September is upon us once again and, if I'm being honest, I dread it annually. Mostly because of the heartbreak that's occurred during the month in certain years. But because of the pain and the tears I've shed, I've learned to look back and cherish the times I've shared with those who have gone on to be with the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was just another day as a junior in high school on Sept. 11, 2012. It was my mother's birthday that day and I was already excited to get home and celebrate until Caleb didn't come to English class that day. Caleb was possibly the happiest person I knew in school and, thankfully, we were good friends in English class. He had huge ambitions for when he graduated. He was extremely smart and fond of reading, something I lacked in school, but admired of Caleb.
I can remember when I almost hurt myself trying to clear an entire flight of stairs while racing Caleb from the library to class. But with a pump in his walk, he won and made sure I knew it.
I had to say my goodbyes to my long-haired friend just three days after hearing the news. Days later, however, the entire student body at Taylor County High School felt the brunt of another loss that none of us were ready for. I wasn't ready, but I had to say my goodbyes to Angel in the pouring rain, a dedicated leader in 4-H and Taylor County High School's Junior ROTC program, and a very talented majorette. It hurt and still does as I write this.
I've heard it said that it takes 21 days to mend a broken heart. For some, it takes more than 21 days; more like a lifetime for others. The passing of a loved one, whether suddenly or expected, catches anyone off-guard. Grief comes in many forms and I do believe it is natural, even though I believe it's something that should not be as natural as it is.
The shortest verse in the Bible lets us know that Jesus himself had emotions, which in turn confirmed his humanity. In John 11:35, "Jesus wept." In the gospel of Matthew 5:4, we are informed that "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
When someone passes and steps into the Light of Jesus, we can be assured that they're in much better shape; no hurting, no pain. Why not be thankful for what they're experiencing? After all, they know more about Jesus than we ever will on this earth. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4)
Every other week, I stop in the cemetery where Caleb and Angel rest just a moment's walk away. As long as I shall live, I'll always remember their footprints in my life.
To my dearest Caleb and Angel, I love you both and miss you. Until we meet again, friends.