“Like a flood, His mercy rains, unending love, Amazing Grace!”
At first, I feel a need to say thank you to so many people who blessed us a year ago with their love – by standing by our side, bringing us food, taking care of our home, and sharing their memories. But, I can’t let this day leave without writing what we witnessed when John Michael left this life. We don’t live a day without hearing of how another young person’s life has ended too soon – in the paper, on the news, or from a friend; I look at how many soldiers’ names are listed on the Sunday morning news show. It may seem strange to say, but we were fortunate, Skip and I……along, with a few others: Karen, Dusty, Blair, Jessi, Kathy, Linda, and Father Macke. For we saw John Michael’s face when he left us – he truly saw the face and touched the hand of Jesus. John Michael was known for his beautiful, unique smile; it was that smile that shined – with a look of peace that is indescribable. So my message today is that His love never fails. This past year is juxtaposed with sad emotions that run so deep and hurt our heart – and, with time, we only miss him more as if he were on a trip, and we’re waiting for him to return, but in reality, we know he’s not coming home to us. It’s been tough, with many days asking, why him? Take me, not him. But, the other side of this has been the outpouring of love we have received; I’ve said many times – it’s been on the wings on Angels that we have traveled this year — and, how we’ve been so blessed from the stories we’ve heard of how our son made a difference in every life he touched. I remember when John Michael was around four. He had spent the previous two years, staying during the day with Anna and Lewis Poe – traveling with Anna and Mrs. James to WMU meetings (Women’s Missionary Union) and anyone’s funeral that might be occurring. Anyway, this day when he was four, I walked into his room. He was holding his Bible, standing over his toy chest – I asked him what he was doing – he told me he was conducting a funeral. He had shared with me not too long before that of how he couldn’t wait to get to Heaven to see all of his relatives, including those that might have been Indian Chiefs. He looked forward to visiting with them, hearing their stories. Maybe that was why many times during his life, he could be found visiting with older people: at the Atlanta Airport at the age of 9, he found two older ladies to sit and eat with – discussing with them his grandparents, or maybe when I lost him at the age of 13 and he was in an elderly neighbor’s house (who had recently lost his wife), eating ice cream and watching soap operas with him, and another memory that stands out is at a nursing home in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania – he and Jimmy Everline in their cubscout uniforms, listening intently to an older man’s story. Just a few weeks before JM left us, he was “babysitting” an elderly man while his daughter went to the grocery store – he loved hearing his WWII stories. When JM was around 12 or 13, I remember thinking, “I’m not going to have him long, for the Lord is going to want him for something greater.” Those thoughts haunt me today. Maybe him getting lost in Heavner (traveling back to Tennessee from college, he called to say he was in some town called Heaven) was a sign. So as I finishing rambling, please know there is hope, there is a Heaven for our son gave us a glimpse of what it must be like to see our Lord’s face.
Enjoy the little things in life; for one day, you’ll look back and realize that they were the BIG things!