wish you were here …

from the chair where I sit, I see his face.

not “see his face” in the sense of it being etched in my mind, in the way that it has been  carved into my daily consciousness since his spirit flew heavenward, but “see his face” in a very literal way – staring back at me from the photo frames that have been set strategically to adorn end tables, placed prominently on the mantle, hung carefully, stepped back from, adjusted just a bit – so that  his face is visible in every room.

if you were here, where his photos hang and  his name is mentioned often in casual conversation, you’d be a witness, as I am, to the bravery with which my dear friends are facing their grief.

how, rather than  cowering in a corner fearing the future
or retreating into desperate nostalgia for the past,
they wake each day under a blanket of sadness and – small miracle – they push it back.

step out.

emerge from pajamas into a new day.

how they open the door of this tiny apartment wide, blinking back morning sun, and they say “Come on in, new morning’s mercies.”
how they look pain in the eye and say:

“yes, you may live here.
you are allowed.
but you will go this far and no further – because Truth lives here, too.”

I wish you were here to see God-love in the most ordinary of actions:

Sonya making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a “big sister” who grows,  whose sing-song grace prayed over meals would warm your heart.

the click of key in the door as Drason – 12-hour shift behind him, day long with difficult conversations behind him, visit to hospital where his father recovers from surgery to remove prostate cancer behind him – enters, giving smile and kiss and bear hug and  still more and more and more of himself to this family, this most intimate of ministries.

“No, No, it’s not me,” they say.

I don’t feel courageous at all. it’s Him.

they shrug off my awe-words, speaking of a Jesus they have both known since long before they knew how much they would need him now.

and I believe them, when they say this. I believe it in the same way as those who have seen men  walk away unharmed from deadly crashes. I believe it as those who have watched heart beats cease on monitors before watching them  pulse back again. I believe it as those who stood in biblical times, mouth agape, watching  lepers be healed.

to be here is  to bear witness to miracle – make no mistake about that.

i wish you were here … to be blessed by it.

and yet, I feel sure that you, wherever you are, will be blessed by it – soon.  because this house inhales deep sorrow, real grief – but it exhales a rush of hope, of gratitude cries even from ashes, of big plans in motion to pay it forward – this grace that salves their wounds, so that they can bind the wounds of others.

something big is rising up out of this rubble.

i hear clips of phone conversations, of people who hear tragic news and call here to say:  there is hurt, for these people. can you help?

and the answer, from my friends, is  a hallelujah chorus of Yes, for this is their purpose: the God-call to grab hold of others on this grief path and say: “I hurt too.  I know.  But there is a Light, just up ahead. Walk with me toward it.”

and so even if you can’t huddle in a booth with them eating Thai food and hearing stories of daily manna, even if your little one can’t share the twin trundle with Livi in sweet diaper-bottomed nap sleep, even if you can’t walk down this hall touching glass of photo frames, staring deep in Bane’s big brown eyes,

you can  know.

you can  give.

you can  PRAY.

and when you do these things, you are here.

you are a part of this miracle story of tragedy-turned-for-the-good. and we are thankful for that one small thing: you being here. sharing this story.

of such small things, legacies are built. lives are forever changed. 

today i am praying thankful for the time that i have spent here, with this family, soaking in stories to squeeze out, sponge-like, on this blog in the days to come.

please keep lifting them in prayers, dear friends.  there is a holiness, a peace, in this place — and your prayers have put it here.


  1. Emily Lavenue-Roberts & Chad Roberts

    thanks keli. i feel as if this post was written directly for me. i have hated being far away from my roomie and her amazing family and have often found myself wondering how their daily routine is going. i loved getting this glimpse into their daily life and the good that they generate. i continue to pray for this incredible family multiple times each day.

  2. Anonymous

    You have written this so well…Thanks for being the hands and fingers to share the words and thoughts of Bane's parents. I feel like I have spent a day at their home just through reading this post.

  3. caryn Reynolds

    Praise God! His grace is sufficient. thinking about you guys and so inspired by your faith. we are so grateful for the gift of your friendship. still praying..

  4. Anonymous

    I echo this new post of "wish you were here"….

    I was there. I have been there. It takes my breath each time I enter their threshold….It reminds me of the time I went to NY City and entered the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church…..it's anointed….Only by King Jesus. H I S presense is so surreal. This is what you'd feel if "you were there".
    Yes, there are 'moments'…..but they always point to H I S purpose and H I S glory. you'd feel excitement in the air…..the excitement of where and who Sonya can bless today!! She is busy planning and gathering her list of 'to-do's'….just so she won't forget anything of importance as she blesses another human soul in Jesus' name.
    I pray all the way from Dickson to Franklin each week as I come to spend a wonderful day with my sister…..and I find it odd that I pray for strength to know what to do or to say and how I can help uplift her….and just by entering her apartment and seeing her beautiful smile and getting that tight warm hug she has waiting for me…..has already started blessing ME. It is odd that I come to help her……yet she always helps me. She encourages and uplifts me and shows me all that the L O R D is doing in their lives each day…….
    and when I leave………….I am full. For it is Sonya who is strong, yet meek….Determined, yet patient…..and she has no idea how many lives she is blessing. She is
    A M A Z I N G ! i love you sis…julia

  5. Love Being a Nonny

    What a blessing to read about this family. I should be blessing THEM, but I am blessed by just their every day lives. May Bane Bane live on forever in the hearts and lives of many!

  6. Anonymous

    I follow this blog. From the beginning. I don’t know the family, Drason, Sonya and Livi, only through a friend, but there are TRUE words coming through here. I couldn’t imagine the pain that was going on, but I stood by in prayer, and hope, that in someway I could help someday in someway. But I am moved to tears each time I read this because real love, God’s love, shines through here. I ALMOST lost my son this week. REALLY. He was in Vanderbilt trauma unit..a motorcycle accident..intubated..throwing up..thrashing against restraints..14 with his whole life ahead of him…MY PRECIOUS BABY BOY and I found myself praying..On my knees praying, right in the middle of ICU. So low. And I got peace. I swear. I can’t explain why I got to keep my son..but we have angels among us…and through hours of prayer I found myself praying for everybody..not just Tate. Thank you guys for your message.