Live like you were dyin'


Not only had I lost the ability to listen to music , I found it very difficult to attend church. Alan Jackson has a song of losing someone he loved. “You left my heart as empty as a Monday morning church, It used to be so full of faith and now it only hurts….You left your Bible on the dresser, so I put it in the drawer  ‘Cause I can’t seem to talk to God without yelling anymore.”  I wasn’t yelling but for days and weeks after our tragedy all I could mutter in prayer was “please God” and an occasional “Help us God”. I was reassured by Max Lucado who said “When we can’t talk to God, he hears what’s in our hearts.”  We were also very blessed to have people in our lives, offering prayer for us.  People of the St. Margaret’s Bay Baptist Church, people of West End Baptist church where the service was held, friends and family members and people all across the world were praying for us and our families. I welcomed and appreciated the prayers because I could no longer pray for myself.

I could not let evil steal my faith but I could not go sit in the same church where I could envision my son in the pew. I could smile about the time he asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I told him I wanted him to come to church with me, so I didn’t have to sit by myself (his sister was living away by that time). He smiled his trademark warm grin and his eyes sparkled when he realized he would not have to shop or spend his hard earned money. Or the time he fell asleep on my shoulder. At  probably seven or eight years old he had spent the night with a friend and apparently they did not sleep. During the sermon I felt his head getting heavier on my shoulder and his breathing got a little louder. At the closing hymn I had to wake him so we could stand. I gently nudged him but he popped up sputtering and talking out loud, clearly unsure of his surroundings, as people turned unconsciously to look. So I welcomed the chance to attend a service, to not be alone in a pew, when one of Ty’s friends and his mom asked to attend church with us. I was going out to walk the dogs but spent most of my days at home, mainly curled up reading  books of grief and loss by Christians or fiction to distract me from the ever present grief, even if I sometimes read a sentence or a page repeatedly.  This was a friend Ty really felt a need to support. The whole family had befriended Ty and he loved them all for it. We went to church together. I was reeling with all the words Ty and I had spoken. Trust me, every conversation goes through your mind with crystal clarity after loss. I thought of the words Ty said that last week after visiting a grieving friend. “This world is getting worse, its going to end soon and when it does I want to be in the clouds….” strange words for anyone especially Ty. I know it may sound absurd now in my relatively intelligent state, out of the murky gloom that filled out heads for months and possibly years afterward but I felt Ty that Sunday morning as we attended church together. I actually turned several times to the back of the church.  I was not thinking he was there, I was sane enough to recognize Ty would not be at that service but my heart and subconscious were a different story and I was ‘feeling’ his presence. It may sound ludicrous but it is the same feeling you get when you feel someone watching you and turn to face them, or know someone has soundlessly walked up behind you and yet you know they are there. It happens. There are relatively intelligent, educated people that would agree to the possibility, I am not convinced but know the oddity that I felt that morning. As we sang this song, relatively new in church, I heard the words “riding in the clouds’ and I could feel Ty smiling at us, sitting together, perhaps simply in my mind’s eye.

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord
And these are the days of Your servant, Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are days of great trial
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord

Behold he comes
Riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice
It’s the year of jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill salvation comes

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant, David
Rebuilding the temple of praise
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are as white in your world
And we are the laborers in your vineyard
declaring the word of the Lord

Behold he comes
Riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet call
Lift your voice
It’s the year of jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill salvation comes

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