Friday, December 15, 2006

10:30 a.m., December 15th, 1992

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
-- Jeremiah 29:11

Fourteen years ago today I went out with my son to cut down our first Christmas tree together. An hour later he was dead.

What does one do with such memories?

Memories can be awkward things.

That first year after Willy’s death was... beyond describing.

It hurt.

At first there were things I could do. There was the stone for his grave. I picked out my largest piece of petrified wood (I collect fossils) and took it to the only place on the West Coast that had the equipment to properly cut it.

But after setting the stone in place I found it did little to lighten the stone in my heart.

That first year dragged on and on and on. I would wake in the middle of the night and go for walks. I hurt constantly. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. The image of his blue, still face as I awaited the paramedics rolled constantly through my mind, along with all the other images of that day. The cut Christmas tree leaning against the front door, his body lying on the metal table at the hospital, the look on Brenda's face...

It hurt so badly. I cast about for ways to make it stop. There were temptations to do drastic things.

Fourteen years ago today was a very, very, very bad day.

Fourteen years ago tomorrow was also a bad day, along with each day throughout the following year... But there was something else happening fourteen years ago tomorrow that was to change my life.

Fourteen years ago tomorrow two little boys were getting onto an airplane. They had been deeply harmed, but they were headed to the United States on medical visas. A year and a half later to be adopted by a childless couple in a small town in Oregon.

Isn’t that amazing?

While we were waking up to a day without our lovely child, the Lord was moving. He was guiding. He was doing great things, working to heal us, to make our deepest desires, that of raising a family, come true.

Look at me. Sitting here tapping away at this keyboard, getting misty... but honestly, how can I not love my Lord, my God, my Master, when I see how things have always worked out so well? He is faithful. Far more so, infinitely more, so than this weak servant of His.

I have been reflecting lately about a situation that has been going on in my life that I do not feel free to share here. But I can say these few things... It worked out in a miraculous fashion. Experiences meant to shame, humiliate, and hurt, turned into the experiences which gave me skills and recognition and honors.

So... I jot down these random thoughts in this online journal and look awkwardly inward at the memories that hurt me, remade me.

What does one do with such memories?

They are probably tiresome to others (which makes this a convenient place to put them since all any reader need do is click the “back” button to escape).

But they are my memories.

Brenda and I are taking the day off. No running around to take care of business, busyness. We aren’t going to worry about the kids. We aren’t going to do anything in particular. I suppose we will go to the cemetery. I think I might take a picture of his grave and place it here achingly, gently, in this post. We decided to not run away from the meaning of the day, to fill it up with meaningless stupid things. She has scheduled appointments for massages (we have never had professional massages) and just take care of ourselves.

What to do with such awkward memories? I suppose I am doing with them all that I can do. I reflect on how those events led me to where I am, helped shape me into the man I am. I can reflect on how I now see the hand of God working to turn tragedy into a graceful miracle which healed our hearts and rescued two little boys from a terrible situation.

Though the wound has healed, there is still an old scar running across this heart beating within my chest. A scar running the full length of my heart... a heart that beats with a vitality it did not have when I had no children.

This heart beats with a devotion for my God, my Lord, my Master.

How can that be? Some may wonder why I do not curse God for my pains. Job’s wife told her husband he should curse God and die.

But Job understood something she did not.

The Lord God is good.

The sorrows of this world, even such horrors as oceans rising over sleepy villages and wiping hundreds of thousands of lives away, is all a part of living in a world where there is vitality and choice. For this world to work, for it to live, there must be tectonic plates shoving things about, shoving old material into the interior, fueling volcanoes to pump needed gases back into the atmosphere.
For this world to work, there must be freedom to choose, which means there is evil in the world... a dark side.

The wonder of it all is that there is such a good side. That despite the horrors and pains of this world, I see His hand turning lives around, using the very pain of terrible hurts to bring compassion and love to where there was only sorrow and grief.

So... today I cannot escape the awkward memories. And that is ok. It is part of who I am, and it shows what He can do with such sad, hurtful...

...oh such hurtful and sad...

Perhaps I am just a little tired today...

I’ll get back to you folks later...


curious servant said...

Update: terrible storm last night... wind gusts up to 100 mph on Mt. Hood. Pray for those lost men (previous post).

(Justin, can't seem to comment on your blog)

jel said...

CS, Thank you for sharing your pain, with us, My prayers go out to you Brenda,

and as well with the 3 lost men , and their familys and for the ppeople lokking for them!


Anonymous said...


I feel such sadness for you and Brenda. I can't really say anything about this. I just wish I could give you a hug.

(Re: my blog. I think beta is having issues. I can't log into my admin panel to post and I can't comment on your blog unless I use the anonymous function. I was however able to comment on Elises blog with no problem. Maybe she has beta as well.?)


Anonymous said...

Hugs to you and Brenda.

Ame said...

the hurt ... the pain ... memories are sometimes so hard ...

you remind me, once again, that the answer to, "how can God be God and allow such evil" is ...

only the one, true God can be God and allow humanity the freedom to choose, even and especially when it hurts and destroys ... because i could not ... i could not stand by who i am and let things happen if i could stop them. only God loves us enough not to set the order and then disrupt the order radomly ... He loves us so much He will not play us like puppets ... He gives us freedom ... only God.

thank you for checking in ... these are rough days for me, too ... but i think you already knew that :)

thank you

God is good; He is so good. how amazing to look back and see His hand guiding your family even before you knew who your family would be ... what a good and gracious and loving God :)

you are to be commended for seeing God for who He is.

C & G said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and hope

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

what a powerful testimony of the Lord's healing!!!

thank you for visiting Faith Lifts today.

ma God richly bless you and your family.

Pamela said...

The love and heartfelt memories for your dear son Willy will miraculously live on in your heart forever. God is good, and led your to raise two beautiful children out of Africa. I am glad we can reflect back on our sorrows, but then I feel it is so important to move forward and live in the present. Cherish all that is good and beautiful and to live each day as if it is our last as life is so very precious. You have a beautiful gift for writing and expressing your love for Christ and this beautiful world we live in!

Lorna said...

scars yes!
but healing too!

praise God for His faithfulness and for His plans - even though we don't always understand them

Terry said...

Oh.. Curious Servant...This is so sad!
It is too hard to read this without crying!
It is easy to see that you are wrting about Job not with just a head knowledge about him but it seems like you have been through some firey trials yourself, both you adn your dear wife, Brenda.
My heart goes out to you both!...Christian love, Terry

I think what I am going to do Curious Servant, is to start at the beginning of your blog instead of reading it backward!
Whenever I get a few moments!!