|Ryan's workmates from |
Dirksen Construction made his coffin
|Friends leaving messages|
|As unconventional as it gets.|
|Resting among the mountains he loved.|
|Mom leaving her rock for the Carina |
a mound of stones to direct a path-
|Goodbye is not forever my son.|
Big breath...heavy sign...it is finished. The rush to celebrate Ryan's life well and in a way that he would want is over. Ryan's outer body is buried in love and his soul is dancing with Jesus. As you can imagine, we experienced extreme highs and lows yesterday. But overall, it was a day of celebration. I think Ryan was giving us one of his huge smiles saying, "Good job Dad and Mom. You did the best you could within the confines of the world's conventions."
I was so extremely blessed with the hundreds of people that came out to celebrate Ryan's life. I hear there were hundreds. I hear there were a few buses of kids from Ryan and Luke's high school. I say "hear", because I was so shored up by the Lord that I really only saw the immediate area around me. One of Ryan's friends from Canada brought me some "Happy Tea" she and Ryan loved. I'm not sure what was in it, but I do know I felt an inner strength through the day that was definitely from my Savior, and maybe a little Happy Tea. Thanks Natalie.
The worship during Ryan's funeral was, for me, an out of body experience. I felt so close to my Jesus, and my son. I now wish I would have turned around to see if others felt the same thing. I pray they did. But for me, I felt Ryan dancing along side of me, raising his hands and praising our Lord, unashamed. Some of you are asking how I could be praising the Lord when he took my son. I can and I did and I will. We sang a song that I have wept through many times in my life, "Blessed be Your Name." There is a phrase that says, "He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away. My heart will CHOOSE to say, blessed be your name." There have been so many times in my life when my heart has been broken, torn, confused, joyful, etc....but no matter what my heart has felt, I purpose to CHOOSE to say, "Blessed be His name". Why would I do that? Because, what is the alternative? Depression, giving up, sinking, despair.....these are all words I want as little part of as possible. I cannot manufacture the kind of strength this journey is going to require of me. So no way would I rely on myself to get me through. Why not allow myself to be shored up and strengthened. It seems like a no brainer to me.
I want you to know that because I am relying on God's strength this doesn't mean I won't allow my heart to feel the loss. I am confident I can grieve and feel strengthened at the same time. Last night Tom and I had our first moment of being in a "normal" conversation with someone and then realizing, "Oh, Ryan was going to help us put on a new roof this summer." Yes, our eyes teared up, our hearts felt that vise come over us, but we felt it and then moved on. That is going to be the choice we will have to continually make. Some days it will be easier than others.
Tom and I attend Woodmen Valley Chapel (WVC). I cannot tell you how incredible the support and love we have received from them has been. More shoring up from the Lord. WVC has been diving into the many tough questions of Christianity. Wouldn't you know, this Sunday's topic is, "Is there life after death?" Of course that is the topic for this Sunday. That is how God works. They have asked if they could share Ryan's story during this service. I believe they took video of Ryan's funeral and will be showing parts of it. We didn't bat an eye and said we would be honored. Hundreds of people were impacted by Ryan's death and life at the funeral and wake. Thousands will be impacted now through WVC's 5 services this weekend. We couldn't be more honored and thrilled.
If you are dealing with this question, please attend one of these services. And please, keep sharing your stories with us. I already know of lives that were changed. We need to keep hearing the impact God is making on people's lives through our son's life, and death.
Thank you friends. We love you all. Those we know and those we don't.