Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Desert and the Josh Tree

This time two years ago ago we were preparing for your funeral. The shock of your death hung in the air like ghostly ice crystals on a crisp November morning.

You're probably used to a whole different way of keeping track of time now. But I'm staying with the boys - just like I was two years ago - and I'm listening to your buddy Oliver upstairs, on a take-your-kid-to-work morning, watching a video on his computer and chuckling every few seconds, and I'm wondering which job you would be going to shadow today, what you might be interested in perusing if high school were to loom large in your future.

I think of you often, boy I never met who, regardless, resides in my heart. I think of your parents and your sibs and your aunts and uncles.

This morning as I thought of them and prayed for them, the sweet promise of the prophet Isaiah came to my mind:

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1)

They have gone through the wilderness, your family has; they have lived in the solitary place. Grief is that way, as you know, Josh - it hits you in waves, sorrow smashing over you and pummeling you into the gritty sand you were trying to ignore below as you crested, happy and free, for a few seconds of bliss.

The desert of the verse in Isaiah is the beach minus the waves - nothing to exult in, to relieve the dryness, the sameness, the desolation.

The promise, though, is that there shall be tiny signs of life, there shall be tender shoots of joy that poke their heads up almost against their will. 

Remember my Josh Tree, named after you, the little lilac tree given me by BA and Deb? Someone expert in horticulture told me last year to pull it up, throw it out; there was no hope for that dead little twig, she said.

Here is how it looked this summer:

It was bursting with life and colour; and if you got close enough, you could catch a delicate perfume pushing its way determinedly from its blooms.

O Josh, there is life; there is hope, as we heard at your funeral:

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Just cry out to Jesus
Cry out to Jesus

When you're lonely and it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

But if you think your friends don't think of you, don't miss you still, listen to the song Oliver was playing on his guitar this morning, shortly after we had been talking about you. (I wonder, would Death Cab for Cutie have been one of your current favourite bands too?)

You are not forgotten, dear Josh ...

1 comment:

  1. "Home where there is no night
    Home where the sun shines so bright
    The place I've been dreaming of so long
    Loved ones there to welcome me
    But His sweet face will be the first I see
    When my journey's over I am going home"

    What a joy it is that we'll all get to meet each other in that sweet home to be even though we may seem so far away now.
    I love you Aunty Karyn! Have a great day!


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