by - September 21, 2010

Did you know, that after you said goodbye, I quit sleeping? On the hot summer nights in my bunk I thought of you. I tried to talk to the God who claimed you for himself, but it hurt so deep that my words just came out as silent tears drowning in the nightly chorus of screaming crickets and cicadas.

I watched as she changed. We rarely spoke of you, but you were there. In each circular conversation as her mind grew distant, I knew she was lost because you were gone. Eventually I begged for God to have mercy on her. I asked her to say "hi" to you for me. Tell him I love him and miss him.

After I said goodbye to her one last time, she visited me in my dreams. Sometimes you did too. I would awake with that treasured feeling of having sat in your den, plate of waffles and bacon, little tin pot of butter, hearing the shuffle of your feet go down the hall.

Eventually in my dreams I'd visit your house but you weren't there. I'd look high and low for some piece of furniture, some small trinket that would signify you were still there, that the house was still yours. I moved into the house once for a time, glasses were still in the cabinets, frozen doughnuts in the freezer, but it was lonely. The streets of your neighborhood were scary and dark.

Last night I visited again.

The two of you sit on a shelf in my dining room. You watch me feed my boy. You see me get frustrated and yell, and I look up to you to ask forgiveness for not honoring the person you hoped I'd one day be. Sometimes I kiss my fingers and place them to the glass where you pause together on the bench at my school, indulging me in a photograph. I have always kept you two with me. For a time I had to put the frame away because being watched made me nervous. Before you were framed, you once accidentally hitched a ride taped to the seat of my pants as I went to check the mail.

I fear being forgotten.

So I write. I write to capture the small moments that shape me. I write so that my words will make an impact. I write to change hearts. I write so that I won't be forgotten. Your words changed me - the words you spoke of my father, the words you spoke into my life as I headed off to college, the words you both must have prayed over my life even before I was born.

One day, your names will be forgotten. There will be no memories of you. But these words that have changed me, that have brought the unending love of Jesus into my life will carry on as they change the lives of my children - those same children who have never met you - and their lives and their words will carry on down the line.

In the end, it is not our names that sustain us. It is not memories of us. It is not what we did or didn't do. It is the words spoken from the very beginning, "Let there be light." It is His words that live on in us and through us and after us, breathing life into death, weaving a story so grand and so beautiful that I have no need to fear being forgotten.

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