Dear John Michael,
This October I want to focus on some very courageous people I’ve been blessed to cross paths with this last nine months. Some are old friends; some are new friends; some are family; some are people I don’t know well, but whose path suddenly veered on mine. I’ve heard someone say and I truly believe it… There are no chance encounters in this world.
When I think of courage, my thoughts automatically turn to you as you are the embodiment of courage in my mind. I’ve spoken so many times about the year you were in 4th grade – waiting to go into the school for a “reading lock-in.” I dropped you off – then as I watched several boys scuffling not far from where you were standing, you stood alone – anxious to read all night, and so secure in standing, following the instructions to stay in that one place. My thoughts rushed to me – “it takes a lot of courage to stand alone.” And, stand alone, is something we all have to do at certain moments in our life.
“It takes a lot of courage to grow up and become you really are” e.e. cummings
So who crossed my path?
• Neighbors who loved us no matter what was happening
• An elderly widow who stepped out on faith for us
• Friends texting, emailing, and calling to see how we were, never ceasing
• New friends who didn’t really know us, but who loved us anyway, praying without ceasing
• New friends who became life-long friends… Now joined by “ties that bind”
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up for our friends.”
• A mother picking out flowers for her son’s service – I volunteered to deliver the flowers to the church as she was from out of town and didn’t know how they would get there
• A mother sharing about her son’s 4-wheeler accident that took his life a year ago.
• A young girl picking out flowers for her mother’s funeral, with all the planning left to her as she was the oldest child – just 19 years old herself, but picking out each flower that she thought would make her mother smile
• A mother and daddy planning their only child’s service – their son. Too close to my heart this was….
“The most painful moments and memories eventually lead to the greatest strengths and growth in life.” ― Kemi Sogunle
I am humbled by all the courage I’ve had the privilege of seeing … And, the common thread is that it’s courage wrapped in relationships. Last week, as Dad and I began listing all the positive things that had happened in our lives the past year, relationships kept coming to us… Relationships with our friends, with our family, with each other, and, most of all, with God; we are truly blessed.
One more year without you… does time heal…does time make it easier? No, but time does allow relationships to grow and new relationships to join our journey.
Courage to love, courage to live, courage to die…. Your courage sustains us.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
We love you, our baby doll,
Your mama and daddy