Wanted: A Kinder, Gentler Version of Me

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012. 12:16 am. Can't sleep.
 My mind  is flooding with images of Jeremy. 
Dug out a journal I recently found that was given to me 10/23/10.  Not too many entries in it before it went M.I.A. for nearly two years. Thought I would share the very first entry on this day that marks the two year anniversary of the death of my darling son, Jeremy.

Chloe, Uncle Fred, Aunt Tommie, Uncle Bennie
Gatlinburg 11/6/2010

First a little background: Friends had graciously arranged through a business associate for us to take refuge in the Smokey Mountains shortly after the funeral services. This transitional time proved to be life giving and a stepping stone on the path to healing. I might add, my sweet Aunts & Uncles accompanied us on our trip. Their presence was a godly comfort. 

One of the fellow mountain sojourners, recently made his journey through the shadowy door. Today we celebrated the life of my Uncle Fred after a long battle with cancer. Fred  is one of the most kind, gentle, grace filled men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. A very real example of the pattern of living in a "kinder and gentler" way that I am now seeking.

 Ok, back to the journal entry. From the patio balcony of the mountain villa I write...

Journal Entry 
Hard to believe that promise on the bottom corner of this page. Very hard. I'm still in a state of shock not wanting to believe, but as each sun sets and the next sun rises I know this incredible hangman's noose is mine alone to bear. Of course I ask the obvious...Why? Why? Why? Why? With no answer.
I feel guilty. To blame. Like I don't spend enough time with my kids (especially, obviously, Jeremy), my sweet Jeremy. Those words alone could shoot a million stars. I want to be able to love and minister to Eddie, our babies, our family, our church better. Just seems so unachievable. The pain bears down hard like in labor there is no escape but through death's door. The doula and midwife stand watch and say, "It's not time yet. Hold off from pushing. Something might tear." I WANT TO PUSH. I hate this world and all its foolish charms. I miss the closest thing to heaven I ever had. Please God don't let my heart grow Hard and bitter. Let me praise you & love you even now. Feels like a brutal, bloody, endless beating. I guess your Son felt a similar betrayal. Please shine down on us in the Holy Mountains today, so we can find the strength to muster the energy to go back to the valley where we must live with the Full & Complete Brutal reality of Jeremy's passing even into glory. I still want him back. Cruel of me probably. I just miss my boy & miss my 7 here in heaven on earth--now shattered. 

Two years later and the question, "Why? Why? Why? Why?" still lingers. With no answer. The loss still feels like a "brutal, bloody beating," but endless...I wouldn't call it that. I will testify it is getting easier (or I guess more accurately put-- more tolerable/manageable). I do look to a future hope of being reunited, so in that respect the pain does not feel quite as "endless." Even still, I daily desperately miss "my boy." 

Looking back, I  believe the Lord heard my deep cry to remain pliable. And I am thankful. I am thankful my heart has not grown "hard or bitter," and that I have been given the capacity to "praise and love God even now."  I still have before me the goal of striving to be a "better" wife. mother. sister. daughter. friend. minister. However, I have learned over the last couple years (still learning) that perhaps to be kinder, gentler with myself and others is a better way to be "better."  (And, sometimes  I am even practicing this "new, better" kinder, gentler version of me I seek to recreate). 

And, more and more, I have a growing desire to lean into striving to live and breathe in the most gracious and merciful manner that is humanly possible for me--Seeking to impart an extra measure, a double heaping,  an extravagant abundance of unmerited grace and mercy to myself, my husband, my children, my sisters, my mom, my dad, my family, my friends, the congregation I serve, and those that life's twists and turns allow for a convergence of paths. 

It is in this new found holy space, infused with supernatural grace and mercy, I find peace with God. Peace with myself. Peace with others. Peace with the devastating loss of my beautiful child. 

If you knew Jeremy you know he embodied grace and mercy. His spirit was kind and gentle.  He forgave easily. He loved extravagantly. 

It is my hope and prayer that I can learn to live and love in such a manner that my life would demonstrate the extravagance of the gift of grace and mercy I have received in Christ. I am convinced after receiving such a miraculous gift of pardon and favor...That there is  left only one thing to do...to be willing to freely give the gift away... This is the life that Uncle Fred and my precious son, Jeremy, lived. This is the legacy they leave with us.  With their example, and God's help, this is the life I will live. 
My baby chickadees. 

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. –Ephesians 4:1-3


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