Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Ready -

"On Fridays around these parts we like to write. Not for comments or traffic or anyone else's agenda. But for fun, for practice, for joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker. 
We love to just write without worrying if it's just right or not. For five minutes flat." ~ Lisa Jo Baker

Five Minute Fridays are held over at Kate's now! Join us! 

Today's prompt: Ready:

~ Go ~

{Photo taken February 2014 from our church parking lot, looking west at the sunset}

I was 13 years old when my beloved Sunday School teacher died of ALS. 

I never tell this story because I never make it ten seconds into it without bursting into tears. 

He died the morning after 9/11. His loving wife didn't tell him about 9/11, because he was already slipping away. 

At 13, I'd never known grief or loss like this. Ever. 

I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready at all. 

I remember when my Mama told my Daddy when he got home, and the catch in her throat, the tears in Daddy's eyes. 

I hadn't been told yet. I stood there frozen in stunned shock. When Mama realized I was standing there, I could see confusion fill her face to my reaction. After a few words, I rushed from the room in tears.

It was the first time I knew what a broken heart felt like. It would not be the last. 

We had 9/11 the day before, and then this. Psychologically, I guess you could say that being in such traumatic times at 13 was hard for me. And it was. But what followed throughout my high school years into my college years has continued to break my heart in loss. 

Death never gets easier. Neither do funerals. Or the news. Or sobbing in your best friend's kitchen. 

For years I'd burst into tears at any mention of ALS. I cried my way through the rest of the year.
I didn't sing "It is Well" for years, I don't even know how many. Wait, yes I do. It was just over 8 years. 

My teacher was everything about becoming a Christian that made sense to me. He was kind, compassionate, gentle, soft spoken, loved the Lord deeply. I wanted to be a Christian because he was. I became a Christian the years I was in his class. 

And I don't think anyone came near to understanding how much I adored him as a teacher, as a Christian, as my friend's daddy.
 I'd known him my whole life. It shook our little world to the core, us in his class. 

Our whole church family suffered and grieved as we watched him decline. I can give you more personalized 2nd hand comments on how ALS kills you, more than you want to know. More than 15 seconds of ice bucket video knows how to process. 

I'm shaking, typing this up, because it's hard to pour out your soul to complete strangers. 
But after 13 years, it's hard to not write about someone so important to your life. My best friend Tricia had a similar situation in her life, and I told her once that no one seemed to understand how much I was grieving the loss of someone who seemed so strong and solid and safe in my life. And how love can't be explained sometimes, you just love so deeply and no one can understand it.

But then she told me she understood....and I burst into tears. 

I wasn't ready to lose the person who taught me to love Jesus because Jesus was worth it. 

A few years later, I placed some roses on his grave and with one little whisper, I was finally ready to say the words: "It is Well."

I won't ever be ready for grief and loss. 
But I'm more than ready for how Jesus will change us and prepare us for Heaven through it. 

~ Stop ~ 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

2 comments:

Crystal Roberts said...

"I won't ever be ready for grief and loss. But I'm more than ready for how Jesus will change us and prepare us for Heaven through it."

Such strength and truth! Beautifully written Jean Marie. Thank you for sharing your loss and the light that shines through it.

Crystal Marie

Patricia Pitterle said...

Beautifully written. I don't think any of us are ever ready for grief and loss, even with sickness. It is so very hard. And very hard to watch loved ones suffering. I think ready happens when you are on the other side and His arms welcome you home.