There are so many events that bring reminders of that time. Ordinarily, under normal circumstances, such events would not have been connected to Laynee in any way. However, given the fact that these were Laynee's lasts, they are forever linked to her and to that time. For example, Saturday morning Brock will run in the Wildcat invitational in East Peoria. This same meet last year was the last meet I had the pleasure of taking her to. I remember that meet with aching clarity and one thing shines above all else....Laynee was beautiful. Jamee and Jade will also run on Saturday, but being in high school, they will run in the Rochester Invitational, about an hour south of us. This meet was also held on the same day last year and my parents picked Jamee up on their way to Southern Illinois for our weekend away; our last pain free weekend. There are numerous similar events, which are forever connected, in my mind, to Laynee and her last days on earth.
If I've learned nothing else in the past year, I have learned that sometimes it is best to allow ourselves to simply BE. That is how we have made it this far. We have allowed each day, indeed each hour, to come and go. We have done what needed to be done without putting great expectations upon ourselves. We have survived but have not mastered this thing called grief. I, personally, have come to a point of acceptance that grief is a new and, very possibly, a forever part of who I am. We have learned and grown, not because we wanted to, but because life did not offer options. We have been real, perhaps the most real that we have ever been. We have been seen by many at our absolute worst. We have not pretended. We have not minced words. Pain and grief and sorrow have colored our vision in every aspect of life. We have gone through the motions of living, admittedly without a great deal of enthusiasm. For Jim and I, the greatest focus has been on the well being of our 5 living children. We have blindly navigated all of them through this valley that we find ourselves in. When we were forced into this journey, we had no idea how to do this, to simultaneously grieve death and celebrate life. We have come to the place that we are right now by doing nothing more than allowing ourselves to BE.
Our hearts, souls and minds have become a battlefield for light and darkness. The adversary has been ruthless in his quest against us. He knows that we are most vulnerable and has attacked us from every angle. With the love and strength of our Lord, we lift our heads, only to be slammed down again by our enemy. We are far beyond exhausted yet we know that as great as the adverasary is, our God is greater still. We rest in the assurance that someday we are going to be able to turn and look at our adversary and say "Nice try, but you did not get me." Through all of this, our God has not moved from his place on his throne.
As we enter into this Labor Day weekend, we will take the memories as they come, knowing that they must have their say. We will love our Lord and fight the enemy. We will do this the best way that we have learned how and that is to simply BE.
What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?