leaving

018she sat by the door- waiting to go on a journey somewhere she’d never been.
there wasn’t much need for suitcases, because she couldn’t take much with her.

she didn’t really want to leave, but at the same time, was ready to go.

and so she held on to the only things she could.  her faith, the beauty of her thoughts, and the sacredness of her years on this earth.  she held every moment that had been ordained and given her by the One who bends low with tender whispers of grace and comfort and goodness.

she had fought hard for her life.

the past years had been spent waiting.  fighting and waiting.  back and forth.
waiting for tests.  for scans.  for results.

waiting for phone calls.  for news.  good news.   clean scans.

and all the while fighting for hope.  to believe that God was in this and up to good.
she had spent hours at doctors appointments and endless trips to hospitals…and she had been a brave warrior.  even choosing to laugh sometimes at the ridiculousness of it all. the humbling and sometimes humiliating battle with this fierce foe called cancer.

009but even the strongest, bravest warrior gets weary of the battle.  because waiting and hoping take a toll on the inside…where no one else sees or lives,but you.  and somehow the inside has turned against itself.  and there is nothing to be done in protest of this self destruction. the medicine and doctors have had their say, even faith and prayers called upon in lavish amounts.   but in the end , all have fallen short of healing on this side of living.  so, in the most tender way, this makes the soul ready.

the eyes begin to adjust to another reality.  another realm.

one that lies beyond what can be recognized right away.  because it’s covered by haze and chaos- and hidden in the depths of the human soul.  it is the glory that spills out from the eternity that is deposited in us.  placed there by God Himself.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.   Ecclesiastes 3:11

and eternity calls to us like a homing beacon- becoming clearer and louder- the closer we get.  and Jesus face becomes clearer and clearer too as all else slips into the background.

all the allure and wonder of living begin to unravel as the eyes of the heart are set on eternity.  God designed it to go this way.  to pull us forward to our truest home and prepare us to let go.

and He had been preparing her too…with His unwavering presence.

letting go feels strange and unnatural at first because from life’s first cry, we cling to this world.  the oxygen fills our lungs and our hearts beat with a rhythm all our own.  unique and beautiful.
strong.
ready to find our way.
eager and hopeful.
she had so many years filled with goodness, growing, loving and offering her beauty to the world around her.  giving herself away to so ,so many.  leaving her mark on the lives she touched with her gentle , deep and piercing presence.

and she has left her mark on my soul too…in the most profound and comforting way.

Michelle, you are so dearly loved.
loved beyond words and beyond explanation. i want you to know it. and carry it to the end.
because you are the reason i write.  you and i are two of a kind and that has anchored me in ways i cannot explain.

this is how i know – without a doubt- that the human soul is a sacred thing.  and an eternal thing.   it is beyond words.  beyond telling and beyond replacing.
jamie's photos 407

we NEVER forget those we know and love because they become indelibly part of us.

the impact of one life is immeasurable.
it’s magic in the deepest, most lovely way.

the human soul….
eternal.
inexplicable.
divine.
set apart.
the treasure chest that God deemed His very dwelling place.

so, my dear friend, always know that i will carry you wherever i go.  on every mountain top, on every ocean shore and in every beautiful breathtaking moment where words of explanation escape me…  knowing you would understand how i feel without the words anyway.

your leaving will leave holes and ache and unbelievable sorrow. it even feels weird writing this now, while i can still see you face to face.  but i know that you would want us all to be reminded of the glory to come.
and to be reminded to hold life loosely and embrace the chapters yet unwritten … where the real living will be just beginning. and as C.S. Lewis says ,  these are the chapters that go ever on and on.

“Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story no one on earth has ever read, which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before.”                       – C.S. Lewis  The Last Battle

020

for Michelle, i won’t say good-bye but instead, see you on the other side.

by His immeasurable grace, xxoo jamie

 

 

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12 Responses to leaving

  1. Love this so much, just as we love Michelle… Beautifully said, dear friend. Thanks for sharing💗

    • jamjobryan says:

      thank you Kar-Lai …what a humbling honor to express the affection we all carry for our dear Michelle. She has always been my biggest cheerleader, so it’s only right that these words written for her would impact so many !! makes me smile just thinking about it ❤
      grace to you, xxoo jamie

  2. Beautiful and so true! Thank you for writing this to honor our friend Michelle.

  3. Anne Wenger says:

    Poignant words, but oh so true. Thanks for sharing this for Michelle. I never met her in person but have followed her journey because of a link to losing a loved one to cancer. She has blessed me too, and I look forward to meeting her around the throne of God one day!

    • jamjobryan says:

      thank you Anne for reading and sharing in this journey with Michelle…being her friend has enriched and carried me so many times in my darkest hours. I love that she has done that for so many through her story. now we get to carry her ❤ by grace, jamie

  4. This was so beautiful Jamie. Thank you for sharing with all of us who love Michelle so much.

  5. Mike Adamson says:

    This is spectacular. A gift to Michelle. Insight for the rest of us. Thanks Jamie.

  6. Pingback: Celebrating a life well-lived – restorative space

  7. Emily Conrad says:

    Thank you for the gift of this perspective, this reminder. I don’t know Michelle personally, but I have followed her updates. She makes a difference in the lives of so many she hasn’t even met.

  8. Brad Daubenspeck says:

    So well spoken. There are nany of us who fumble with our words and can’t quite put it all down. Michelle so many folks are feeling these sane emotions these days. You have blessed us by your presence in our lives. God used you to show us his love. Know this you have lived the days He gave you well. You lived them to His glory. I know you will soon most likely see Jesus as we tethered here can only imagine and when you out do I have no doubt his first words to you will be, “well done.”

  9. Suzy Wasmuth says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to Michelle, a daughter of God who has served Him for so many years and has had such a profound influence on countless people in her short lifetime. She has meant so much to me personally as I have watched her from the time she began teaching in Oshkosh to her to her surrendering her life to God and making such an impact for Him as she served at CRU. I can hardly wait to see her in heaven!

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