It’s been a year of rising, and we completed our music launch of our #11daysofgoodgrief on December 1st from Atlanta. My brother-in-law liked the weather of the day and asked [even though I’d been crying hard all morning and declared it a car-ride-so-no-makeup day] if I would sit and re-shoot the footage for the medical timeline video that he was beginning to piece together. It really was much better than the other setting, so we did it. Raw and real. We finished that effort, had lunch together, and then I made certain that the year-mark post that would automatically release at 5:11 a.m. was set. Finally, we began the trip home to North Carolina.
Then came the morning. December 2, 2016.
To all of our surprise, our hearts were buoyant! The sun was shining brightly, and the trees and flowers in the yard seemed to glow the brightest superhero reds in the sunlight. A close friend greeted us with coffees, cocoas, and delivered us some hiking snacks; and we drove to Hanging Rock Park to hike the mountain together, the Shroyer3.
I realized a few things early on:
1) My late nights and early mornings of writing all week for the 11 days of good grief were both emotional as well as tiring. My whole self — body, soul, and spirit — were… tired. To the extreme! I wondered how I’d get my body to the top. I hated this feeling, as this was honestly the first time in my life that hiking was in any way a struggle. Go figure. It symbolized the year that I have spent, not caring fully for ME, and I told the Lord, “Okay, I get it. I will rise in this area!”
2) Everything in me became determined to rise to new purposes, and I prayed that a natural opening of connection and purpose would flood the hearts of the kids without my having to push it.
Something wonderful happened as we hiked. We sort of took turns with moments of struggle, and as one would stumble, the others would immediately ask, “You okay?” And this ping-ponged from one to another, around, and back again. I was enjoying this natural care, void of frustration, as we waited, encouraged, and helped each other along the hard climb.
Then, it happened.
Sadie began to talk about the footing, the large rocks, and how some steps were harder than others, and that we just kept pushing and pressing forward.
Quietly, I said, “A lot like our year.”
SUDDENLY, she sat down on a boulder, turned to face me, and exclaimed, “MOM!!! You JUST changed this entire experience for me!”
I replied, “Did you not know that this hike today was for a special reason?”
“NO! Oh, Mom! I totally should have known that you were doing something meaningful! Brilliant!”
The rest of our conversations up the mountain — and as we ate our lunch at the top — were full.
We made our way back down, throwing out ideas — other ways that we can commemorate rising every year on December 2nd. Perhaps more hikes, or hot air balloon rides. The list grew and grew.
We prayed with each step, asking God to lift us to His aerial perspective from time to time, in order for us to rise and rise again, so not to collapse under the weight of the loss that we oftentimes feel.
I asked the kids to pause in this opening, and I told them the meaning of the words, “He hides me in the cleft of the rock.” We are still safe. We are still so very loved. And we are thankful for the year of God’s Faithfulness.
So, here we are.
On the One-Year-Closer, we hiked. And together, we celebrated a forever love for – and from – our Champion.
Then, two days after the hike to Hanging Rock, from the same stage as last year’s Memorial Celebration, we had a night of song-sharing and worship with friends and family, releasing the songs from The Good Grief Project.
I’m not gonna lie. I have had some fear that once we passed these milestones, that I might collapse. But those thoughts are imagined and powerless fears only. And fear is like the shadow of a passing train. It can pass over me without actually doing anything TO me. No, there is no truth in such fear.
We are continuing to rise. To write. To dream. To share. To move forward.
In ministry. In life. And now in the hopes to advocate some awakening within the medical care community.
As you follow along over the next several days, you will read of our special thanks to musicians, arrangers, producers who gave of their best to help us make great music. You will read about the ministry, what’s coming, and how to support forward ministry movement. And now, you will read about ways to rise up in areas of health and care.
Thank you for joining us on this climb!
I pray that it will be worth every step, and that we will have eyes opened to see from a higher plane. And like my kids and I, may we begin to have meaningful conversations while we help each other find better footing along the journey’s way. Even if the path is one less traveled. I know there are sojourners out there marking the way. We intend to find them.
Together, we will rise.