best place to be!! Love and praying for you and Jaci!!!3/6/20
- Barbie ClemonsKarl Barbie and I thank you for sharing your feelings about yourself as well as reflections on Lent. You know, because, you yourself have said this, God does not view our lives the same way we do - even our own lives . We view it as a start with a finish. God views is as a continuum, sort of going through phases. Please know that as you go from one phase to another, your life here on earth may be cut short but the impact you have made on so many people’s lives will continue for many, many years. You are a stone thrown into the water whose ripples will continue moving outward long after the rock has disappeared from sight. Please smile and take satisfaction that those ripples demonstrate God’s never ending gifts to us all. Peace and grace Barbie and Leland3/2/20
- Tom GibbonsKarl, you are so eloquent and so passionate!. The reflection on Lent deserves publication in a profound spiritual diary, full of heart and grace. I write this through tears which share the grief of incompleteness and the depth, breadth, and height of the love of the One to whom we belong.3/2/20
- Mary MartinKarl, Thank you for sharing the gifts of your heart, your faith, and your vulnerability. You will live on in all of us who have been blessed by crossing paths with you. Sending prayers for you and for all of your loved ones.2/29/20
- Joan EnochHow contemplative and inspiring! This was forwarded to me just in time. I do not have a terminal illness but various changes in my body, unexpected at my age of 78, have rendered me handicapped to a great degree. Although I have great faith in God, i worry over my immediate decisions that need to be made. Also, heavy on my mind, are all the things that are unfinished, waiting for me to complete and I don’t have the energy or strength to even begin completion. Your writing is perfect for any person, young or old, who is dealing with a similar situation. It is inspiring. Now I wish I could pray for myself as much as I do for others and their needs and healing. May you find joy and some peace in the way God enables you and has, obviously, called you to minister to others.2/28/20
- Janet MeltonKarl, This is well said! You may feel like you have loose ends but I think what counts most is what you HAVE done in and with your life. You can be proud of all the people whose lives you have touched, enriched, supported, comforted, made laugh, and so on! You have been a ‘good and faithful servant!’ If you say all you want/need to say to your loved ones, you will have tied up what I think is the biggest loose end. Don’t just think ‘Oh, my kids know how I feel about them.’ Use your gift of prose and write each one a letter. They can cherish your words and love for years and years. Your love will be there after you have gone and it will not run the risk of being partially forgotten as the years go by. It’s just a suggestion. I know I was so grateful that I had the chance to say all I wanted to say to my mother before she died.2/28/20
- Wendy FennKarl, I see the connection with Lent - the facing of the darkness inherent in it - to prepare to embrace moments of resurrection which arise. I cannot, though, fully imagine how this one feels to you. And I suspect all of us will be blessed with whatever you continue to share . I did not realize your process had become this - and I am so sorry to hear it. My heart hurts with your and your family's - Peace, Wendy Fenn2/28/20
- Terry AlexanderAlthough I am not dying at this moment , the past few years have brought several health issues that can lead to a sudden end. These same years have also brought me 3 Grandchildren and I love them beyond comprehension. Karl, the joy these children bring is accompanied by the sadness that I may miss those same life events you express. I have told my wife and daughters that I want to live long enough for these children to remember their Papa T. Your letter is incredibly sweet, life affirming, and eternal life assuring. Thank you, Terry Alexander2/28/20
- doug dickensThank you, Karl. If I still lived in Ft Worth, I’d wish for you to be my pastor....and my friend. A friend sent this to me and it touched me deeply. I will pray for you and your family2/28/20
- Caro JacksonOnce again you have taken me to my knees with your words... sort of came at a sensitive time as Ann went home to the Lord.... she was a loose end.... so many things to share but didn’t...your wisdom about life challenges me to try harder to take care of some of those loose ends with others. God bless you.❤️2/28/20
- Becky Wells-St JohnBeautiful and sad. You are in my prayers🙏🏼 You were one of my best bosses. Always patient and kind to me and the wonderful members of Westminster. I bet a lot of them already in heaven. My mom and daddy are there too💜2/28/20
- Diana HartmanBeautifully said, Karl. I will always remember how life changing one particular Lent was for me and your guidance and compassion along the way. Every journey through this season finds me hearing God in a new way and leading me in a new way. God bless you and keep you Diana2/27/20
- Tracie SponsellerKarl, Your "loose ends" was expressed beautifully. Isn't it amazing how much we learn from the Bible and how much strength we gain from our faith? Truly so many blessings on earth to enjoy and be thankful for. Last year Jeff's Mom went to be with the Lord and we were so happy to have her come and live with us during her last few months. When she was close to her time of leaving us, Jeff's brothers arrived and my sister in law Lucy said the rosary bedside. Stella was no longer speaking or moving and was in her last hours. As Lucy was praying out loud, Stella began to move her head back and forth and she raised both hands. It was as if she was reaching out to God. It was so moving to see the Lord hold her hand and accompany her from our earthly side, to His heavenly side. There was so much peace for us knowing that she was not alone and she was with our Lord! I know it was hard for her to leave, and it's so hard on those being left. Stella and you have been given the gift of time for preparation. And that's priceless. Your words and talents and deeds will live on forever and stories will be shared about Dad, Grandpa, Husband, Brother, Friend - Karl. You said it best saying that "if Jesus can finish in incompletion," you can too!! Bless you Karl and it's not over until God says it is! Miracles DO happen!! Love you and Thank you!2/27/20
- Ruth McCreathKarl, May God give you peace in this season of Lent, as we all contemplate about how we will not be around at the end of earthly life to guide and be with those who continue to live on without us, but not without God to guide them. You must know you have helped others in your lifetime as they have also contemplated many issues that were puzzling to solve and you will continue until your body is unable to continue to meet the demands of being on earth.2/27/20
- Renee HokeThese are beautiful words, Karl. I am a huge fan of books about fearless explorers who climb Mount Everest or navigate the Amazon. You are one of those explorers, describing your journey so eloquently and marking the trail for all of us who will follow. I am so grateful for you, my fearless and faithful friend. Your ministry continues with every word you write.2/27/20
- Amanda ChidgeyKarl, your words are beyond beautifully put together as always. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers . God is with you and yours. You all are loved 💕🙏 Love Amanda Chidgey2/27/20
- Flora CaseKarl, It seems that by sharing your deepest thoughts and naming the “loose ends” that form your grieving, you have in concert with the Holy Spirit shared an extraordinary gift which those of us who grieve with you, and struggle within ourselves ultimately must contend. Life is always unfinished - that’s the mystery into which we have all been born. I trust that you may find comfort by being assured that you are God’s faithful companion who has graciously and generously allowed God to live through your life and the gifts through which you have shared God to the fullest. We all will miss out on events and relationships that would likely bring us joy and pain - but we will not miss out on the unconditional love and grace of God that has no end. Love you dearly brother, Ron2/27/20
- Shelly FrankSending our love and best wishes. Shelly & Steve2/27/20
- Celia MitchellWe always want more. Of course! But wow! What a blessing you have been to so many! Please know that your work on this earth will continue long after you are gone and your love will grow in so many. Peace for you Karl. Thanks for sharing. ♥️2/27/20
- Margaret OgetIndeed, Karl, finished is not completed. You long ago finished suggesting my name as the Jones lecturer, But that had led to a relationship with APTS that I could never have imagined, a relationship that is neither finished nor completed. Thank you2/27/20
- Lori A Sproul Karl, I discovered a shared friend at a women's retreat. I was sharing something you taught and used at Grosse Ile Presby. "You are a child of God. Sealed by the Holy Spirit. Marked as Christ's forever. Nothing anyone says or does can make that not true." Terri Bate joined me in saying it. It was something that each of us had learned from you at different times and had brought us together in Christ at that retreat. Karl, you have such a glorious gift of putting words together like no other. My 2 favorite sermons of yours, the Sunday after 9/11 and the one on The Trinity. Aside from sermons, your support and guidance through the personal struggles I experienced while attending GIPC was immeasurable. I pray that you will consider how you might collect your writings and share them. Your messages are a gift to us, to help us to tie up loose ends. In the meantime, I'm glad to have this opportunity to reconnect. You and Jaci remain in my prayers. May God continue to bless you both. Shalom: Peace, until we meet again.2/27/20
- Ewan AitkenKarl - I am in tears at your words. It seems to me you have, despite your understandable deep sadness at what you will not see, been able to see what may of us don’t; what matters in life is what is now, not tomorrow, and is what we share with those we love right now, for that is what will remain once we each become ashes again. I cannot imagine what it is to be where you are now, though you are living in your tough reality with such grace and dignity, but I am forever grateful our paths continue to cross, albeit electrically these days. It is that feeling of love for you and all you have given me which will remain deep in my heart for all the time I continue to walk on this earth. take care brother. Ewan2/27/20
- Peggy MartinThank you for sharing this!!!💝.2/27/20
- Emily PickellThank you for your ministry of writing and sharing.2/27/20
- Melissa WigintonThank you, Karl.2/27/20
- Joyce DavisI’ve been thinking of you lately. I just returned to UPC after 15 years at other churches. Walking around the area reminds me of when our college group would walk down to Les Amis after Bible study back in the late 80s. Deep discussions. And beer. I treasure those memories. And I treasure you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. ❤️2/27/20
- Ronald SalfenKarl, this is nothing short of inspiring. You continue to minister to us all.2/27/20
- Jennie ChaoNo words, but faith that completion as in wholeness is already yours. Praying for you with love2/27/20
- Kyle WalkerI am not in kissing distance of this moment, at least not knowingly, so I hesitate to collaborate here. But what I want to say is that while it is incomplete, it is not left alone. You are not left alone and those loose ends aren’t left alone and all of us somehow in this bizarre shared faith stay together in one brilliant kindom. I don’t know this. I just hope it and feel it and insist on it. You inspire me beyond what you know, Karl. When I get close to my own moment, I want your ability to keep such great perspective. Thank you, friend.2/27/20
- Mark Denton"If Jesus can finish in incompletion, well, I suppose I can, too." Wow. Thanks, Karl.2/27/20
- Dan SykesKarl, your unvarnished - but elegant - sharing is a remarkable gift to all of us. I think there must be a difference between incomplete and not complete. Your ministry is not yet complete but to me it would be a mistake to suggest it is incomplete. You complete it over and over every day and with every post. Thank you.2/27/20
- Ken RichardsonLoved to see you and Jaci at WOW. You are very thoughtful, moving, loved.2/27/20
- Vernon RewKarl, Your writing is more personal and moving than ever. Beautifully written. Your gift will stay with me forever. - Vernon2/27/20
- Jane SykesI am so grateful to God for you. Your message is inspiring and filled with the hope that God is not finished with any of us, yet. I pray that God can embrace my incompleteness. Let this Lenten journey be one of hope, and I look forward to our encounters through the season face to face with Jesus. Blessing and peace, Jane2/27/20
- Trudy WelkeThose were beautiful words! It helped me understand a lot of things I have felt. You are a remarkable man and God will take care of your loved ones. What strength you have and give us! God Bless you❤️ Trudy and Bob2/27/20
- Greg CoulterYou break my heart and offer healing in the same post. You continue to bless us by your presence. No loose ends here. Thanks.2/27/20
- Kay GunnYou continue to lead us and teach us that through adversity we can become closer to God. Your strength and faith show us how. Thank you for continuing to care for us. You are always in our hearts.2/27/20
- Elizabeth LockhartI have such deep gratitude for these words. Thank you2/27/20
- Elizabeth LockhartI have such deep gratitude for these words. Thank you2/27/20
- David HammondKarl, I was just in a discussion with the another friend of yours, Rev. Cathi King, and we were acknowledging the reality that we will all leave our lives here on earth with loose ends - things that we didn't get done - things that we wanted to do to build His Kingdom. Please know that I will always treasure my friendship with you. You made a difference in my life.2/27/20
- Jan DeVriesAlways grateful for your reflections, your honesty, your clarity, and your wisdom. Stay around for a while!2/27/20
- Jacquelyn McCraryKarl, your words continue to inspire me with your faith and wisdom as you honestly grieve over those experiences you will not be able to share with your wife and children. Yes, you have been called to travel this difficult path at a younger age than many, and I am so sad to know that I may never actually see you again. But thank you for continuing to write to us here. You are now a little ahead of the rest of us in this final chapter of life's journey, but those of us who are following you sincerely appreciate your willingness to continue showing us the way forward by sharing your thoughts and feelings honestly. Thank you so much, Karl! God bless you!2/27/20
- Craig BeckerThank you so much for this message, Karl. Your long-standing, unwavering, deeply loving & deeply caring ministry of faith been and continues to be profoundly inspiring. You are dearly loved by so many, and we are so grateful for you. Craig & Angie Becker2/27/20
- Lander BethelI am thankful for the author of this fine piece, and thankful for your willingness to share so vulnerable a thought as these loose ends. May God uphold you, and may you be reminded of the embrace of so many people who care about you and for you.2/26/20
- Judy NelsonKarl, your journal entry boldly addresses your – and Everyman's - mortality with courage and honesty that I rarely see expressed. Thank you for a Lenten message that I read as a love letter to life, your wonderful family, and our God.2/26/20
- Kenneth AndersonI just wanted you to know that we are thinking about you and how munch you meant to us while Shannon was in the hospital and after her death. I often wondered what she was thinking during those 50 days and I am sure it was many of the same things you mentioned. I know you meant a lot to her. We have you and Jaci in our prayers.2/26/20
- Evelyn RichardsonKarl, a friend shared with me this quote by Rabindranath Tagore, "Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” God is not done with you yet but your dawn is now in view. Just really wish there was a way your dawn could still be here. Love and Prayers, All the Richardson's2/26/20
- Charlie JohnsonAs powerful a Lenten meditation as I have ever read. From as powerful a pastor as I have ever known. Thanks be to God for my beloved brother, Karl Travis!2/26/20
- Laura MendenhallWhew, and we haven't finished learning from you, being inspired by you, Karl. Each of your notes on CaringBridge leaves us wanting more. Fortunately, we do remember how you taught us and inspired us to care for and to teach and inspire one another. We will remember. You did finish that lesson. May God's grace accompany you each step of the way. You can trust God's grace to finish whatever you leave undone. Grateful to you, Laura2/26/20
- Sandra DavisKarl, Your beautiful, heartfelt words sadden me as I am jolted again to the realization that your life is going to be cut short. Your life on this earth and your vocation has greatly impacted and inspired so many. God bless you, Jaci, and the rest of your family. You are always in my prayers. Sandra D2/26/20
- Bill and Becky JordanThe light from the path that you have carved will provide the way for generations! The Lord has blessed us by bringing us along your way. Love Becky and Bill and our family2/26/20
- Dewey BryantTravis, as I use to call you in High School, I cannot express how wonderful your words are as well as how wonderful a guy you are! I will never forget that comment in FCA that you made of what you do after you make a great hard tackle - you said that you help pick that guy up and say “God Bless You”! LOVE YA MAN!2/26/20
- Harry SpringWow. Thanks. Love you Karl. Powerful.2/26/20
- Gordon & Brenda VanAmburghWe love your pearls of wisdom learned through years of grief and pain - and yes, grace. We love you!2/26/20
- Jody BueningI hardly know where to begin, but I will always cherish our meeting on Friday. The thing that makes this so hard is that our loose ends are all wound up together. We are going to miss you during all those times. For a minute I forgot how old I am. I won't be around either. These years have been special. I am so blessed to have been a part of your story. My prayers and love for you, sweet Jaci. and your family. Jody2/26/20
- june sprottYour writings mean so much to me and my family. We print them out and keep them for re-reading and sharing. Thanks for letting us into your thoughts.2/26/20
- Daniel KleinThis is the perfect Ash Wednesday message Karl. We hurt with you as you move uncertainly toward what seems to be a certain finish line. Thank you for being such a good friend. Missing you will be difficult, but you have made our journey better with your amazing words. I pray it has helped your own journey as well. God Bless.2/26/20
- Patty JenkinsKarl, I think this is the first time I've heard you talk directly about your own death. I'm so sad that you and your family must face this much-too-soon loss. Not having seen you (in person) in decades, I only remember you as young and joyous and truthful. What you wrote made me think of my Dad as he lay dying three years ago this Friday. At 93 he still yearned for more life. As much as he missed my Mom who had died five years earlier, and as frustrated as he was by his physical limitations, he yearned for more life. For him, 93 years was almost not enough. Was he incomplete? Did he leave loose ends? Any more or less than a man 40 years younger than him? I don't know. But I pray for your peace among the pieces.2/26/20
- Joanne leslieKarl I have admired you and loved you for many years. Jaci I have loved and admired you for many years. You are both such an inspiration to me and many more. You handle this with courage and strength in so many ways.2/26/20
- Lenda RichardsI love you. Love your wisdom, love your faith, love your intelligence, love your writing, love your love of people, love your love of communicating, love your love of life. You have tied up more loose ends than most people even notice in their lives. I’m so grateful to know and love you. Lenda2/26/20
- Martha CunninghamYour line, “God will see to it” means so much to me. Thanks as always for giving your limited strength to writing and sharing. Hope this Lenten season is a great journey for you and your family.2/26/20
- Susan HurstPeace and hugs from us both, Sue and Matt2/26/20
- Nancy PineI don't know what to say. My heart is so heavy with the thought of a world without you in it. You have been such an important part of the lives of me and my family. We are all better people having had you in our lives. You still have so much to share with the world. I love you Karl...thank you for sharing your life with us.2/26/20
- Jeffrey KeenerKarl, your amazing words made it to New England. Annette and I think of you and Jaci often.2/26/20
- Linda NorthernKarl, you never fail to amaze me. I hurt alongside you, and I trust our God, who is only love, alongside you too. I’m so glad you said all these things. Your sorrow, and your hope. Your words have encouraged me in a way I can’t even explain. You have always found a way to minister wherever you have been on this journey. I’m boundlessly grateful for you and Jaci. What examples you are for me! I don’t know, but I imagine that on the other side those loose ends will be beautifully completed in Christ. Sending you lots of love and light, Linda ❤️2/26/20
- Charlie EklundGod bless you and your family, Pastor. You are in our prayers. Please pray for us as well.2/26/20
- mary robertoKarl, this is just too meaningful for words. I wonder if we ever realize all the loose ends. When one is completed, more arise. Perhaps there is one God wants us to complete and he gives us time to find it. Praying that God gives you peace.2/26/20
- Susan ErvastiKarl, you impacted our lives in a positive way. We enjoyed your sermons and we enjoyed you. Goodbye, our friend. One loose end tied up. Love from Bill and me.2/26/20
- Betty ElliottI pray The Lutkin Benediction for you with love2/26/20
- Bob ChocholaKarl, Know that you are loved by many people. Know also how many amazing and wonderful lives you have made better by one simple kind act, in one very brief and seemingly insignificant moment in time, that changed the trajectory of my life forever. I’m pretty sure none of us is ever “complete” until we are present with the Lord and that means, in my humble opinion, that we all leave things behind that are incomplete. We bounce off one another like atoms and we form this unexplainable, undeniable bond and then, like the wind, we are gone. When I was nine years old, it seemed like forever between the celebration of light and life at Christmas and the reality of death on Good Friday. Now I’m fifty-nine. Those months go by in a blink. I realize now that the only thing that will complete me is what we celebrate after that blink of time is over - Easter. Finish well. No regrets. Let go. His Love Endures Forever. Peace.2/26/20
- Steve ChristianKarl, could being finished mean a period before the next sentence, or the last step before a new journey? I pray that in God’s love our story is never, and at the same time, always complete. ❤️🙏🏼❤️ Thanks be to God for the part of your story we are being blessed to know, dear friend.2/26/20
- Jon NuelleNor will our friendship be finished at the time of your leaving. That is a matter of faith, of course. And hope. You will be incredibly missed here, on that day and long after.2/26/20
- Lesley McCoyI have no words...just lots of love for you Jaci and the kids2/26/20
- Barb KenleyKarl, thank you for what you have written here. It is as elegant as it is true. Our paths crossed ten years ago at CREDO 20; we were in the same small group. And I thought how lucky The Church was to have you . As I have followed your journey through love and pain and loss, I still think that. Whether we have received a little of your care or a lot, we are all blessed to have known you. I will selfishly ask you to keep writing here as long as you can, for it helps me talk to God. Thank you for being you.2/26/20
- Mary SalazarWith you both in spirit heart to heart, profoundly true love has no loose ends. “It is what it is” my friend” ❤️❤️ I love you both. God bless you.2/26/20
- Mary SalazarWith you both in spirit heart to heart, profoundly true love has no loose ends. “It is what it is” my friend” ❤️❤️ I love you both. God bless you.2/26/20
- Archer friersonKarl, Thank you for that wonderful message, obviously written with utter honesty. You are a living inspiration to more folks than you can imagine, and your inspiration will live on. I cherish our brief, yet meaningful time together on the board of Austin Seminary, especially "Night Ministries" back at the hotel lobby! Know that you leave a lasting legacy at the Seminary, and from what I can gather in reading all of the comments from your friends and parishioners, on a much broader spectrum of people, whose love for you is palpable. In some ways, even facing the reality you do, I believe you're a lucky guy, and I can tell you believe that, too. God bless you. Your friend, Archer2/26/20
- Leticia SalazarThank you for your beautiful words and for the humility and faithfulness you inspire. We continue to pray for you and Jaci and your family with so much love.2/26/20
- Claudia DuffAs always - I'm so blessed by your words. Thank you for your continued ministry even through your painful journey. I lovingly pray for your comfort and peace.2/26/20
- Bob DunhamGrateful for this collage of pathos, grief, and faith, Karl. Love you, brother.2/26/20
- Beth ThompsonHere you are, ministering to us. I thank God I know you. Love to you, my brother in Christ.2/26/20
- Sheryl TaylorBeautiful, honest, and poignant. Prayers for Lent and far beyond. Rest in the love that will not let you go.2/26/20
- Mary Margaret FloydTBTG that God is not finished with you—-and I dare say never will be!! I am so grateful for your ability to be vulnerable and to share such vulnerability—-and love and wisdom. I can literally so clearly recall the Sunday you told us how hard your procedures had been but that ( as you spoke leaning forward) ‘I now know I am not afraid to die.’ Personally (again) I can’t imagine life without me! I don’t know what that means!!! :)). I know this: sitting in the choir loft I am always so happy to see you sitting in the sanctuary. Keep on keeping on—-and keep on writing as you do!!! Love and Peace, MM2/26/20
- Karen AndersonI have no words, Karl. But I am, as always humbled and inspired by yours. Much love to you and Jaci through this journey.2/26/20
- Lauren DavilaKarl, Your words are truly moving. Please know how much you mean to Fidel and me. Working alongside you at the Habitat House many years ago helped confirm that First Pres was the church family I needed. Having you marry us was very meaningful. Having you baptize Henry was equally as meaningful. We cherish both memories. You mean so much to us. Thank you for sharing and guiding us always! Giving us your amazing insight and sharing your faith and love is a blessing! Lauren & Fidel2/26/20
- Drew TravisKarl, this is quite lovely. You write honestly and well what your heart feels. No doubt there will be loose ends -- you are right about that and I hurt with you over those experiences you will not have, over those things left undone. Yet, I am also grateful that you have tied up so many loose ends in the faithful living of your life and have helped so many others do the same. Grateful indeed. Love you, brother.2/26/20
- SarahLee MorrisAll love to you, Karl. No loose ends on the love.2/26/20
- Wendy MetzgerSo powerful - thank you for sharing. All of our love and prayers to you, Jaci and the kids.2/26/20
- connie crymesKarl, Thank you for being such wonderful man of God. Jaci and you mean so much to the boys and I. I will be there to see you soon, I am back in Texas. Love you both so much.2/26/20
- Efton ParkI am going to miss you terribly, my friend, not the least because of writing like this.2/26/20
- Allen MosimanBlessing on you, this Ash Wednesday, and through this season of Lent.2/26/20
- Jacque MorseThank you for sharing this beautiful, sad and moving piece. Thank you for all you do and say to help us learn and grow in our faith. You are in my prayers.2/26/20
- Larry PeplinskiNever have I read or felt a part of what I have just read right now, from Karl's Lenten reflection. And I have read a ton of them from so many of the Saints over the decades. Only someone with the insight that Karl now has can bring us the truth like this. I am, and continue to be, truly amazed and blessed by this awesome man of God. My prayers always to you and yours Sir.2/26/20
- Charlotte DelapenaSo beautifully expressed2/26/20
- D KNo words. Blessings on you, my brother. Dedie2/26/20
- james JonesBlessings always Karl2/26/20
- H.M. EvansThank you for this brother.2/26/20