My son is on the field playing.
It is his first game.
It is my younger son. Now a High Schooler.
I have sat in these bleachers for 4 years watching.
The memories are overwhelming.
These are new days. A new team.
A friend joins me.
Her sons gone to college. Mine to heaven.
She sits with us.
To help me through this day.
While I sit in the sun; missing Elijah.
I receive a text.
It is a text I don't want to read.
You see last Fall, we were blessed.
A man with a desire to serve.
A heart full of love.
He came and he gave.
He hugged us.
He breathed life into us.
He made sure we had wood.
He was relentless in his commitment and urgency filled with grace.
His energy contagious.
His hugs and words uplifting.
A gleam in his eyes reflecting the joy of the risen Lord.
We did not have to worry all winter. There was plenty.
Before there was cancer.
Before we knew the depth of the cold that would not let go.
Wood was not a worry.
When the effects of chemo and radiation raged;
there was only the task of filling the boilers.
No endless trips to the woods.
There was grace. A gift.
We were warm.
On the coldest of days.
Gratitude poured from my heart with each passing day.
All throughout the winter.
Gratitiude. Each day.
One man's passion.
One man's gift.
As Winter gives way to Spring;
He is at it again.
The passion intense.
A focus, a desire to meet a need. To help relieve my farmers load.
To help restore his joy.
But the text tells me a different story.
This man with the passion.
This man with a heart of gold.
Has now entered heaven's gates.
His residence with the King of Kings.
And just for a moment.
I am shocked.
And I struggle.
I have so many questions.
Guilt slides in like the slithery snake it is.
My heart weighs heavy.
A heart that is already fragile.
This encouraging, Godly man.
Who loved coffee. Who loved his family so dearly.
Reaching out to serve.
In the blink of an eye.
None of this caught God off guard.
None of this.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your
book before one of them came to be.
There is joy in the home going.
We rejoice in Elijah's place with our Savior.
We rejoice over Carl's presence in Glory.
But oh, how our hearts ache.
How the questions fill my being.
Thank you Carl, for your gift.
Thank you for an undying commitment to that which you believed and loved.
I am sure, that as God ushered you through those gates.
You my friend, heard those precious words.
"Well done, good and faithful servant."
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,