August 3, 2013 Update

Dad in Kiev

Dad in Kiev

A few house-keeping things first.

1) Comments – to keep down blog-spam, we disable the ability to *make* or add comments after a post has been up a week. After that, you can read comments, but not make any. There are some technical features we can add that might help that, but for now, that is where things stand.

When the ability to make comments “auto-magically” stops, then they appear to disappear from the post entirely, since they don’t show up in the same place as before. But they are not gone, you can still read them, and here’s how.

Simply click on the title of any post. This will open up that particular post alone. At the bottom of the page/post, you’ll see the comments that have been left.

2) I’ll try to be a bit more regular making posts. I needed a break, and life kind of got away from us – you know, all the things that happen in summer. We had all of Lisa’s family in town for several weeks, and visited relatives. Trying to catch back up with work was, and is, still an issue. But I’ll do my best to at least note what’s happening and let you know where we are.

It has been a pretty busy few weeks.

We have been trying to get some answers about a few things that require local law enforcement to run down some details. It has taken quite a while to get that in order, but hopefully we’ll know more soon. The details may well not give us any meaningful answers to the question of what occurred with Dad’s disappearance, but we won’t know until we check.

I’ve had contact with several people in Kiev – there have been continued false-positive sightings. They run down all the tips we get, but they always seem turn out to be incorrect identifications.

We have been told the Kiev police are/were going to search the park again, with dogs.  I’m never sure what to think about this. On one hand, I’m glad to hear about continued effort to find Dad. On the other, I wonder how he could have been missed in the park, given the repeated and very, very through searches that have already occurred. I guess we’ll just see what it brings, if it happens.

Mom has really enjoyed the many kind thoughts many of you have sent. She especially has enjoyed some of the bible promises and encouraging quotes from books and the like.

I’ve talked to her nearly every day since Dad went missing – often more than once each day. And in those conversations she has expressed many of the emotions and feelings you’d expect.

“Why” is the one question that always comes up.

Mom worries that she won’t be able to do all the things that Dad did, and that if he never comes back she will be hopelessly lost.

Sometimes she feels that God hasn’t watched over Dad so well. And I can’t say that I can find any real fault in feeling that way. I think most all of us would have wished God had intervened more and this whole saga could have been avoided. It’s just tough stuff to work through.

I know that in my own life, I always want to know “why?” It seems that knowing why would make things easier to understand, easier to live with, or perhaps show the “justice” of the situation. [Or perhaps give me license to feel unfairly wronged, because it was unjust.]

But I have found that often [at least in my own life], even when I do know the why, it isn’t really as comforting as I thought. It doesn’t really make me feel a lot better than I did before I knew the “why.” That still doesn’t stop me from wanting to know “why” though. It’s a very hard thing to give up.

Mom is simply working through each day, each hour, sometimes, each minute just one after the other.

A few weeks ago, we were chatting and Mom said, “I just tell myself, I can get through the next five minutes.” One part of me was sad to see my Mom so full of grief, so fearful, so anxious. But the other part of me wanted to cheer. I wanted her to know I was so very proud of her courage to stand up and just work to get through the next five minutes, and then the five minutes after that. The world needs to know, my Mom’s stronger than she thought, she is doing an awesome job in really tough times. She is impressive.

But part of the strength to go through these tough times comes from living through them with people who love you, who care about you deeply and who walk with you.

So, if you would, continue to offer her your ears a lot. Offer her your care and concern. She might need advice, but she, like all of us, generally takes advice a lot better when it’s asked for.  [A friend of mine once said: “If they haven’t asked the question yet, they aren’t ready to hear the answer.” And there are no truer words. Even the best, most perfect answer is worse than saying nothing until the hearer is ready to hear it – and asks your advice.]

I’ll just say it once more: I think many of you think Dad is the one who is the strong one, the one with the answers and good ideas, the connection to God. But while Mom is certainly different than Dad, she continues to show incredible strength and connection to God. She’s amazing!

Using the example of Fred Rogers to Tim Madigan:

“Mom, IPOY!”

So, I’ve wondered what story to tell next…

Dad eschewed lazy days. Hikes needed to be epic. [Well, perhaps not the Rick Sloop kind of epic, but those kinds of trips make “epic” look like a day at the beach…]

One time we; just Dad, Mom and I [Rick and Randy must have been elsewhere] took a few days and went to the Olympic Rain forest. One of those days Dad decided that we ought to do a hike.

When we (mom and I) inquired about the hike, we got an explanation like “Lets do hurricane ridge.” Well, that name doesn’t mean anything to me, or Mom – though the “hurricane” in the name probably couldn’t have indicated a great experience in the works.

We tried to pry more information from Dad about the hike, and honestly, I recall him saying that the hike wasn’t too bad, since it went up a little and then down some. “It’s mostly down.”  I think he said.

I know all things are relative, but I wasn’t expecting what we got.

To start, the hike Dad wanted to do was not a loop. He needed to get us to one end of the trail and the vehicle to the other. Dad has done this several times over the years since, but I think this was the first time – so I don’t recall if he dropped us off, drove the vehicle to the other end, and hitch-hiked back – or if he got someone to drive it to the other end. I think he hitch-hiked back while we waited.

Auspicious start isn’t it? Hurricane Ridge, and hitch-hiking to the trail-head to meet your family you left behind. [What, Dad doesn’t strike you as the long-haired hippie hitch-hiker kind of guy either!?]

The hike started out reasonably well. It started climbing quite a bit, but not too long, or too steep. But it was quite a trip to the top of the ridge.

We saw mountain sheep [goats] and lots of very pretty scenery. It was an incredible day in the Olympic forest – blue sky, just nicely warm, and not a drop of rain. And we were, mostly, enjoying it.

We must have stopped and eaten lunch, but I don’t recall that – I recall the last two-thirds of the hike most vividly.

Yes, it was mostly down. And down, and down and down. Have I mentioned steep yet? And down?

We kept hiking and hiking. Mom and I were spent. Our legs felt like jelly – or at least mine did – I suspect if mine felt that way, Mom’s must have been an order of magnitude worse. Switchback after switchback we’d run/stagger/flippy-flop along and then try to stop before you ran off the trail. The legs kept getting more and more floppy and we were staggering like drunks. I don’t think we complained much, we were simply too exhausted.

It was getting later and later too.  If I recall correctly, it must have been mid-morning when we started, and it was after sunset when we finally got out; we reached the motor-home just before you wouldn’t be able to see your own feet in the dark.

Mom barely made it up the steps into the motor-home we had then. I recall being just as bushed too. Did I say anything about epic yet?

I asked Mom about it a few weekends ago, and she said her legs hurt so much that, a few days later, she was going up some stairs so slowly and awkwardly that her friends thought she had suffered some severe injury! She says her legs hurt so badly for days afterward that she could hardly walk.

This was not an atypical Jay Sloop outing. He’d take on as much as he possibly could, and was so eager about the experience he’d do practically anything to get you to go along. Sometimes, that would work out well and other times not so well. [Well usually *he* did fine, but the complaints and reticence to go again from his friends and family didn’t always work out the way he wanted.]

As I’ve said before, he loved being out in nature. Hiking, climbing mountains, back-packing, skiing, riding his bike – these were the things he loved. And he so wanted to encourage others to do it too. He’d invite anyone who showed the slightest interest; friends who visited for a meal with us, acquaintances from Church, just anyone who was even marginally inclined. He was certain that if you gave it a chance, you’d like it just as much as he did. And if there was a flaw in his thinking, that was it – being sure that you’d like it just as much as he did. It was, it seemed, unimaginable that you wouldn’t be as excited, as he, to do it all again the next chance you got. He clearly thought, “What better way to enjoy the out-of-doors except by exercising at the same time?”

I was rather astonished to hear him relate how a patient once told him they’d been out “exercising” by snowmobiling. He inquired why they thought it was aerobic exercise, and they said because their muscles were sore from their jaunt on the snowmobiles.

Dad’s response?! [You can just hear it coming, can’t you!?]
He said that someone could beat you with a stick and your muscles would be sore, but that wouldn’t make it aerobic exercise. [Did I mention that he wasn’t always the most tactful or the softest touch when he felt strongly about something?]

Every time I think of this exchange, I both cringe and chuckle. It’s such a “rough” way of explaining things – but it was his way of getting his point across – and he intended well in his advice. He certainly lived his life in a way that was consistent with what he recommended for his patients and family.

As I think of what Dad wanted to impart to everyone – it was a balanced lifestyle. He wanted people to have a full spiritual life; a relationship with their God. He wanted them to have physical health;– exercise, and good diet. He wanted them to have emotional health; less stress, and fulfilling relationships with their families. This was what he was hoping to establish with all his health work – healthy spiritual, mental, and physical people – people who would lead fuller, more meaningful and more complete lives.


7 thoughts on “August 3, 2013 Update

  1. Mick and Nancy Dunnewin

    We have not stopped praying for your dad, Dr. Sloop and will continue to pray. I went to Milo Academy and J. Randall Sloop, your grandfather, was my principle back in 1965. We pray that this mystery will be resolved soon. It sure doesn’t make any sense why this happened, but please keep up your courage. The Lord must have a purpose for all of this. Romans 8:28
    God’s Blessings

  2. Joyce (Hill) Watterud

    Dear Sharlene, Rick, Randy, Greg and families…..
    I just want you to know that I think of Jay every day, and continue to pray for his safe return. Jay is an incredible man (I still refuse to think in the “past tense”) with such a kind heart and Christian spirit. If a non-believer ever wanted to know what Christ was/is like, Jay Sloop is the man I would point to as an example. First and foremost, a disciple for Christ. I feel blessed to have crossed paths with Jay in my own spiritual walk and, whatever the eventual outcome, I will never forget the impact he had on me. May God continue to bless you all, and hold you in the safety of His arms each day……

  3. Ruth MacKenzie

    I truly miss your dad’s earnest prayers during the intercessory prayer time each Sabbath morning. They were an inspiration to me. We also continue to pray for a miracle. But as I think about it the miracle may be an answer to your dad’s prayers. Maybe his disappearance and all the prayers will cause many people to commit themselves to God and be saved. I continue to pray for strength and assurance for Sharlene and the rest of the family.
    Love & Prayers

  4. Paula Cobleigh

    I continue to pray for your father and all of your family. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for all of you. Thank you once again for sharing these stories. I don’t know your mother, but if there is anything I can ever do, I would be more than happy to lend a hand.

  5. lorna jerome

    Praying for you and your family. Hoping that you will find your father soon.

  6. Steve and Cindy

    Dear Sloop Family:

    Friday night is the time that I’m sure your hearts ache the most with the loneliness. I am thinking and praying for you tonight, as I do everyday – it is part of my routine. I’m sure the pain is not getting any dimmer, even though you are getting used to dealing with getting through the next 5 minutes.

    I just wanted to share something that happened one day when I was sitting in Jay’s office waiting room. It was a full-house and the wait did seem to be a bit longer than usual. One lady kept fidgeting and finally she said “this is the first time I ever seen Dr. Sloop and my appointment was supposed to be 45 minutes ago – does he always run this late?” It was dead silent for a minute and then one lady spoke up and said “I just want you to know that when he walks into your room, it will be worth every minute of the wait because he is going to treat you just like you were the only patient he had to see all day.” She went on to explain that this was exactly how she was treated the day he had to break the news that her biopsy was positive. He acted like he had all the time in the world to answer every question in detail and explain every cancer treatment option available and she said that she would never forget his kindness. Then another lady spoke up and told us how much time he had taken during office visits to support both she and her teenage daughter through unplanned pregnancy and that she would be eternally grateful for the unconditional acceptance and compassion he had given them. During my second pregnancy, when my parents were going through a brutally bitter divorce, I had the chance to experience what it was like to have him listen to me through my tears and give me wonderful, fatherly Christian advice for how to respond to what I was going through. Once when he was running late, he walked into the exam room and sincerely apologized for the length of time I had waited and then said “I’ve just had so many patients today with spiritual problems!”

    I will never stop thanking God for the ministry of Jay Sloop!

    Cindy Walikonis

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