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.
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.
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 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.