when the rollercoaster tips downward …

photo credit here

can we have  an honest moment?

can i be real, even if it’s not pretty?

because this week is hard.  soul-deep hard.  on-my-face hard.

i remember being ten years old, gangly-kneed, wide-eyed, and fearless.  chasing the shadow of my older brother, doing double-dares and determined to show him i wasn’t just some scaredy little girl. 

on a family vacation, i distinctly remember one monster of a rollercoaster — a towering metal Goliath that was too, too big for my tiny frame.  but — hard-headed as i was am, i insisted.  and i’ll never forget the moment, when buckles were strapped and movement began and bravado was replaced by sickly sweet nausea, when i began to hear the clicking.

click.  click.  click.

the roller coaster gaining altitude and announcing each movement skyward, away from solid ground, with a harrowing click of metal and chain.

soon: summit — and the view.  a glimpse of magnificent height  stolen only for a moment  before the nose of the beast tipped down, spiraling all who were buckled there into   terrorizing fear.

these past few weeks — they’ve been a little like that.

as i worked to help prepare for the Banebow 5k  and as i pursued another opportunity to go spread the word about Banebow’s mission to a group of fellow bloggers,  in the quiet  of the bedtime hour, when the door closed on a long day, instead of silence and rest,  i heard the sound of clicking.

click.  click.  click.

slowly inching us — all of us who have been tethered together by this tragedy — toward the precipice of a painful milestone.

and on Sunday, when the balloon-arched beauty of  Bane’s Birthday 5k  had come to an end, when a flight deposited me back to a home that is hundreds of miles from my soul-friend, i felt  the same sickly sweet nausea, the same gravitational gut-punch, as i had on that rollercoaster two decades ago.

can i say it out loud?  that we are not okay.

that if you come to this space looking only for talk of God’s goodness amidst warm fuzzy feelings of praise … i must leave you disappointed, with this post.

can i say it plain?  that the symbol of a rainbow — a Banebow — is so God-intended and fitting for us.

because when the rainbow was placed in the sky as a sign of the covenant between the God of creation and Noah, it wasn’t a gift wrapped in pretty.

in fact, its magnificence was highlighted by the darkness around it —  a world that had been laid to waste by darkness and sin … a flood that overwhelmed all, and ark-floating days of future unknown.

and that’s where we sit right now … if we’re being honest.  in talking and long-distance weeping with Sonya yesterday, i found a woman whose faith was not shaken — but a woman who was shaking, nonetheless.

because he’s gone.  and though  Banebow  is being used by God to do amazing things, this ministry comes at a steep price.  and some days, the cost must be carried, and our hearts bust wide with the pain of a loss that still feels fresh.  and on those days, when we cannot weep poetry, only pain, we cling to the one thing that we have:  hope.

and that hope was given to us by One who truly knows suffering  —  it flashes across our minds, an arc of color  that promises that  this world of suffering is not all.

we had planned on a new series this week, but we also believe it is true that  out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks … so we’re taking a couple of extra days to bind our wounds with God’s word and fix our eyes on the Savior before spilling words here.

tomorrow, i’ll post a recap of the fabulous Banebow 5k — a day of  sweat and sweet fellowship, of celebrating with many of you who are so dear to our hearts.

and Saturday, one week exactly from his sweet birthday, we’ll begin a series where we discuss  God’s real gift, offered to each of us.

until then, would you pray, friends?  there is a sorrow that is rightful and true — but there is also a despair that the Enemy would love nothing more than to plunge us all into.   

would you pray God’s light into this dark time?

after all — dark and light, rain and sun — that’s the very essence of  Banebow.


  1. Joey Malone

    Keli your words are inspiring. I have spent the last hour looking over this blog from the beginning post to this last one and I wish I had found this sooner. I am truly sorry for this loss and being the father of 3 and having one more on the way, I can't imagine the feeling. Sonya and Drason, as well as everyone else affected by this are in my family's thoughts and prayers.

  2. Matt and Shelley

    oh, sister…(sigh). thanks for sharing. i will be a candle for them through prayer; and if all of the followers of this blog could be a candle for them, think of all of the light that would beam into the darkness. Praying for their dark to be light starting now.

  3. Anonymous

    Reminds me of the song.."Carry your candle"

    There is a candle in every soul
    Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
    There is a Spirit who brings fire
    Ignites a candle and makes His home

    Carry your candle, run to the darkness
    Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
    Hold out your candle for all to see it
    Take your candle, and go light your world

    Frustrated brother, see how he's tried to
    Light his own candle some other way
    See now your sister, she's been robbed and lied to
    Still holds a candle without a flame

    Carry your candle, run to the darkness
    Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
    Hold out your candle for all to see it
    Take your candle, and go light your world

    We are a family whose hearts are blazing
    So let's raise our candles and light up the sky
    Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
    Make us a beacon in darkest times

    Carry your candle, run to the darkness
    Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
    Hold out your candle for all to see it
    Take your candle, and go light your world

    Sonya and Drason, you are beacons of light to many, even on the days when you think your flame has been snuffed out. You are shining stars, and your faith and strength beam challenging even the coldest heart to consider The One who brings you comfort. May God hear our prayers and engulf your lives with peace as He mends your hearts. I pray God's richest blessings on you and everything you touch. May the Holy Spirit fall on you now.

  4. Kelli

    Thanks for sharing this too. Today this is much needed. I too think that each day should be filled with happiness and that God shines a light on us to go out and share his word. He also gives us night – a time of rest, reflecting. This time is also met with some obstacles….those of rest and reflecting. As I sit here TONIGHT and think of Sonya and Drason's loss I also weep and morn for my daughter who today received her first wheelchair. although this is nothing in comparison to losing a child…i too am mourning for my child…the realness of what is to come. I am usually the strong one…but today I feel weak. Yes, I will rely on God to be strong for me and to carry me through this storm. I am mad that Baby Bane is gone, I am mad that Baby Josie is gone, and I am mad that my baby girl Carlee may never walk on her own. I am mad because I hurt for my friends and I hurt for my daughter…I don't want to feel this hurt inside…because it is the deepest and hardest feeling I have ever had.
    Now…I feel better.

    not every day is going to be cheerful and sunny…but I do know that through every storm comes the light. i pray that we continue to stand strong and cling to the HOPE that God has promised us. I pray for all that have been touched by this beautiful story. We love you Sonya, Drason and Livi.

  5. keLi @ banebow

    @ Joey,

    thanks for the kind words — and yes, we will take prayers — lots of prayers.

    and 3 kiddos plus one coming? congrats!

  6. keLi @ banebow

    @ Kelli,

    oh friend. thank you — for these words. your story is one that i have kept up with through ashley … and i have prayed, and i do pray for carlee — and for you.