It's been four years since I've seen you face to face. Four years since I've heard your voice. Four years since I've talked to you. Four years. I can't even fathom it. I miss you with an ache that won't be assuaged. I cried while driving home tonight because I miss you. Colleges and schools started back up several weeks ago, and I tried so hard to ignore it. I tried to ignore all the back-to-school pictures. I tried to ignore them because what follows those pictures is the thought, "I wonder what Matt..." and I can't go there. But I don't do very well at ignoring, as you well know. I don't do very well at stuffing, either, as you also know.
I long to know what you'd look like now, four years later. I want to know where you'd be working, and if you'd be dating. I want to know if you'd be going to school or if you'd have just gotten an awesome computer job somewhere. I want to know if you'd still be in town or if you'd have "flown the nest." I want to see if you'd still have a buzz cut or if you'd grown a beard. I want to know what you'd sound like and how much you'd have grown. I see your friends at church, and I notice how much they've changed in four years, and I wonder how much you would have changed.
My heart aches. It aches daily. Most days, the ache is a faint vibration. But other days, like today, it hurts. It hurts so much so that it takes my breath away. I try to repeat God's promises and truth. I try to listen to the praise and worship music, but some days it all just gets drowned out by the pain. Some days, I'm just too tired to fight for joy. Some days I flat-out fail at being strong. I fail at being positive. I fail at believing the truth. Some days, I'm not content to wait, and I just want you back. Some days I am selfish, and all I want is another chance to live life with you.
I am weak, and I am not satisfied with *"stabs of joy." I want joy like I had it before. Before grief came. And days like these? They make me doubt that joy like that is ever possible again. Whew. What a mess I am, eh? You know, I often think back to shortly after you left for heaven when one of our dear family friends told me she had a dream about you. (I was so jealous.) In the dream, you stood there in typical Matt fashion with arms crossed and an attitude, that look, of "What's the big deal?" That was precious to me because that's exactly what you'd say, of course. And right now, you're probably saying, "Geez, Mom. Lighten up."
I went to bed last night, weary and exhausted, but encouraged. Matt, I am incredibly thankful for the moms I've met along this journey. I'm certain you know who I'm talking about, too! Just before I logged off last night I messaged a fellow grief mom. She commented in reply to a post about our kids in heaven saying, "I can just hear them, 'Why would we go back when we've got God!!'" To which I replied, "I am jealous. They really have it all, and I'm stuck here with my sucky attitude." She responded by saying, "I know!! They have it made! This life is a skip!!!! We will see them!" It was exactly the encouragement and hope I needed. This life is a "skip." I do not know when my time to join you will be, but I do know it will be one of the best days of my life.
I don't have to rush time, either, I know. This life is short. Pain obscures time, makes it seem as if the clock hands never move. But pain is a liar. How precious to me are the words now of 2 Corinthians 4:17.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.Though we certainly don't think our trials are light and momentary, from God's perspective they are. And not only that, but they are achieving something. There is purpose in them. They are achieving an eternal glory. A glory that far outweighs them all. Thank you, Jesus, that these sufferings are not forever. Thank you, Father, that they are not in vain. Thank you for being my comforter and for sending others who comfort, as well.
I miss you, son. I miss you so much at times that I'm certain my heart has failed to beat. But just know that with this great sorrow comes an even greater love. And love is eternal.
See you in a snap.
*The 'stabs of joy' phrase is from Ch. 6 of the book, "Room of Marvels: A Story about Heaven that Heals the Heart" by James Bryan Smith.