Today is my half birthday and my brother's birthday. He would be 30 today. I can't even imagine it?! He would probably be married w/ kids (I can't dwell on the nieces and nephews part...that is too much) and have a real job and a house and a yard? C.r.a.z.y. The fact that he died at 20 is somehow appropriate...though obviously too soon. See, he was just a big kid (emphasis on big...like SUPER tall!!!). He loved video games and skate boarding and telling jokes and drinking coke and eating Captain Crunch and hanging on my mom. And this is how he will always be. Never an adult/legal. He was a goof. I can totally see his face and hear his laugh! I would decorate his ceiling on his birthday. Carefully balancing on the edge of his bed and taping the streamers to the ceiling so that when he woke up he'd feel special. Once I planned a surprise party for him. There are people that you can do special things for and never really feel like it meant as much to them as you had hoped. He was not one of these people. He was always good to let you know what it meant to him. I wish we could talk about memories together b/c mine is so bad. But most of all I wish I could tell him how much I've learned from him. I knew he loved better than me. He was never judgmental...it probably came from being judged so much himself. He had a soft spot for the underdog. He was super generous...this certainly came from my dad. And he was crazy about my mom. He was never embarrassed to put his arm around her or hold her hand. He thought she hung the moon (and I'm pretty sure she did ;)! It's hard not to get choked up when I think about what my kids are missing out on by him being gone. He loved kids and would have been the best uncle ever. His endless energy and sense of humor would have been the perfect combination for fun!!! Not to mention the size of his heart which even surpassed his shoe size!!! He always had an excess of love and nieces and nephews would have been the perfect thing for him. But at the same time, I see so much mercy in his passing. He did not suffer. The amount of peace that provides is priceless. The other thing that is counted as mercy in his passing is the journey our family has gone on because of it. Where we started was where anyone who lost a child/sibling would be....hell. It took many years for my parents to find healing. They still hurt. Losing a child is different from any other kind of loss...but because of it, because of the brokenness that it caused, God was able to perform a miracle in my Dad's life. Out of respect for my Dad I won't go into all the details, but Dad was touched by God in a way that I have never known (personally) anyone to be touched. Through this miracle (and I don't use the word lightly) his heart softened to the point that he was able to know God...instantly. His relationship w/ God is like nothing I've ever seen and it has changed. our. lives. It is the most amazing gift b/c through it we have in turn been able to see God like we had never seen Him before. His goodness and graciousness is in all things...and we are able to see that now. There is a lightness it has brought that is priceless!!!! We don't know all the whys that come from losing someone, but we are certainly able to see the blessings. I will document all the details someday, though not on this blog, b/c it is a legacy like no other and I'm so thankful that my children get to have it. God is so good. Even in suffering. And I have no doubt that healing.....true spiritual healing, can only come from brokenness....true, undeniable brokenness. It's the only way we are willing to open our hearts enough to see Him w/o all the indoctrinations of our past. We get it.....and it's b/c of Ryan. Eucharisteo! Eucharisteo!!!
"I pray that out of his glorious riches the Father may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
I love this verse. And I can say that I DO grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is. Beauty for ashes. Thank you Father and thank you Ryan. Happy Birthday little brother :)