It was not that long ago, that warm summer camping trip.
We all backpacked in, hauled our sleeping bags and food down that beautiful wooded trail.
Over the creek three times till at last we burst into our picture-perfect camp site,
there on the edge of the creek.
For my family, this is a very special place.
We camped here with Isaac, this man so much a part of our lives,
now exploring the mountaintops in heaven.
Here, beside the same pool where he dove and swam, it feels
that he is a touch closer.
He loved roughing it, sleeping in a hammock,cooking over an open fire.
We started the tradition of asking a few other friends to join us on our yearly campout,
in a way to help fill the gaping hole Isaac leaves.
But we all know that no one can fill someone else’s spot.
They just make their own. We asked Marco and Cheryl to join us that year.
It could have been awkward for them, this being there with us knowing we were all missing Isaac.
But it wasn’t. They just helped make new memories.
We played hard. We ate awesome food cooked over the smoky fire.
We swam and cannon balled all together into the icy cold swimming hole.
We talked late, watching the orange coals flicker and glow, the river splashing behind us.
We don’t take life for granted, ‘cause we know this life is short.
But sometimes we don’t expect it to be quite SO short.
It feels like just yesterday, Marco, that you were here.
Your footprint still fresh, your laugh still rings in our ears.
But one year ago today, that all changed.
We have shed so, so many tears in these 365 days,
as that gun shot shattered what seemed so perfect.
Since the “accident.”
Only with everything in God’s hand, was it really an “accident?”
I wonder what all you knew, heard, and understood in those days in the hospital.
I wonder if you really squeezed my hand as I held yours and talked to you.
How we watched those numbers on your monitor, how we prayed our hearts out.
How we knew, just KNEW, that God wanted to use your story,
and the impossibility of your healing, to defy the odds and bring glory to Him.
It’s been a year of tears.
A year of grasping to God’s hand when nothing seems as it should be.
We have hurt so deeply as we let you go.
And let Maryann and Landon go.
This pain is beyond words.
This letting go knocks the very breath out of us.
But under all the rawness, and facing the questions and pain,
we know God is good.
I know you see it all from a different perspective now.
I know you would be so proud to see Maryann still smiling, singing and loving God,
even through her shattered dreams.
I’m sure you would be the proudest dad in the world to Landon,
such an adorable ray of sunshine, and a miniature of his daddy.
I know you would see God in your parents and siblings
as they have walked this rugged path of shattering.
Of choosing to trust blindly.
I won’t lie. We get angry. We wish we could go back and change it.
We wish the story had a different ending.
But that is just the thing. The story isn’t over yet.
We see very little through this veil, this separation.
So with you on that side, and us on this, we choose to say,
“Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
We rest in the Master Author of this story, of our faith.
We lean hard into the One that will wipe all these tears from our eyes.
And we know you are really living that life you always longed to.
You are free.
We just can’t wait to join you.