A package came in the mail today.
It was from my cousin Seth.
I haven't seen Seth in years.
But social media reconnected us.
Our Mothers were the closest of friends.
Both now gone the way of the earth, through the ravages of cancer.
Reunited where they shall chat without ceasing for all of eternity.
Seth is in the Navy.
He is stationed in South Carolina;
where Elijah would attend boot Camp at Parris Island.
When Elijah enlisted in the Marines, I contacted Seth.
I had a list of concerns.
He encouraged me.
He spoke honestly and frankly.
My heart swelled with pride for the leadership our country has in it's military.
Our intent was to stay with Seth and his wife for Elijah's graduation.
Plans were being made.
Details still to be finalized.
But those details never happened.
Elijah left one night and never came home.
The Marines were at his funeral, but since he had not gone through boot camp he was not considered "one of their own." The dream of being a Marine now lies with him in the deep of the earth.
A package came in the mail.
It was a package filled with the greatest of honors.
My cousin sent a note:
There are no words to express how sorry I am for your loss. . . Though you will not get a chance to see Elijah graduate and earn that Eagle, Globe and Anchor, I have no doubt he is standing watch now, in the most fearless Corps this world has ever known.
Having served in the Navy now for 21 years, I have an appreciation for the flag that sometimes leaves me speechless. Last week I asked Brigadier General Reynolds if it would be possible to fly a flag over Parris Island in honor of Elijah, and she knew exactly who he was, and was more than willing as you can see by the included note from her. ( I did not include the note in the post)
The flag was folded by two duty Marines at the Headquarters building, and I placed it in the display. Though I did not have the chance to call Elijah shipmate, a term Marines laugh at every time they hear it, he was a fellow brother who answered the call to serve,
This is such an honor.
I am brought to my knees.
It was flown on his birthday, which was also his ship date.
The day he would have stood on the 2 yellow feet and begun his grueling journey to become a
United States Marine.
Now instead, He serves the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And we have begun a grueling journey of mourning.
Each day is different.
Each moment surrendered to our Father in Heaven.
There is no other way to turn.
At times I am paralyzed by the grief that overwhelms.
My heart hurts. . .
I long to see our boy.
I long to hear his voice.
Touch his skin or know what he is thinking.
Yet, this gift of the flag-another way God demonstrates how He loves and cares for us.
Seth didn't have to send that package. But he did. And we received grace.
I want to be present and not miss these glimpses of grace.
But I have to stay close to the LORD.
Because just a step away is darkness.
One week before Elijah died, he and his friend walked in late to Youth Group.
One of the Youth Workers told us that when they walked in, the kids started clapping.
And they continued. . .clapping. . .for a long time.
It wasn't a silly clap. . .this was different.
When the clapping finished.
There was silence.
She was struck by the honor these peers had for Elijah and his friend.
She was awed by that moment.
And when only one week later, Elijah was called home. . .
that moment struck her as even more powerful.
I also received a note yesterday from a woman.
She found our story because she saw the name "Elijah" and she has one. . .
and she built her house on a "Davis Farm". These were her words to me:
Please know that another mom is praying for you as you grieve. As you drink your coffee alone in the morning, another mom is here drinking coffee and lifting you up. As you pick out cereal and try to hold it together, another mom is praying. As you lay in bed at night unable to sleep, another mom is praying for rest for you. As you grieve with your family, another mom is praying you remember the funny things about Elijah, and that you laugh while you cry. Just know that God has laid you on another mom's heart, prayers and tears are going up before the throne on behalf of you and your family.....
As I put out my flag this morning. I think I will think of all those serving.
And my heart will be a little fuller for the honor bestowed on our family.
"This is where the healing begins, this is where the healing starts,
when you come to where you're broken within
The Light meets the dark "