It was close to midnight. The house was quiet because everyone had retreated to bed. The night light was my only visible company and my thoughts became almost audible. The thoughts I had been avoiding all week found an audience with my consciousness. It was the eve of December 7th and I did not know what to do with it, how I would respond or how I should respond. On the one hand, who wants to recall the horror of it all. Yet, I knew I could not ignore it.
There was a lot happening, I had set the release date of the devotional to December 7th, hoping to mix a little joy into the sadness I invariably felt on this day. It is as if my mind has permission from an unknown source on this day, to mount the memory of that horrid morning on the screen of my mind. Replay, rewind, repeat. Learning to grief with hope is still an active lesson in life’s curriculum for me and I’m still trying to get it right.
I spent the day riding the waves. I cried when I needed to but was intentional about finding reasons to smile or even laugh. I was excited that the devotional was out and that people were encouraged by it. I was honoured that at least my pain could be used for something beyond me. I was grateful that somehow God was able to process the mess of that day to fertilize growth in the future.
Eventually, I want to get beyond “surviving” the day. I want to be able to explain to the boys, when they are older, what happened that morning. I want them, us, to remember December 7th as the day their father gave the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to keep them safe. It’s the day that reminds us, pushes us even, to live fully. Anything less is an indictment on his memory. To live less than fully would refute the sacrifice he made, he would have died for nothing.
I can’t help but think how much this should already be the case for those of us who accept the gift of Christ’s sacrifice. He gave it all, not just for earthly abundance but a far more eternal gift. I feel as though I’ve been doubled dared to live and to do it fully holding nothing back. Like His heavenly Father, my late husband Chris did nothing in half measures. He was an all or nothing kind of guy. He was either a christian or not, he was either committed to a task or not. If he gave his word he honored it. Those lessons I take with me now every day. Lessons I commit to teaching our sons.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (Jn 10:10, NLT). When I reflect on that morning the thief did accomplish its mission from a physical or temporal perspective with the ultimate aim of stealing my faith, killing my hope and destroying any path to a successful future. However, My God in His ability to do abundantly above our thoughts and imagination provides for needs we didn’t realize we had. This includes the need for peace and a firm anchoring in Him that has nothing to do with possession, other people, or circumstances. In that place, His plans, opportunities and purpose unveil themselves like a comet in the night sky.
My encouragement is no matter how dark the day, hold on to the immutable hands of a Good Father who loves you more than you can fathom. I double dare you. LIVE!