The Lord is close to the Brokenhearted.
He rescues those who are crushed in Spirit.
Today is your 35th Birthday.
The fact that you stopped blowing out your candles at 31 will never be forgotten.
But for the first time in 4 birthdays, I feel a hint of peace in today.
I ran past the accident site yesterday on my run.
I've never done that before.
I talked with your Mom in the afternoon.
Joanna and I made plans to celebrate YOU, together, next week.
When we were done, they came.
But fast and hot on my face.
I sat down and just let myself focus on all my memories of you.
And I remembered another candle you didn't get to blow out.
Owen's First Birthday.
Remember this day at the Park?
It was a great day.
A sunny day.
A fun, happy, busy, windy, crazy day.
Who knew it would be THE ONLY BIRTHDAY you'd ever spend with your son?
When it came time to give Owen his cupcake, you couldn't find the #1 candle.
You looked high and low.
I remember you going through the food and decorations, even the trash looking for it.
I remember saying something like "It's okay! No biggie. It's just a candle."
But it was big to you.
You were so mad at yourself for misplacing it.
Eventually you gave up the search and enjoyed the party.
Forgot your frustrations and relished watching Owen devour his cake.
I remember your laugh, your smile, your sense of wonder, joy and pride.
I remember how you didn't let a missing candle steal your chance to celebrate with your son.
YOUR ONE CHANCE.
It's weird how this memory made me feel good.
Actually made me laugh.
And then sigh.
Cause my sadness is still very real, and very present.
I still miss you and think of you almost every day.
But some of my anger is gone.
I've watched Owen blow out 3 more candles since that day.
I'm sure you have too.
Maybe it's the time.
Maybe it's perspective.
Maybe it's seeing Owen smile and play and laugh and grow and BE.
Whatever it is, I think I've learned it does no use to hold on to the bitter.
When you do, you miss out on the sweet.
Miss out on the chance to LIVE and celebrate.
And who's to say we have more ahead?
More life, more candles, more chances to celebrate?
Maybe we dont.
Maybe we wont.
Remembering you on Owen's First Birthday made me realize...
When I focus on the candles stolen from your life,
I allow my anger to steal in me what I loved most in you.
Your happiness, your laughter, your faithful heart, your fun loving spirit.
Your ability to let go, forgive yourself, and be in the moment.
So today, my friend, on your 35th Birthday...I will blow out a candle in your honor.
(The consummate educator - teaching me things even in death!)
With this candle, may the last flame of anger in my heart be extinguished as well.
My wish is that this flicker of peace continues to grow.
I love you.
**For those of you who have read BUB for awhile and know my past feelings about Mrs. Johns, I can't say that they have changed. I don't think I'll ever forgive her. In my heart I have concluded, her forgiveness is not mine to give anyhow. I'll leave that up to God. Letting go of this responsibility, however, has allowed me to begin to move past my anger. And that feels good.**