Today my smallest son turns one.
Two years ago, my beloved friend, Joe Houston, closed his eyes here on earth and opened them in paradise.
I am one of those swoony, whiney people who is always asking questions as to why things happen. My mom says that it started really early with me, especially when my friends parents started splitting and I started to see beyond the bubble that my safe little world resided in.
Then, as a teenager, I felt hungry. Hungry for the great, wide open. For big things to happen. For meaning in the smallest things. I questioned things constantly. Argued frequently. Loved deeply.
Then I was invited to a yellow church down the street and went. And that's where I met the Maker. In a creaky, old pew, with hard backs, and hymnals in the pockets. I found peace. I found salvation. I found that the world was at my fingertips, because I had the rush of empowerment soaring through my veins. It suddenly wasn't about me anymore. And I liked it. And I feared it. But mostly, I pursued it.
Then I grew up and slowly started seeing how much more difficult life is than I realized. Oh, the pain and grief of innocence-loss is true. BUT, I knew the sweet victory of salvation, so these difficult times were made all the easier. Hard. Still. BUT, good.
In my quest for love, light, beauty, and good stories, I've realized that life does come full circle. I'm 27 years old, and I'm slowly starting to have memories of my mom when she was my age, with two small children. I look in the mirror and I see the same smiling face. The same dimples. She, as a young mom, opened the doors for BIG imagination in my life. That compounded with my dad's affection for books and stories created in me a whirling dervish of a person. One that I think my family appreciates, and laughs at. And sometimes shakes their head at.
And I deeply desire to see that freedom ringing in my children's hearts. The same delight in something greater, something bigger, something more beautiful than they'll ever understand. I sometimes think I catch that glimmer in Wesley or Spencer's eyes when I play a song of worship for them. I see the beauty of the words shining in their eyes and they sing along. (Though, at the moment, I think Spencer's favorite song is The Bear song)
Life moves fast. It goes by in a blink. But my children are still young, and I want to do all that I can to open up their hearts to the One that they need most. So that they can feel freedom ringing in their veins, and they can love deeply and run with perseverance the race marked out for them. I look forward to the conversations we'll have when they begin to ask the hard questions.
|Joe and his son Asher, summer 2009|
I realize this must sound grim to you, speaking of such grief on my son's birthday. But truly, we loved Joe well and delight in his memory. The pain is true, but the gratefulness for him will never fade.
|Happy Birthday pumpkin!|
Happy Re-birth, Joe. We know we'll see you again someday, friend.