The Hill Across the Street -

June 9, 2012

It was so hot. 

We'd beaten everyone else to the street where I'd sat out on the back stoop of the house with Audra and John
 all snuggled up in a blanket while we watched a meteor shower and Avery kicked in Audra's womb. 

The house on the street across from the little hill that held a grave that was marked "Melody". 

We beat everyone because Mom and I were riding in a brand new rental 2012 Mustang
(a highlight of a heartbreaking trip).

I stared at the house and blinked and felt so disconnected to this new awful story. 

This new horrible story that required a trip back not to the little house where life lived,
but a trip back to the little hill where Melody was buried to bury her little brother named Avery. 

And it was so hot. The asphalt shimmered. 

The fields where I'd heard tractors mowing in the morning had just been mowed recently.
The world seemed too calm. Maddeningly calm. Didn't they know Avery had died? 

I took pictures of flowers and ivy to keep my mind distracted. It was all so very familiar and so devastatingly different.
The world was colored in summer's brightest greens, but the little boy so full of joy was missing from our world. 

Grief touches everything. 

I looked everywhere, anywhere, to avoid looking at that long black hearse carrying such a tiny
 wooden box with the boy I'd loved more than life and prayed over for many days. 

Jesus, help. 

John's words from the beautiful service were running in my mind as the cars started pulling up. 
The sight of the balloons soaring into the sky, straight up to the heavens. 
Be Still My Soul resounding from hearts that believed the words yet sang through choking tears. 
Smoothing the wood of his box just one more time because I couldn't bear to let go. 

Her "I hate this." My "I know." Quiet. Hugs. Not letting her go. My "We'll make it." 

But now everyone was here, and we were climbing those steep stone steps to the little hill. 
The service was over and the world had started again into a spinning version that I couldn't comprehend. 

With every step I wanted to turn around and run as fast as I could until it would no longer be true. 
With every breath, I whispered "He's not here. He's not here. He's not here. He's not here."
Not here. With Jesus. Not here. With Jesus. Safe. With Jesus. Not here. 

And the silence was so loud. The breeze blew the ivy on the little hill, and my heart soared away. 
Words quivered, the little box lowered, memories too painful to write....

Jesus, my heart is breaking.

It can't be true. Please. 

But it was. And just as real as those memories was the reality that it's all true. Jesus is true. 
Our stories are written with the quill of His redemption and the ink of His grace. 
Only a Sovereign God can work all things for our good and for His glory and only has Plan A.

It might be the hardest thing you've ever known and you hate every second of it,
but Jesus has taken all the saddest things in the world upon His shoulders and born them for us.
He will not leave us in the term of mourning, but will bring us into the season of rejoicing. 

And in the past 3 years, He has done that in many wonderful and beautiful ways. We have rejoiced.  

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." ~ Hebrews 13:8  

Jesus has promised that One Day we will SEE all the glorious things He has done, and our hearts will not be grieved.
Our hearts will know limitless and forever joy.
 Every sad thing will become untrue in light of His story of redemption and love!!

We will no longer mourn. 

The reason for our mourning will be lifted.
Not only will we be reunited with the ones we love, but we will also know in full what we only know in part now.
The Now and the Not Yet. This is the Now, and it stings and aches and hurts more than I'd ever imagined. 

But because I trust Jesus, I trust that the Not Yet will be greater than we could ever dream. 
The Not Yet will be "abundantly above all that we ask or think". The Not Yet will be everything the Now is not. 

"For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body." ~ Philippians 3:20-21

When I think of that silent little hill in Tennessee, my heart breaks in the most shattering of ways. 
But when I think of Avery being with Jesus, it puts my heart at peace. 


Because I know Jesus loves us more than we could ever dream or imagine, and has written our stories so very well.
We could not have written them better than He has for us. We could not even dream of it. 

So in the waiting, in the grieving, in the heartbreak and hurt and aching, in the tears - 
I will continue to trust that the Day when I see Jesus will also be the day I see Avery, 
and that Day will overshadow the day I drove back to the house where Avery lived
and the hill across the street where I said my last goodbye. 

Next up, the hello. I can't wait. 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~