Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Ripple Effect..............

Yesterday was an incredible day.  It was filled with extreme highs and lows.  I started out strong and that was good, because much strength was required. 

It felt as though we were preparing for a wedding with all the day's details, yet my heart lurched at the idea of going to the celebration.  But I continued to put one step in front of the other, doing what was required.   

The hardest part of the day was going to the funeral home to pick up Ryan's personal items, delivering the pillow and blanket he would forever lay his head and body on, and watching the delivery of his coffin that his wonderful co-workers from Derkson Construction made.  The coffin is beautiful and was made with such love and care.  But it was hard to enjoy the beauty when I knew what it's final destination would be.  As we drove home I knew a houseful of wonderful, loving relatives would await me and my heart just felt more and more compressed.  My resolve of strength I felt in the morning was quickly fading.  I decided it was a good time for everyone to go and find their rock to bring to Ryan's graveside so that I could regroup and shore up my strength again.....for the Wake was ahead.  I am so grateful for understanding family as they quickly scurried and gave me the space my heart was requiring.

After a bit of rest we headed to the Wake at the Sports Climbing Center.  I had a sense this would be an easier event than the funeral, but I had no idea the sense of celebration and affirmation it would bring.  The place was packed.  I regret I did not get to speak to everyone.  I'm told I shouldn't feel bad about that, but it truly fills me up to hug those that loved Ryan and love our family.  There were people there from all over.  People who just had to come and celebrate Ryan's life. Yes, there were some tears...but mainly smiles and laughter as person, after person, after person shared their stories of Ryan and the impact he had on their lives.  He made impact through his smile, his daily texts, his humour, his word.... his heart.  I just kept thinking, "RIPPLE".  His life had a ripple effect as he lived his life fully.  It was a good reminder that each one of our lives have a ripple effect.  Our choices don't just impact us.  How we choose to live out our laughter, our sorrow, our anger, our joy, all ripples into the world making impact.  I was able to walk out of the climbing center last night with a peaceful heart.  My son, while not perfect, chose to use his life to impact the world with encouragement, laughter, and depth of heart.  Is there anything more a mom could have asked for?

I've sat here a bit wondering if I should share this next part.  But my mantra these past few days has been, "It is what it is and I want to be reel."  One of my son's friends has been wrestling with what caused Ryan's accident.  There have been all sorts of theories and the one we had been told is that a pin broke or slipped out, which caused his fall.  It didn't really set well with some that had climbed with him and knew his abilities.  One of his friends decided to make the accent and retrace his steps.  What he found is that the pin was intact.  His other friends examined his equipment and saw that nothing had broken or frayed...everything was as it should be.  Our only conclusion is that it was a divine moment.  It was a moment where Ryan's Saviour said, "Son, your life can now do more good with you by my side."  Some of you may real from that conclusion.  Some may wonder how that could be a loving God.  But this mom's heart finds much peace in that.  My son did not make a mistake, it wasn't an accident or an error in judgement.......God chose him to make a HUGE ripple effect in this world.  As one of Ryan's sweet friends said, "Ryan fell down, to go up".

So grieve with me only momentarily but then allow this event to have the impact that was intended.  Don't put off tomorrow what God wants to do in your heart today.

P.S.  I know there will be hard days ahead. I'm not kidding myself.  But as one mom shared with me yesterday....on those hard days I will cling to the "Whole Story" of why his absence is necessary.  I will allow the pain of the absence of life but will purpose to live in the glory of the reason for the absence.


  1. Gail,
    I have never met you or your son, but I want you to know you are inspiring me, spiritually and as a fellow "mom," during our own difficult family crisis. It is bringing me so much strength and hope. I linger on your every word - your ripple is felt too. We have four small children and I hope I can be half the mom you are - stay strong. Much love, Sarah Murphy (Kevin's wife)

  2. Mrs. Wahl,

    Thank you for sharing about his equipment. My heart goes out to you and your family when I think about what happened, because I've been thinking about it a lot. What a blessing to hear about how is equipment was still good, the Lord must have been so excited to have Ryan with Him for Easter and eternity! Bless you, Mrs. Wahl. We're all praying for you and your family.

    Hayley Hermstad

  3. Gail, I only know of you and your story through your sister Heidi. Hearing the pain your family is experiencing brought me to click on this link so I could see if there is anything I can do. But your words were so transparent and beautiful that I started typing this thinking "God already has it under control" Your affirmation that God knew that Ryan's place was with Him is both heartbreaking as a fellow mother, but beautiful in the sense that you are able to see the ripple effect that started before you ever even knew your beautiful son. Thank you for your words, and I won't stop praying for you and your family!

  4. Wow! I'm so glad you shared that part of the story...Mick being a rock climber was having a difficult time understanding the fall as well. He figured we had the story wrong. AND WE DID! Our God is and Awesome God! Our love and prayers go with you today!

  5. Praying for you,and I am enjoying in a spiritfilled way how I see God in all of it.It's inspiring,encouraging,convicting and sobering.Their are many that he may never had an opportunity or likelyhood of impacting alive,but Ryan certainly is having a huge impact now while up with Christ,the angels and saints.Feeling very privledged to be a part of something,and being blessed to have had a glimpse into the crazy,risk taking,out of the box kind of Christ follower that Ryan was.Hugs,hugs,hugs.My heart is growing and healing.Thank you Ryan Wahl.

  6. Gail,

    I don't even know what to say but thank you. 25 years ago an incredible man died and I did have anyone to share his life or his death with. I have not talked of him often because most don't understand. Reading your blog is like a healing balm on my heart.

  7. As a youth leader at Woodmen, I knew who Ryan was but not sure I ever had the opportunity to meet him or have a conversation with him. But I'm blown away by the impact this young man has made on the youth in our church. I'm watching several of my girls be encourage, be inspired, be challanged to be more for Jesus because of the example that Ryan was. And you are an inspiration of a woman clinging to the Lord in her deepest pain and sorrow. Who's being honest of how she's feeling but yet choosing to still trust the Lord in those moments. You family is already making a huge impact in lives that they have never even met, like mine. Thank you for sharing your journey and impacting mine. My heart, thoughts and prayers for with all of you today. May the peace of the Lord surround your family.

  8. This is the song I was thinking of when I read the response from Jordan Robertson, who said, "If there was ever a man who had the ability to see only adventure in the world, it was Ryan Wahl. I miss you, brother. A lot. And I know that the streets that are paved with gold are being run with your bare feet. You've made an everlasting imprint on all of our hearts." Check it out on Youtube.

    Heaven Song - Phil Wickham

    Jordan Egli (a friend of Ryan)

  9. Wow Gail - thank you so much for sharing your incredible faith with us. I know it comes from the Lord Himself. How wonderful to know Ryan made such a positive impact for Jesus, how wonderful to know he is still alive, how wonderful to know God just snatched him out of the air!! We'll meet him in the air with Jesus too! We love you and miss you and are always praying for you and your family. Sandie Davis

  10. <3 oh wow....that is so incredible that all the equipment was still good....i just can't believe that...

  11. I got chills reading that his equipment was in tact. How amazing and divine that our God would do such a thing. Praying for you and your family in these coming days.

  12. Dear Gail and family,

    You are in the middle of the funeral right now... and I am home with sick kiddos. My husband, brother, and father all worked with Ryan for two years with Dirksen Construction. Ryan painted the walls of the room I am sitting in... of the entire house actually.

    One day when he was working on our backyard he started talking to Jayden, my 5 year old son. Jay and I had been talking about the body of Christ... how some people are hands, or eyes, or ears. Ryan started talking about being Jesus's feet and bringing the news of Jesus to other countries - and that was when Jayden decided he also wanted to be feet. From then on he said, "Mom, I'm going to be the feet". ;)

    I can't help but wonder, as I read your blog, how you and Tom might start a ministry to help families grieve over the the loss of a child. Even in the construction of the casket for Ryan, our dear neighbors (who lost both of their children) were so comforted by simply allowing us to use their wood-shop.

    "...who comforts us in all our troubles,
    so that we can comfort others in trouble
    with the comfort we ourselves receive"
    2Corinthians 1:4

    I pray that the way is clear, and that God gives you clear and direct purpose as you seek him in the coming days.

    with love,
    Becky and family

  13. Gail,
    I know you and your son only through your sister, Heidi, but what I know is a lasting impression of love. Words can't describe the heartbreak I feel for you and your family, but your testimony is amazing. It touched my heart when I read, "Our only conclusion is that it was a divine moment". When I lost a loved one that's exactly how I felt, it gave me such peace to know there's a loving God who needed him home. Your son's life will touch people for years and years to come. I'm praying you and your family constantly.

  14. Tom & Gail,

    I can barely see the keys as I type, my tears are clouding my vision. I am joining you in your suffering so I can also join in the rejoicing of a life well lived. Oh how I wish I could be there to celebrate Ryan, it's super hard to be here and not there. But I know God has you covered and has shown His love and care as He has provided you with all you need to walk this journey. Not only has Ryan's life and his death made a difference in SO many lives, your blogging is daily blessing and challenging others to examine their lives and LIVE as Christ would have us to live.

    "I have come that you might have life, life abundant". Oh that we would live abundantly as Ryan did, not worrying about trivial things, but abandon all to bring Glory to our Lord.

    There is a line in one of the songs of our play that says "People never really leave you." Ryan's body has left but he hasn't really left us. His spirit and character lives on in our hearts, minds and in the lives of others. I pray that you will see the ripple affect often, especially at this moments when you are missing your boy.

    With love and care ~ Elisabeth (I'll see you in about a month!)

  15. Gail, I am glad you shared the climbing equipment portion with us. It just reminds me that God as the weaver has the record of all of our minutes in this tapestry and is very much aware that their can be no other option in order for life here on earth to carry on in His perfect plan. Right, it is not our plan, but we don't know what is up ahead. Again I say, your sacrifice and your righteousness is priceless in this time of great loss! Amen Sister!