DJ Gorena

Life as I see it

A Weight Lifted

It was Friday, July 15, 2016, that my family and I went out into the Gulf of Mexico and released my twin sister’s ashes. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the dolphins and porpoises were jumping and frolicking around the boat that we rented. The water was clear and the waves were somewhat calm.

For two years now, I have had my twin’s ashes on my mantle in my living room. I know what we discussed about her cremanes and what she wanted me to do with them. We discussed where she wanted her cremanes to be spread. I know that she always loved London. She had traveled there several times in her life. She loved the idea of being in Europe. But then, on that particular day that we discussed this matter, my Denise simply said, “I want to be on a beach somewhere.” There was no better place in my estimation and in the thinking of my family but to take her home to the Rio Grande Valley. We went to South Padre Island where my family and I would spend many weekends and days during the summer.

I remember the days we would be at the beach as a family. My Dad would take Denise out to the first, the second and even as far as the third sand bar. She loved it out there. He would hold on to her tightly and she was with her Dad bobbing up and down with each wave that was heading to shore. I on the other hand was afraid to go very far. Later as a teenager, my Denise and I would go to the beach now and then together and I would go out that far with her. It was if I was gaining courage from her. I wanted to be out there because she was out there. I have seen pictures of her on various beaches throughout her life. She loved the sun, sand, and water.

It was so hard to release her ashes, quite honestly. It bothered me that we were having to do this. But I know deep down inside that I had to fulfill what it is that she wanted. Denise wanted to be at the beach. My brother Richard and I rented a boat to go out in the Gulf. The captain of the boat turned off the motor after we had gone out about a mile from shore and we were floating. He asked, “Is this far enough for you and your family?” We all said, “Yes.” The captain and his crew walked to the front of the boat and let my family and me take care of my Denise’s ashes. I opened the urn and began to pour out the ashes on the water. It was surreal to me. I could not believe what we were doing. We were saying “goodbye.” We were releasing her once and for all. Her ashes floated on the water and spread out with each wave. It was if she was leaving. Now I know that she left us June 27, 2014, but this was different. She was leaving one last time.

After the ashes were released, my family was still and quiet. We just sat there. Then I said, “I am not sure what to say.” My older brother, David, recited the words to the hymn “Amazing Grace” and then he prayed. We sat there for a few more minutes and released a white dove that my Mom had purchased for this event. Of course, being out in the Gulf, the dove did not fly away. Rather, she flew to the front of the boat and waited for us to dock so she could be on the land. We of course laughed at this turn of events and it seemed to lighten what we were doing.

Now that I have been able to process and think through what we did on July 15, 2016, I am relieved. I believe that my Denise would be very satisfied and glad we did what we did in the way we did it. I think she would have loved that we rented the boat and went out into the Gulf and released her. It was a good day. It was a weight off my shoulders.

I love you, Denise, and miss you so much. I’ll see you later!

 

Independence Day

Today is July 4th, a day that we celebrate here in the United States as the day we won our independence from England. As I read earlier on Facebook, it is our “Brexit” that took place 240 years ago! It is a day filled with family, food, fireworks, and fun. It is a day that we as Americans love not just because we have the day off from work, but because we have enjoyed our freedom for many, many years.

But this freedom that we have enjoyed is being eroded on a daily basis by those who have been elected to serve “We the people” in Washington, D.C. The laws that are being passed from what I believe is now a one-party system (both Democrats and Republicans seem to be on the exact same page for the most part) is taking freedom after freedom away. And our society, as difficult as it may be, seems to be falling in line with what the corrupt politicians are doing. Christians are waking up–or so it seems–but I think that it is too late. We as Christians are losing our freedoms at a high rate of speed.

So what can we do about all of this? How can we truly have our independence and freedoms once again? The answer lies in only One: Jesus Christ. Even though the governing authorities over us, which have been established by God Himself (Romans 13), even though we may lose our tax-exempt status as churches, and even though we may not be able to say “no” to selling cakes or doing business with others with whom we disagree, and even though it seems that Islam is on the rise here in America and around the world, the truth is that we have independence from all of the world. We may face trials, tribulations, and persecution, but it is a fulfillment of what Jesus Christ said that we would face because of His name (Matthew 5:11; John 15:21). There is freedom in seeing His Word fulfilled in our lives, no matter what the circumstances might be.

Read what else Peter the apostle writes:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of your suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1 Peter 4:12-16)

Did you see it? If we suffer because of Jesus’ name, then we bring glory to God. Beloved, there is freedom in serving the God of our salvation no matter what might come our way. Yes, the world will hate us because we are no longer of the world although we are in the world. We belong to Jesus Christ if we know Him as our Lord and Savior. We His children and He sees and knows what we are going through or what we will go through because of this world. But He is still in control of all things as the Sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords.

There is freedom in the Son. Let’s today celebrate not only the freedoms we currently enjoy in our Country, but let’s enjoy the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. Let’s express this freedom to those around us knowing that those who are of the world are held in bondage to sin and need the freedom that only comes by, in, and through Jesus Christ!

Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” … “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain int he house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32; 34-36)

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July 16, 2016

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My twin, Denise Fiama Gorena – click on her picture to watch a video displaying Denise’s life!

On July 16, 2016, I am going to take care of one of the hardest things that I have ever had to take care of. My family and I will be in the Rio Grande Valley to take my twin sister’s ashes and spread them on South Padre Island. My Denise wanted me to take her to a beach one last time. She loved the ocean. She loved to travel. She loved her family. She loved swimming in the Gulf. I remember that she would be stuck to my dad as he went as far as the third sand bar with her. She loved to be in the sun. She loved to collect sea shells. She loved to walk in the sand. She loved to be with friends. She loved to eat good food. She loved Dr. Pepper. She loved the Baylor Bears. She loved life.

Now, more than ever before, she is living life beyond anything that we can even imagine. She is in Heaven with Jesus Christ before Him with all the saints that have gone before. She is there enjoying every color imaginable, every facet of “the way, the truth, and the life.”

Although I miss her dearly, I know that this is something that I have to do. My family and I are not necessarily looking forward to July 16, 2016, but we know that we will be together again with Denise in Heaven because we all have trusted Jesus Christ unto salvation. His promise of eternal life together with Him and with all the saints who have gone before is something we hold to by faith. And although this may be tough, we know that Denise would have wanted us to be together for this time. I know that she would want us to be together.

When she was at home for the last month of her life and my parents and brothers and sister were all in her house, I would look over at her and I would see her grinning. She would be quietly listening to all the conversations (the Gorenas all know how to be a part of different conversations all at the same time). She would be grinning because she was seeing and hearing what she longed for: she wanted “the family” to be together again. She brought us all back together even in her illness. She strived to bring people together. She did a good job of it as well.

Do I wish we would have been together under different circumstances? Why sure I do! But it was not meant to be under any other circumstance. We were there because we believe that God allowed us to be there together with my Denise. It was so hard to see my twin sister in that state, but it was well worth the time that we were all able to spend with her. Each of us had our times alone with her and spoke with her and she with us. Then, when the pain was so hard on her little body and she was heavily sedated, we still had our individual times with her. Shedding tears, laughing, and just talking to her, loving her, and hoping the best for her. And even though we wanted her to stay with us, she is experiencing the best for her…for any of us! She is enjoying life like never before! In Heaven! With Jesus! With the saints!

I miss my twin sister. I’m having a hard time thinking about spreading her ashes. She has been with me all my life but it is time for me to let her go. It is time for us to let her go. She has already gone.

So where do we go from there? We live life. We love life. We love to be with family and friends. We love as Jesus Christ loves Denise and the way she loves Him. We go forward looking for the eternal living hope that we have in Jesus Christ. We will see her again. Her ashes are merely a remnant of who she was. She is glorified now! She is brighter than the sun! She is singing! She is dancing! She is praising! She is before her Lord and Savior! She is alive! She is living life! She is speaking with the saints! She is playing her flute! She is never sick! She never sheds a tear! She is never in any kind of pain!

She loves life!

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