My Idle Mind is Makenzie’s Playground

dancing in galveston“My Idle Mind is Makenzie’s Playground”

I know.  That’s not how my grandmother’s chiding went.  For me, the statement seems true today.  As I sit here sipping Java, Makenzie’s image tip-toes into my idle mind.  Look.  There are her beautiful green eyes, peeking out from the curtains of the empty stage of my thoughts.  I see her mischievous smile warning me that she’s about to pounce.

“Ta Da!”  Makenzie loved to make an entrance.

My thoughts flip through the past pages of my memory.  I see Makenzie, holding up her 4 year old arms above her leotard-donned frame.  She is skipping from one circle to another on the Marley floor of her first dance class.  I see her pushing Nathan, then Maddie in the now, government-recalled stroller.  She is announcing to the passersby, “This is my Brother/Sister!” as if they were royalty.

Now I see her swimming with her 8th grade class in our backyard, Arizona pool and I hear her deep, snorty laugh when her “friend-who-is-a-boy” tells her a joke.  I see her dancing on the beach with her cousins and I see her snuggling her way in-between Kellie and me, begging, “Keep me warm, Mommy.”  And, finally, I see her walking out the door that last time, planting a smooch on my cheek saying, “Bye Daddy; I love you.”

Those who’ve lost people they love have these same times of idleness.  We have those moments when we find ourselves wandering the paths of the past, hoping we won’t meet our daughter/brother/parent’s memory – it’s disabling — but there they are.  Those mental pictures of the one we love so deeply.  Those desires that yearn,  “if only they were here.”

As I’m told, those thoughts don’t, and won’t go away.  Sometimes, they are a menacing gift — a beautiful curse.  If you’re on my same journey, you’ve allowed your mind to empty the stage and wait for your performer. You aren’t sure if you’ll be able to handle what your memory shows you or if this will just be another happy thought.  But trust me, we are not watching this play alone.  Look to your left.  Do you see Him?  He is sitting next to you, compassionately looking at you,  and He is holding out the Kleenex box.

As the curtain closes on my idle stage, my Lord says, “I’ll be right here for the next performance.” (Psalm 139:7-9)



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7 thoughts on “My Idle Mind is Makenzie’s Playground

  1. Stephanie says:

    Todd, it just sucks! I hate that this happened! I wish I could do something for you guys…every day my heart hurts for you! For some reason, I always think of Kenzie when I’m in the shower and before I go to bed at night. Maybe it’s because I’m not distracted by anything and I find my mind wanders in that direction. Lately, I try not to think about it because I get so angry. I just don’t understand it. Who could have ever predicted something like this would happen in our family? It’s so awful! Well, now that I’ve ranted on and on, I pray that God gives you His peace. Love you!

  2. Amber Gehring says:

    Pastor Todd,

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your feelings with the world. I barely knew Makenzie, but reading what you and her friends have to say help me to realize the kind of people God puts on this earth for us. In Foundations this past month, as I was quizzing Maddie on the Holy Spirit, we were talking about how the Holy Spirit puts people in our lives that are perfect examples of God’s love, and Maddie said, “Like my sister!” Makenzie was Jesus with skin on. Thank you for helping me to appreciate everyone and everything that God gave us so much more.

    Amber Gehring

  3. Susie Jacobs says:

    This is beautiful, Todd. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and memories with all the eyes that stumble upon your blog. I pray that God will hold you as you continue your earthly journey without your precious daughter.

  4. Kathy says:

    As a fellow parent, I have kept you (and Kellie, and your family) in my thoughts and in my prayers these past months….I can’t begin to imagine what it is to lose a child. I have read your blog entries; have wept at how simply and how eloquently you have relayed the so varied stages of emotion and grief that you have traveled, and continue traveling through. I have felt the same so many times these past few months, but have pushed it aside when I think of YOUR journey–you see, I lost my mom not so long ago. But, losing our parent(s)– that is the natural progression of life–losing one’s child is NOT suppposed to be in that NATURAL progression. What I want to say, is , Thank You. Thank you for what you said today…I do have those times when all of a sudden WHAM!!….just a moment, a sound, an aroma, a place, an activity…and there she is…and I am reduced to a puddle of tears (and to those who may be around or near me–there is really no APPARENT reason, so I then feel like some kind of nut job). You validated those times for me. I know I am very blessed to have those wonderful memories that pop up during those idle (or not-so-idle) times. Thank you for validating my journey. I am a middle-aged (ish) girl who still very much NEEDS and misses her mom. Our losses are different, but the aftermath so similar.

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