Today I Remember

I sat at the computer this morning, remembering six years ago today.
Sometimes words flow. 
But this morning all that came were tears.

Instead, my brother-in-law found the words. 
The words my heart was searching for.

Thank you, Michael.
“Today I remember…
can it be six years ago?

That camping trip. It was going to be the greatest of adventures.
We were all so young, so strong. So full of anticipation.
So ready to take on anything.


I remember that raging river.

His piercing eyes, looking into mine. The last time.
Those eyes, and that boy. So full of adventure and life.
And courage. So unafraid.
Nothing was ever too big for him to try.

“Come along”, he’d asked me.
“I can think of more pleasant ways to die”, I replied,
hoping he’d catch the warning.
I tried to sound casual, tried not to betray the worry I felt.

I knew that river was too much for him.
God, why didn’t I stop him?

I’d long watched this boy. And loved him.
His quest. His thirst, that knew no limit.
For understanding. For something, someone vast.
Who could out question him. 

So alone. 

It was his fight.
Navigating that rugged road from boy to man.
It hurt to watch. But no amount of caring could walk that road for him.

That day I watched helplessly as he disappeared
into the raging torrent. 

We prayed as we’d never prayed before.
We searched. We cried. We waited.
And then we let go.

I’ve questioned. I’ve wondered. 
Why God? How could You? Why didn’t I? What if?
All of that.

God doesn’t owe me an answer.
But he has assured me of his goodness.
And today Isaac is experiencing the fullness of that goodness.

That day in the river Isaac found something that was much too large for him.
His answer. His Father. His river of LIFE!

Today I also remember the journey of his family and friends.

The questions. Pain. Shattered dreams. Letting go. Surrender.
The ache of missing him that has become so “normal”.
That makes us long for heaven.

And today I honor them for making the tough choices.
For facing impossible reality.
For choosing to surrender and let go.
For choosing to believe that God is good,
when all of life is screaming that he is a traitor.
For choosing to trust him in spite of that.
For letting go of the self-protective walls.
For opening your battered and torn hearts to the healing love of Jesus.

Today I want to tell you that He is proud of you. 
And Isaac is too.

Very soon you’ll look into his eyes and again see the familiar sparkle.
And yet with something new.
The search over. The questions answered.
The delight of knowing Him fully.”


8 thoughts on “Today I Remember

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful words! I “randomly” stumbled upon your blog, but I know now that God was leading me here. I identify with so many of the things you’ve talked about here. Let me explain: since September, my community has experienced 3 tragic deaths. An 18 yr old cousin, a 31 yr old young-married man from my church, and a 20 yr old friend/former coworker of mine. All people I knew well or friends of people I know well. Sometimes there are just no words for the loss. I have cried and questioned often but I’ve also come to the conclusion that He IS GOOD and He is the Giver of Abundant Life! I love this: “God doesn’t owe me an answer. But he has assured me of his goodness.” But sometimes I need to be reminded, so thank you so much for sharing! Blessings on your day.

  2. Thank you for your heart-felt words. A couple of summers ago we too lost a young man to a drowning. He was so full of life and his family had already tragically lost their mother, but comfort is found in trusting God even when we simply can’t understand. As the hymn says ‘ Not now, but in the coming years,we’ll read the meaning of our tears’………

  3. Michael, you beautifully articulated what so many of us have felt but struggle to express. Thanks to you, and to Melissa, for sharing.

  4. tears. . . A few weeks ago when we were not sure if Katelyn was going to live, I read this verse in Psalms. Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you.

  5. And I wonder why, I too, happened to “stumble” upon this blog today…it was 8 years ago today, that I stood beside the grave of my beloved Mother. Yet feel even more confident, that NOTHING, is exempt from His hands of grace, and it is these painful reminders that bring the most comfort….”I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice for their sorrow.” Jer 31:13

    1. Bless you, Marcia, as you experience God’s beauty and grace for us in this place of loss. May He be your comfort, your safe place, your destiny. Your joy always… He is worthy.

  6. Melissa, I’ve always enjoyed your writing. When you wrote about losing Isaac, I sympathized but didn’t understand. Just over three years ago, we lost a 10 year old cousin to drowning as well. I thought of you and all of a sudden, I could understand a bit better. Thank you for continuing to express what so many of us feel but can’t put into words.

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