'This was my pile' is the text that Jeremy sent to Grace a little over a year ago accompanied by a photo of a mound of crumpled and wet tissues sitting on the coffee table that resides in his family room. The photo was taken shortly after we had shared with Caroline, Ariel, and Jeremy the latest not-so-great-news regarding Grace’s health. Their sister and friend was going to die. Most likely within the next few months. After sharing the news with them, all 3 indicated an immediate desire to go to the hospital to be with their sister and friend. As they entered Grace’s hospital room, Grace asked them, ‘Ok, so tell me the truth. Who cried the most?’ They all agreed that it was a tie, but that Jeremy definitely generated the most snot.
I happen to adore the photo that Jeremy sent to Grace and that is because each one of Jeremy’s tear-soaked tissues represented a special memory, an inside joke, a fun experience, time spent together, a sleepover, a movie watched, a shared smile, a game played, a past hug or an ‘I love you.’ Essentially Jeremy’s pile of tissues was a symbol of a life well lived with a dear and much loved friend, and the pile was so big only because so was his love for his friend Grace.
Whenever I look at the photo of Jeremy’s pile of tissues, I often wonder, ‘How big will my pile be?’ In other words, am I living a life worthy of a pile of crumpled up tear-soaked tissues on a coffee table? Jeremey’s beautiful pile of tissues for Grace inspires me to want to continue to live the life that God meant for me to live on this side of Heaven. I am still here and want to continue to live in a manner that honors God’s purpose for my life, Grace’s well-lived life, as well as Jeremy’s tears.
I want to live my own left-life in a manner that boldly states that Grace’s life mattered, Ariel and Caroline’s tears mattered, and so did Jeremy’s snot (smile). These thoughts give me courage and energy and a desire to try and make a difference.
If sadness is the burden that I must carry every day, then I also choose for hope to be my strength. Hope for a day in which there will no longer be a pile of tear-soaked tissues on a coffee table for a loved friend who is about to die from the leading cause of death of children…cancer.
My hope this year is that every one of the strokes I swim at Lake Lanier will be the reason for one less tear-soaked tissue for somebody else's loved one.
More hope...fewer tears.
Just like Grace did, we should all contunue to choose hope. Why? Because hope has no finish line.
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‘God only knows why love is drenched in tears. Maybe that’s what makes it love.’