We had to get out of the house today. At first we were going to drive down the road. Then it was 20 minutes down the road. We finally stopped an hour later. Matt and I looked in four stores for the right picture frames for Joshua's pictures. (That's unusual because we normally buy those clearance picture frames...)
After a bunch of wandering aimlessly through stores we stopped at a park for Oceana to play. As we drove up we saw our friend Andrea's car. Andrea's husband died last year... exactly one year before Joshua was born. He was 33 years old. I can't think of many people I wanted to see today - but Andrea was in the top three. We talked for over an hour. It was so good to see her, to know that someone (who's not out there in blogland) understands what's going on in my life.
She kept saying, "This isn't supposed to happen. No matter what people say is the purpose, death isn't supposed to happen." At first I thought, maybe she's not thinking straight. As I thought about it more, I realized something that transformed my thoughts about death.
When Adam and Eve were created there was no sin in the world - no mess, no problems, no pain, no sickness, no death. God created humans with no intention of them dying. It's because of our affinity to doing the wrong thing that caused death in the world. I think that's why death is so hard for people to walk through. It's because we were never created to cope with death. We were created to live.
God walks through life with us. God's walking through Joshua's journey with us. But that doesn't make his passing any less painful - except that we know Joshua's before the Lord. We know Joshua's not in pain, not sick, not deformed. We know he's as happy as can be. Death still stinks.
Another thing that meant a lot to me today was a conversation I had with my friend Peka. Peka told her daughters Keryn and Jerusha that Joshua went to be with Jesus and that he was dancing before the Lord, being held by him.
Several hours later the girls came back to her and said, "Mum, is that really true?" I think in their 14-and-11-year-old-ness they thought their mum was sugar-coating things. Peka repeated to me, what she told them. "There's no sickness and pain in Heaven. Joshua's with Jesus. Don't you think Jesus would let Joshua play since he didn't get to play here?"
What a refreshing way to think about it. Because sometimes when I hear "Joshua's playing in heaven", "Joshua's dancing in heaven", "Joshua's an angel"... I sort of hear it, but glaze over. But I know God is truly gracious and loving - compassionate and amazing.
Joshua gets to move without his encephalocele. How perfect. And when I see him, I'll have to see which baby my great-grandmother's holding so I recognize him - since I'd be looking for his cele anyways.... (J/K)
And thank you for praying - Matt's feeling much better. And I don't feel sick at all.
Oceana needs more hugs, kisses, and time with Mummy and Daddy. I think in our grief we sort of fobbed her off on her grandparents when she really needs us - to know she's not forgotten.