We had a really nice weekend. In the past few months, there have been times that I've wondered if we'll ever have a peaceful, happy life again...and this weekend was just a beautiful promise that there is still life and joy and happiness that can happen alongside all the heartache. We just have to try a little bit harder to find it, trust the guiding hands of friends and family who love us, and then hold on like crazy and let the joy swallow us up for a while.
Our kids need it.
Our marriage needs it.
My heart needs it.
Saturday we had a beautiful visit from good friends, who made a long drive just to be with us and to love on us. Our united army of children and good conversation made it impossible to dwell on ugly things, and later we joined with more friends as we watched our girls ride horses, held our boys up to pat velvety noses, and assisted in carving pumpkins and mixing hot chocolate and warming little hands by the fire. We laughed and talked with friends, shivering in the cold, and for a moment here and there almost forgot that one of our family is missing.
We went to church and worshipped with many of those same friends the next day. When we walked through the halls of God's house, the church came alive with the support and love and hugs of shared burdens, as it has every week during this season of our lives. We are so very loved. The afternoon was spent in fellowship as well, eating and laughing and talking and just being surrounded by so many who, while they can't understand what we're going through, are choosing to walk alongside of us. They're such an incredible blessing to our family.
It was a weekend of hope. A much-needed time to get away from the constant barrage of phone calls and emails and dead ends and closed doors. A time to remember that God is good and gives us good things and will never abandon us in our suffering.
We are not alone.
And yet, this morning I awoke with a sharp pain in my heart and with tears welling in my eyes. I'm feeling the loss of my son greater today than I've felt in a long time. I've spent weeks walking around in shock and disbelief, running on adrenaline, numb to the pain of it all, simply surviving from moment to moment. And today the numbness is gone, the anger and the injustice and the shock are melting away. Today the anguish is setting in.
I'm losing my son.
God, please perform a miracle in the heart and soul of my son. Remind him of the joy our family has shared, of the thousands of good times and the laughter and the traditions and adventures. Teach him, Lord, that a lifetime without close relationships - without family, without friends, without You - is empty and meaningless, and that he will only ever be complete and happy when he learns to love and trust. Please infiltrate his little cell at Juvenile Detention, wreak havoc on his heart and soul, and leave him aching with the desire to try. Lord, please give me my son.