I begin anew

This coming Sunday marks three years since my brother died. Three years. Has it really been three years? It feel like yesterday but yesterday in another lifetime, a parallel universe. Sean’s death was like a brick being pulled from the wall of my life, like a life-sized Jenga piece being removed. It took a while to see what would fall down and what would remain, and it’s taken a while for the ruinous places to be cleared of the rubble and rebuilt.

Often I haven’t felt like myself in this time. I’ve felt like a shell of who I was. Of course there’s been growth and development too, but much of my inner life was spent trying to find my way back to who I was before Sean died. Healing comes in waves. Restoration is like the ocean tide, sometimes surging forward, and sometimes retreating.

Some friends helped me along in the process, while some friends injured me further with well-meaning but misguided counsel. It’s taken a while to forgive those who added to my pain.

I haven’t written much in the last three years. I didn’t feel the freedom to express myself. I felt constrained by the watching eyes, by my public image. I had a hard time formulating the words to express myself for fear of being misunderstood. But I’m not afraid anymore, nor do I feel constrained.

This year since leaving Jews for Jesus and returning to software engineering has felt like a true sabbatical. A rest for my soul. After Sean died I took 3 months off work, but that wasn’t a sabbatical, that was recovery. I needed that time just to become functional again. This year has been a sabbatical: a time to let the ground go fallow, a time to wait on the Lord, a time to stop talking and just listen, a time to experience God’s love and restoration.

I now find myself looking expectantly to the future with a sense that my time of rest is coming to an end and that God has more in store for me to do. Don’t get me wrong: I feel I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be: at Amazon, in San Francisco. But I feel God has MORE for me. I don’t know what it looks like or what shape it will take. But I know that nothing is wasted in this life.

I also know that my time of silence must come to an end, and so, I begin anew.


  1. rremigio

    Well the silence has been deafening! Glad to hear it’s over.

  2. Absolutely raw and beautiful. I’m a fan of your writing. Keep on sharing, please.

  3. Thanks, Aaron, for sharing these feelings and thoughts. I’m glad you are able to feel so deeply about Sean. What did Paul Simon write? “If I never loved I never would have cried.” May God continue to heal and lead you in the days ahead.

  4. Tirzah Smith

    Welcome back. I missed you.

  5. WT

    Beautifully written. I appreciate your rawness and your transparency. Go ahead, Aaron, you are a mighty man and whatever you do, I believe, will have impact. (In my opinion, you make a difference by just walking into room!)

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