Katrina was two years old when I was born and she hated me.
Sounds like a bad beginning to a sad story but it worked out alright on my end, I grew in the dirt under open skies and the watchful eyes of my brother Jeremy and the neighborhood boys. Jeremy made me everyone’s little sister, a position I carried well. Bloody knees, bruised elbows, more hair than body (and it was always a mess), I had a will to match their boyish zeal for adventure and the few years they all had on me, and no matter how much I slowed them down he always brought me along. He was my hero.
From the start we were that close and it took me years to realize how rare our friendship was. He was my teacher, my instigator, my champion and friend, my brother and father to my absent daddy. Always pushing me further, always calling me higher. Blue eyes blazing with passion he always dared me to fly, and in his eyes I did. No really, in my dreams I never fly but I always fly in his. He gave me gasoline when I longed to burn. Poured it on and kept pouring, giving all he had to fuel the flickering desire for God. Teaching me of dreams, hearing and sight. Late nights talking, drinking from each other’s souls, gleaning from the revelation growing inside, weeping and longing, seeking and finding. Jeremy taught me that there were no limits and I gave all myself to be free.
During our internship we would tag-team pray over people, and there has never been another person that I see in the Spirit so clearly with. J and I breathe emotion. He’s fire on the inside. Confident where I was afraid and sure in my insecurities. Bursting with excitement for whatever has hooked his attention, and he gives all of himself to that thing. And he’s a nerd. Full on.
Our childhood was made of storybooks, or maybe I should say that books should be written about our childhood? Long summers running in fields, trekking to the swimming pool, making a tree house out of the bare roots of an old tree and a hillside. Scheming and playing on the top-level of a metal rocket ship at the play ground. Taking animal parades and walking the dog, bunnies and pet goose ….. all at once. Selling Kool-aide on the corner. And pestering the heck out of my sister. Katrina and I would get into long fights ALL THE TIME, and Jeremy would record them on his tape recorder, narrating the situation and who did what, then filling in the gaps with advertisements of random things he would make up or musical interludes of him playing the piano. And yes he did play them for my mom. And yes I did stage some of the fights for his cassette tapes.
J would save all of his junk, and sell them to us at his ‘Only this afternoon for an hour’ sales. And we would buy it. He could convince us to do anything.
Moving to Iowa burst open his dreamers heart. We would spend our days tramping through fields, J with a bb gun to shoot squirrels and I with a kitten in my pocket. We’d lay in the long warm grass and watch the clouds, dreaming big dreams and believe it or not he is as much of a romantic, dramatic dreamer as I am.
He first came to Kansas City during one of the most difficult seasons of my life, and I was desperate for his counsel and friendship. My nightwatch friends will understand when I say that I was one of those crazy family members who for the life of me could not remember that he SLEPT until two pm! At least twice a week I would call at noon while leaving work, and when he didn’t answer, would proceed to call his apartment phone. *God bless Nick Beaver and Trey Roach for never hurting me for those early phone calls* And he always took my calls. He would call me some nights, real late (or early) and though I almost never understood what the heck he was talking about I knew that he was burning in a way that I’d never seen, and I wanted in.
Thank you Jesus for IHOP-KC. He was my champion even during his track 1 of FITN. I’d visit and he’d keep me awake in the prayer room all night, take me to his briefings for Joanna’s worship team, and talk me through all the emotional tornado’s that I had. That’s when I met CJ. He was the “other Jeremy”, from Nebraska and talked like he’d smoked for 80 years. We hit it off right away.
Sometimes I forget that CJ was not always apart of our lives, that 4 years of history is REALLY not that much time, he was just one of us from the start. Poor CJ walked me through so much healing, and so much of the overflow of my brokeness and inability to trust. Often surprised at the intensity he was never overwhelmed by my outbursts and gently guided me through my track 1, letting me weep on his couch and wash my clothes in his basement. And together we prayed J back to KC.
Doing track two together was unbelievable. J & I were hardly apart much to my roommates annoyance, and that time forged a deeper bond between us. It’s hard to not grow closer when you’re changing so much together. We shared a car, secrets, revelation, food, laugher and tears, and I did his laundry with mine once a week in CJ’s basement. And we shared lots of laughter about the time my superman boy shorts got left in the dryer. In CJ’s basement. That jerk still call’s me superman.
We moved here together, grew closer, grew apart, grew angry and became friends again. And we prayed Katrina here. Unbelievable gifts from the Lord.
I knew I liked Jen the first time I walked into the cafeteria at 6.45 in the morning and heard her playing the piano. With the lights off. We got along well, spent some time together, had coffee and took walks. One summer morning I left the prayer room, the birds were singing and it was gently raining one of those glorious, warm summer rains. And NO ONE would walk with me in it. But I waited until 7 when she got done playing and her eyes sparked when I asked her to walk in the rain with me. We walked Terrace Lakes over and back about 4 times that morning. In the rain. I ruined my cell phone and I found a life long friend.
I lost Jeremy when he fell in love with Jen. It was the day she fell off his roof. What were they doing on the roof? Alone? Oh you know, watching the stars…. the boy who’d once told me I was NEVER allowed to stare at the stars with boys was alone on his roof, with Jen. We’d known for awhile that he liked her, but the fear of her fall did something inside of him that I can’t explain and he was a mess for days. And I was angry. My “brothers” all tried to help, everyone gently would say “it was going to happen someday” but honestly had never thought that it would. Never had it entered my mind that we would not be heart friends, and never did I think that another woman would come between us. She moved in with Kat & I a few months later. It was hard to stay angry when I liked her so much. It was the gift of God to us that she lived with us.
They were married last May. I can hardly believe it. He wept when he saw her and she held her head high and the heavens poured down on that tiny glass chapel. Nathan and Kat cried through the whole ceremony but my face hurt from smiling so big. I watched him be a man that day, and gladly received my sister.
Tonight they had dinner with us. Dad drove in from Iowa and mom had been here since Kat’s ER scare. Through hours of food, games, tim tam slams, laughter and stories I watched them. CJ was married this last year as well and I’ve hardly seen him but he came for some hours and I loved that he was here. It was fitting to have him with my family on this night. He and Jeremy sat side by side subject hopping, Jeremy instructing him on the game, CJ talking about Christina and their dogs and working with FITN, Jeremy randomly leaning across the table to kiss Jen’s forehead.
Tomorrow morning they move to Fredericksburg. There was a time 3 years ago when Jeremy left for 2 months of Jury duty and I was terrified. So much was happening inside and outside of me and he was my stability. I had no idea how to be me without him. That time I knew he was coming back. But here we are. There is no going back, no slowing down, no pausing. We are ever-moving forward toward the one thing that drives us, filling our nights with dreams and our days with hunger, the return of Christ Jesus, and goodbye is too formal for my ears. Holy Spirit has reminded me over and over and over again throughout this week, “you’re going to live forever” and it fills my heart with hope.
How do the lost ever say goodbye? We are those who have been set free from death and the kingdom of darkness, and we are never going to die. “Life is a vapor fading fast, just one more moment it will pass but it will be remembered like a dream in the night”. Just a dream, slightly faded, trying hard to reach onto and grab hold of the details, but still just a dream, and we are going to live forever. Forever. Growing in love and friendship with Jesus, growing in love and friendship with one another. And no ‘goodbye’ is final.
Early tomorrow morning I will squeeze my sister, mix our tears and kiss her cheek, and will hug him like I’m never letting go. The way I always have. But I’m going to let go. I’ll cry when they leave, probably cry throughout the day, and cry when I go to bed. But tomorrow I will go to bed unlike the rest of this week as I have fought sleep in an effort to fight their leaving. Tomorrow I’ll also make a pot of french press, watch Cohen for an hour, do some laundry and cleaning and go to the Awakening. Life will go on and I will enjoy it because we are still moving forward and all for the same goal: We miss you Jesus, and we want you to come back.
And I’m so thankful for you Jeremy.