When Heaven got closer

I blew the dust off my keyboard, awkwardly clicked on the "Blogger" tab that is no longer familiar, and here I am. I wish I could say "no news is good news", but that is not the case.  Not blogging seems to be the easy way out for me when times get tough (as I think I've mentioned before). My hiatus started when I was having trouble "choosing joy" and embracing the moment of life that I am/was currently in. As I mentioned in this postwriting seems to bring that discontentment/pain to life. But hind site is 20/20, so now I say maybe if I had persevered writing about it, wrestling the words and thoughts into being on paper, it would have shrunk them down to size and not taken long to get over. Although I am writing about this vaguely in past tense, its a continual journey, for me at least.

I hardly know what to say, I feel like a stranger here. With my blog content being all over the map when I actually do post, I don't even have a "norm" I can fall back into.

Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year is right on our heels.New York wasn't very kind to our Southern visitors that hoped for a white Christmas...I believe on and around Christmas the temperature was consistently upper 40s. I tried not to complain, as I know we will get thrown some awful cold weather before spring appears.  This Christmas was different than we would have expected 3 months ago, as we had to experience it without Michael (Brad's 22 year old brother) returning home for the holidays. Instead, just a couple months prior, he went home to Jesus, and got to experience Christmas in Heaven for the first time. As the tears stream down and the cursor blinks waiting for the keys to continue writing, I'm at such a loss for words. Not writing about this tragic event seems wrong, but I don't know how to go about it. I could give you facts about what happened in those last 5 weeks, but that won't convey the emotions that his family/friends feel when they think about him passing. I could try to explain to you what an exceptional young man for God that he was, but you wouldn't be able to truly understand unless you had actually met + spent time with Michael. If you had gotten a chance to do that, you would remember a guy that made friends so easily, who put 100% into such a variety of activities, who poured into the live's of children around him, and who had decided to take 2+ years of his life to allow Jesus to work through him and make a difference in the lives of many young boys while he was a chief at Fairplay Wilderness Camp.

Losing Michael was the first time I had experienced death so close. I had never (that I remember) attended a viewing or funeral. Even though I have nothing to compare it to, I imagine that his funeral will be the "best" I will ever attend. Although it was one of the hardest things I have experienced, saying an earthly goodbye to a friend/brother-in-law that I cared about so much, the message was full of hope. The verse that was displayed on the program was Job 14:7 "For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease." In my Bible I wrote "This portrays Michael's legacy so well. He has been "cut down", but the roots that he planted in Jesus but also in people and children are not dead...and the shoots will not cease. We miss him but his memory will always live on. Ev- thank you for taking relationships so seriously and pouring into all of our lives. We hurt so bad, but pain comes from love...and we love you so much." There are things about him that I hope to never forget, like his laugh, the way when he was figuring things out he would reason out loud even if it made no sense to anyone else, or just how he could always be counted on to just be MICHAEL.  One thought that is so hard for me is that I will have to try to convey to my future children how much their Uncle Ev would have loved them, and how much they would have loved him, instead of them experiencing it for themselves.  There are songs that will always make me think of him, and I wonder if I will ever listen to them without a tear falling. To be honest, I'm ok with that happening. Although it could be easy to feel "bad" for him and the things that he will "miss out on", ultimately he is right where he would want to be. I'm crying for myself, my husband, our family, friends, basically all of us left behind with this hole that was once filled with such a special person. Through this season I am SO thankful for salvation and the hope in Jesus. I don't know how people walk through death without it.

Heaven has never felt so close for me. It was always a place I've known of, and know that I plan to go there some day, and occasionally that thought could be exciting. But mostly, I was content with it being a future thing. It got a little more real after my miscarriages, knowing that my babies went to be in the arms of Jesus before I could give their sweet little cheeks even one kiss. But now, my brother LIVES there. I want to go! I want to visit him, I want him to show me around. I want to worship Jesus beside him. I know I will see him again one day, and in my mind's eye he'll have three little ones that never stray far from their uncle. Today, that day seems far away.