The time of day is irrelevant, but the moment is forever fixed in your memory. That was the moment your phone rang, and the voice on the other end gravely uttered, “I’m sorry, we have done all we can. Your loved one has died.”
That is a horrible call if your loved one is a beloved parent, but it is exponentially more horrific when that loved one is your child.
Tim Challies received that dreaded phone call in the fall of 2020. His only beloved son suddenly collapsed and died while playing ball with his sister, fiancé, and friends. Nick was twenty years old and studying to become a pastor.
That was the beginning of Tim’s Seasons of Sorrow.
A heavy darkness creeping in and settling around me, dulling my senses, trapping me in shadow. Though my eyes may have remained clear, my mind has not. My heart has not. Everything is muffled and distorted. Things that should be easy are difficult. My memory is full of holes. I’ve lost the ability to make decisions. I’m lost, I’m confused, I’m discombobulated, I’m so very weary.
In this dim fog, I still don’t fully believe that Nick is gone. I don’t trust myself to believe it. Even though I am the one who wrote his obituary, I find myself reading it again and again to ensure that it’s all true. I’ve gone so far as to pinch myself, to ask Aileen to assure me I am awake. What if I nodded off and this is all just an awful dream? What if I’ve fallen sick and this is some feverish nightmare? What if I mistakenly popped the wrong pill and am now hallucinating? Aren’t those scenarios more likely than a young man just falling down dead? I tap Nick’s name into my computer and find a news story: “Heartbroken Boyce College Students Mourn the Abrupt Death of Nick Challies.”
So it is true. But somehow it still wouldn’t shock me if my phone rang and I saw his name on the display and heard his voice. I’m hovering in this place between belief and disbelief, between certainty and doubt. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to feel.
Tim joined me to break bread and discuss his seasons of sorrow in his first interview since the loss of Nick. We hope that you will be blessed and encouraged.
Thank you to Tim Challies. Your blogging and new book are the most raw, honest, and theologically sound treatment of sorrow that we have ever read.
We have cried with you, and we have learned much from you. Thank you for your willingness to be transparent and help us all cope with our own seasons of sorrow.