Through Facebook, I reconnected with a friend whom I have know since she was a little girl – probably 1st or 2nd grade. I love her family dearly. They have not had an easy life; Her father has been ill for many years, apparently the result of exposure to chemicals in the Vietnam War. There are just two children.
Her brother was in a youth group I lead while in college. He was just in 8th grade. He was an amazing kid. I can remember talking to him about scripture memory. I asked if he had to do it for school (obviously he didn’t go to a public school) and he said “no”; I asked if they did it as a family and he said “no”. Finally he said he just memorized scripture because he though he should. Eight grade and such wisdom.
He grew up and got a good education. He was always one of the nicest kids and I believe this was recognized by his peers when he became the homecoming king. Ultimately he married the church pianist, had two children and lived happily ever after. Right? Not at all.
Their first child, I believe has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Oh, what a challenge they can be. His wife has to deal with some very difficult chronic issues of her own. I can remember talking to him at church and through tears him telling me that the hardest thing is that he didn’t feel like he was able to care for his family; he didn’t know how to fix things. My heart broke for him that day.
I just learned that they have divorced, for reasons unknown to me. I know this young man (who is probably not so young anymore) and his heart for God. I can only imagine the pain this situation has brought and, I suspect continues to bring as he tries to do the best for his children. I don’t know who has the children or what the visitation arrangements are, but I know for him that this whole situation would be painful.
I say all of this because it gives me a different perspective on Christopher’s passing last year (oops see now it is 2009 so I can’t say last year . . . . ). I am left with a life that I couldn’t have dreamed of since the day I met that precious little boy. All my future dreams included Christopher. I looked forward to his graduation, his marrying, grandchildren, just seeing him grow into the fine man I knew God was calling him to be. Christopher factored into everything I imagined for my future.
In Christopher’s passing, I have Shattered Dreams (a book by Larry Crabb that I highly recommend), but I don’t need to have a shattered life. God has left me with the assurance that Christopher is with Him and he has left me with a good life, albeit not what I signed up for. When I consider this friend’s situation, he has been left with a difficult life, certainly not what he signed up for.
I don’t want to minimize my loss and my pain, but they need not be the focus all the time. God has called me to this point for a reason. I don’t much like it as I had wonderful dreams. Again, at the beginning of this new year, I am facing a new chapter and I am excited. I’ll never forget Christopher and will probably never fully be the same without him, but God has a good life for me and for that I am thankful.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I claim this for me and for my friend.
Thanks be to God.