Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Friday, June 15, 2007

For Chrissy with love

Tonight was an extremely sad night. We spent the evening at the funeral home for an 18-year-old young man. Seeing the pain in the eyes of his mom, dad, and sister was something that will be etched in my mind for a long time. More than possibly 100 schoolmates came in groups of 3-5 into the funeral home. Big burly boys were reduced to tears in a matter of minutes. They just stood for over an hour, almost a huddled mass of teenagers; silent and staring, and then every few moments, breaking this silence, someone would erupt into deep piercing sobs.

In another room a video played on a loop to repeat throughout the night. Images of this young man’s life were visible for all to watch. Eighteen years compressed into a few minutes. Those that knew him would laugh, cry, and remember him well. Those who never met him, but knew the family, would watch and wish for more. Wishing for the lost chance to know the boy behind the photographs.

My eyes would sometimes gravitate over to where the mom was standing, and at times I did not know what kept her on her feet. Then I would see the daughter, holding her mother's face in her hands and comforting her. This daughter worked the room, being brave and strong and supportive for everyone, for her mom, for her dad, and for her brother's best friend. She is an amazing girl. Some might wonder what is it that keeps her going? But I know the answer to that one. She is totally and completely in love with Jesus and it just oozes out of her. She is just doing what Jesus would do, what Jesus did do actually, because even with His own heart breaking at the death of His friend, Lazarus, Jesus comforted others.

I am so fortunate to have her in my life. You see, she is one of “my” girls. Most every Wednesday night during the school year, she was one of the girls who graced my home with her wisdom, her passion for the Lord, and her laughter. That infectious laughter is silent for the moment. She has suffered the terrible loss of her only sibling, her brother. He was just a little over a year older than her, and they were best friends. She loved him completely and unconditionally.

When I lay down to sleep tonight I know my mind will be filled with images of this evening. Of grief in a room so thick you could nearly see it lingering in the air. Of teenagers facing the horrible fact that death does not care if you are eighty or eighteen. Of a mother and a father grieving so deeply in the loss of their firstborn, their only son. Of friends searching for the right words and realizing that there are no right words. Of hugs that were so tight that you knew they were not only hugging bodies, but hugging their souls as well. And, of a girl, much too young to suffer such a loss.

My mind will be filled with prayers for this family as well. I ask you to pray for them also. Tomorrow morning they will see this boy’s face for the last time on this earth. They will say their goodbyes and their tomorrows will never be the same. They will need strength from many and the boundless love of God to carry them through.


chellynn said...

anita, you captured in a beautiful way, the ugliness of tonight. i too will be hard pressed to forget the images of tonight. she is so blessed to have you in her life. she drew strength from you so many times tonight. you have truly found part of what God designed you to do in student ministry. thanks for the million ways you've been there for us all this week. our lives are so much richer because you and steve are part of them. i love you. we will help them all to make it through tomorrow with each other and the grace of our precious Lord.

Farm Wife said...

Mama sent me your email & I've been praying for her & her folks.