Pre-East Coast move I probably talked to him a couple times a month. Post move, every couple of months. Since his sudden passing, I wish I could talk to him on average several times a week.
We’re so like sheep. Just walking out our daily routine: food, water, sleep. Never thinking that the routine, all that is daily & hourly taken for granted would every change. Never thinking that the people in our lives, the people that make up our lives, would ever be gone.
I’ve come to believe that who we are as individuals is largely composed of the effect of the people whom we love and the people who love us. Like it or not, like them or not, the people in our lives mold us.
I was so broken at the idea of how the lack of him in my life could change me. I was afraid that the effect that he had made in me would slowly fade away, afraid that as the years passed I would forget him. But I haven’t. So much of KC reminds me of him.
And it’s not just Miah, it’s all of “those that have gone before”. I feel the pain of the missing, the ache of the longing for the ones I love that I can’t see, touch or talk to. In the stillness of remembering I find myself regularly composing letters to them in my mind.
As I fill the bird feeders around my house I think of my grandpa and unintentionally it starts,
Dear Grandpa, my bird feeder collection is starting to rival yours. Does it make you glad to see me feeding the birds….
A Friday night will roll around and I have no plans, and I remember when Jeremy left and I so needed a brother. On those sad Friday nights I’d call Miah and he’d take me to coffee or dinner. Once, after telling him a story of a weird encounter with a man in an airport he grabbed my phone, took a picture of himself flexing and said, “There, when you travel make that picture the background on your phone and tell all the creeps that you have a boyfriend!” That picture brought so much laughter every time I stumbled across it. Driving home from work I whisper,
Dear Miah, thank you for loving me so well…..
The lawn mower breaks down…. again… And with a deep sigh I look to the heavens and it begins,
Dear Bob, when you were alive I always had a working lawn mower…..
Changes are coming. My little weary squeezes at the changes that I know about that are around the corner, and fears the things I have yet to know. I take deep breaths and thank the Lord for the years, the time in KC where so many of the friends and people whom I love live less than 5 minutes away, and I grieve them as they leave. With each move, each friend that suddenly becomes distant the view of my life just as suddenly changes and I wonder how long the old normal that has become normal again, will stay.
I wonder how long I will stay. How long will I live on my parents property, in the house my Daddy fixed for me? How long will I live with my sister and BIL? I’ve been working and working the property to make it beautiful again and each day I wonder, am I doing this for myself or will someone else be one to enjoy it?
The questions, the pain in the missing, it would utterly overwhelm but for the anchor in my soul. The hope, of life that never dies, of love that never ends. The hope in know that each day brings me closer to the City, the New Jerusalem, the home that never changes, the life where there is no missing. Can you imagine? Just stop for a second! Take a deep breathe, push the crowding thoughts away, and for a moment just allow yourself to image. Life. Lived to the fullest. No goodbyes, no missing.
And those letters I write turn to Him. Wondering at the real life that is being lived with the Lord, the unimaginable joy from those I love who are WITH Him.
And that’s the only resolution. To live “from the end” as Bonhoeffer wrote, to live each day with the end as our hope and our prize and our goal. And to fight to love better those whom are still with us.
Do not take them for granted, those family members, those friends. I meant to call him the week before the run, but I didn’t. That conversation will come, but I will wait long for it.
Don’t wait long.
Express yourself, verbalize the things you think, the things that you love about them, the things that you’re grateful for. The things you would wish a thousand times that you’d said if they were suddenly gone from your life. Be transparent, be real, be grateful.
Lewis said that “the fact that our hearts yearn for something Earth can’t supply is proof enough that heaven must be our home.” My heart yearns more by the day. I want your kingdom Jesus.