I don’t know that I’ve ever sat down and written out a list of things I don’t want to ever have to do. I’m sure it would be long and never could be considered complete. I would say that most would fall into the category of comfort for self. Like, I don’t want to be eaten alive by any animal, be in an airplane crash, fall from a skyscraper, etc. ,etc. All pretty extreme, but I want it noted that I am against them.
Once we get away from the extreme and unforeseen, we know that there are inevitable things we don’t want to do, but will end up doing at some point in our lives. Loved ones will get sick and be hospitalized. Parents, grandparents, and (for at least one of the two in a marriage) a spouse will likely pass away during our lifetime. My children will leave home one day and, while bittersweet, will be moments of sorrow to close that particular chapter. I’m not currently trying to mentally prepare for any of these things, but we know they are out there, nonetheless.
Today, Jaclyn and I will walk through a valley I never even wanted to know the location of. By the time we lay our heads down tonight and attempt to sleep, our youngest son will have been lowered into his final resting place on earth.
There are many of you out there who have buried your children. Some of you have even reached out to offer an empathetic comfort, and we are grateful. Losing a child, whether a toddler, a teenager, an adult, or a stillborn you never really got to meet is devastating and doesn’t need qualifying.
But, only Jaclyn and I will ever really be in this particular exclusive club together. We are the only parents that lost Kane.
Even typing his name brings tears to my eyes. I could go on endlessly reminiscing on his short life – 1,047 days to be exact – with a story for almost each one. I could postulate on what he might have done as a 6-, 12- 16-, or 21-year old; what he might have become. This blog may become my therapeutic space for doing any of those things.
But, our hearts are confused. Surely his adoption journey and story was such that it positioned him to do great things for the kingdom of God! We only imagined how God was going to use his story to inspire others and to give glory to the Father! This can’t be how God envisioned using him!
This is the beauty of God.
Earthly leaders accomplish things for the team. What’s best for all involved. How to lead people in one direction and then celebrate everyone’s efforts. God’s accomplishments are for one purpose – His glory and the extension of His kingdom. Giving credit to parents of an adopted child doesn’t point people to Jesus – it points people to servant hearts. Giving credit to a person that rises above heredity and circumstances and perseveres to become something great doesn’t point people to Jesus – it points people to hard work, dedication, and steadfastness. Good, earthly traits that I hope all of my children possess. But, they don’t point back to the Father.
Instead, God’s plan reigns supreme. This afternoon, I long for this to be revealed as some elaborate hoax or nightmare. When I wake up, it will be over and I will simply be a better father or better person for having experienced it. That my family will be whole once again and my buddy will be crawling up in my lap, kissing me good night, or throwing rocks. But, I know the truth is that I will come home again to his quiet bedroom, his empty bed, and the lack of his laughter.
In the Old Testament, Job encountered great loss and adversity in just the matter of a few days – he lost every valuable possession he owned, lost all of his sons and daughters, and was inflicted with a painful skin disease. His wife looked at him and asked if he were ready to curse this God that refused to protect him and just die. His response, “You speak as a foolish woman speaks. Should we only accept good from God and not adversity?” The verse goes on to say that Job, throughout all of these trials, did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:9-10) God is my God in both the valleys and on the mountaintop!
The easy thing is to wallow in self-pity, miss my K-man, and never fully recover. Had Job done that, he would have missed a lifetime of blessings that was still his to receive.
I am resigned to say, “Father, I am here to receive your blessings!”
“See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the Lord of Hosts.
– Malachi 3:10(b)-11