Monday, October 4, 2010

Four Years...

Most days, I climb all over my own nerves. I don’t know what it is, but I personify the statement, “I am my own worst enemy.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m no self-loather. But, I am VERY aware of who I am outside of my Savior…and I’m just not much on that chick. I wish she would leave me alone.
Today is October 4th, 2010. It is my mother’s 61st birthday (although don’t mention it to her, for heaven’s sake), it is a Monday all-around, and it is the fourth anniversary of the day we buried Chad.
I haven’t written in some time and that is, for the most part, attributed simply to time. This isn’t something I can do quickly, or without significant emotion because that’s just the nature of the material, not to mention it’s just plain how I tick, and so…I just have to accept the fact I can’t do this as much as I would like. At least for now. There are only 24 hours in any given day, and mine are slam full. At least those hours that have internet access…
Also, can I share? I have a couple of friends whose blogs I follow and, as much as I have enjoyed them, they also seriously depress me about my own. Both of these girls are new moms and, even though they, like all new moms, are struggling through that adjustment period, the process is still a blessing. It’s a lot of fun to read, and really interesting. It makes my blog seem…so…sad. I’m SO sure that some folks see that I have posted a new entry and would rather poke their own eye out than to open up my blog…read it…and wind up in the corner sucking their thumb.
I just don’t like being that girl.
What to do? What to do? Well, I just have to post today. No way am I passing up an opportunity to honor my brother’s memory on this anniversary. And, to that point, Chad would be pretty irritated with me if all I did was depress people. I would tell him, “I am really trying to uplift them!” “I want to show them that there is light in the darkness! It’s Jesus!” He would concede and giggle, happy that he had ribbed me and I had indeed reacted.
Oh! I do have a story.
So, I don’t know if I have posted the penny story yet, but I will give you all the quick version to give you some background before I tell my new and updated version. I’m clear as mud, I know.
Right before Chad got sick the final time with his brain tumor, Brooke had been reading a book. I don’t know the book, but she shared with us…after the fact…that it had encouraged her to pick a tangible, worldly object to remind her of God. The point was, when she saw that object she would be reminded that God was there and He loved her, had a plan for her, and was with her always.
Brooke picked a penny.
She was the only one in town when Chad got sick that day, and it landed on her shoulders to drive him to the ER in Charlotte to meet his oncology team. He was only semi-conscious, could only speak in slurs. So, there she goes. By herself with this incredibly sick man all the way to CMC. She said it seemed like it took ages to get there, and that once they did doctors and nurses came in and out and told her all sorts of things she didn't understand. All she could say was, “Please come back when his dad gets here. Please come back and tell his dad.” She said as soon as she was alone, she looked at Chad, totally unconscious at this point, and said something along the lines of, “Chad, I don’t know what to do. I’m scared.” Just then, she looked down…
A penny.
Right there in the middle of the exam room in the ER. A beautiful penny.
It changed her. Really, it changed all of us. To this day, pennies hold special significance. I don’t see a penny without thinking of God’s faithfulness and love to Brooke in that moment. That’s my Jesus. That’s the Jesus He longs to show each of us, if we would only bother to look for Him…
So, Thursday evening my mom and I were driving to the mountains, and I stopped sort of randomly, not one of our regular pit stops, to use the “powder room.” (No comments, please!) My mom stayed outside with the dogs and I went inside. As soon as I walked in the Ladies Room, I saw it.
A penny. In the toilet bowl.
This is the perfect illustration of my relationship with my brother. Something so sweet and thoughtful…with a brilliant, dirty little twist. Stinker.
I had to laugh. It was perfection. Don’t let anybody tell you that Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humor. If you miss it, you’ve missed a blast. And I can just imagine He has one of those smiles that is so radiant it could make your heart stop…don’t you think? I think I saw it Thursday night. Four years to the day that we sat vigil, waiting for Jesus to come and take Chad Home. Four years to the day that I thought my heart would stop along with his…and four years to the day that I saw life and victory over death. The darkness simply cannot overtake the Light…
Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn't put it out.
John 1:3-5, The Message

This time every year, and every day in between, I will not mourn. I will celebrate the life of Chad Sullivan. I don’t want it to be depressing. I hope you all see…

The darkness cannot, and did not, overcome the Light.

Ephraim.