A Makenzie Restoration

61767397100The dreams about her have subsided. I don’t think about her everyday as I have in years past and I’m needing to play old audio to remember her voice. Six years ago today, my oldest daughter, Makenzie — who is now my youngest — was invited into heaven.  “Six years” is a long time as I think about all that has happened since.  Great things.  Hard things.  Things to celebrate and things to mourn.  

As I spend today in the back corner of a small-town coffee shop, I think about the word “restoration.”  More-so, I think about what it takes to be restored.  Brokenness first.  Surrender second.  Expertise third.  Time last.  Then, restoration births new life.  That’s God’s way.  He takes my broken and hurting heart for the loss of my child and calls it to surrender.  He reaches out and holds my surrendered hands first to comfort, then to lead.  With expertise, he chisels his way through the rocky attitudes and sorrows that surround death and over time, calls me to something greater.  Pain is necessary for growth.  Demolition is necessary for restoration. 

So many emotions today.  I’m expecting them.  So many thoughts and mental wanderings will flood the hours. I’ll entertain them.  It’s part of God’s restoration for me, and it is good.  

Peace!

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Robin Williams – The Comedic Pause

Robin-WilliamsThere is a tool used in a monologue of comics called “the comedic pause.”  The purpose of this pause is to set up a laugh line. In essence, a comic would tell a story and right before the punch line, he’d pause, creating a sense of tension before he’d ‘drop the funny line’ – the best of the whole story.

The world is experiencing a comedic pause in the death of Robin Williams.  Event details dribble out but most are stunned at the loss of such a larger than life public figure.  We hear he was just a regular – brilliant – guy, riding his bike around the Bay Area and talking with adoring fans as if they were neighbors.  Often, he’d be seen performing at the local comedy club for pennies of what he normally commanded.

I think that death is a comedic pause for the life of a Christ-follower.  We tell our stories and our death sets up a tension until the last punch line of Christ’s return.  For me, that will be a joyous, if not hilarious, day.  A day when all who are in the kingdom will tell the last and final statement of victory and then let the laughter begin – for all eternity.

I don’t know, but I pray that Robin will be counted among us comedians.  Can you imagine what eternity would be like with Mork walking it’s streets.  I laugh even at the thought.

Peace!

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Makenzie: Five Years Old

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Today is my ‘oldest’ daughters birthday.  There won’t be presents.  There won’t be cake.  You won’t find our family all together dining at her favorite restaurant or sharing stories of past celebrations around the table.

Makenzie has graduated from all of that.  Her final birthday celebration was five years ago today, a month before she died.  I guess, putting it that way, my oldest is now my youngest.  She’s five years in heaven (if there were a measure of time in eternity).

As I watch the sun paint its beauty across this morning’s sky, I miss my five year old.  I miss her dance.  I miss her smile.  I miss the way she snorted when she laughed and I miss her random hugs.  I tear up thinking of the unmerited “I love you, Daddy” that she’d giggle to me at all times of the day.

IMG_0324_7006bYet in my morning solemness, I am grateful.  Because this Daddy’s heart first and foremost wants to know that my kids are safe.  Makenzie is.  God made sure of that.  He loves her more than I do, if that were even possible.  She is with Him, waiting for me.

And so I’ll ponder her life today.  I’ll roam the halls of my memories.  At times, I’ll smile and I’ll moisten.  I’ll be quiet and I’ll laugh.  All because of my little five year old who is finally home.

(Read Makenzie’s Story Here or type her name in the search bar at the right for more blog posts about her life)

Peace!

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The Beautiful Death

My walk to the office.

I park a few blocks away from my office.  In part because there are rarely any spaces next to my building but mostly because I enjoy the walk.  19th century homes give way to our beautiful campus at Concordia University St. Paul.

This time of year, the pathway I take is blanketed with death.  Thousands upon thousands of leaf-corpses lie dead as I step on them, sometimes causing me to slip.  But this death is not ugly or morbid as most think.  This death does not produce a negative visceral reaction that others do.  This death is radiant.  This death is fragrant. The transition through which the tree-leafs journey leaves a visual and surreal masterpiece of brilliant colors.  And in this, they also give and experience new life.  I love this beautiful death.

Our lives are leafs.  Birth – Growth – Life – Transition – Death – Life.  We have a few years here and then fall into the beautiful slumber of death.  Then we are awakened, once again, to the brilliance of life.  Christ has done it for us.  Christ has paved our pathway in His beautiful death-life.  And as the Bible says,

“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory.
  O death, where is your victory?  
O death, where is your sting?’” 1 Cor. 15:54-55.

Next week, we will have snow and my pathway to work will be blanketed by a different death.  No matter.  I will crunch through remembering that death has no sting for me.  I will celebrate the joy in death that gives life.  I will thank the Lord that I will be counted among those who are loved, saved and redeemed by Jesus.  What a beautiful death.

Peace!

I Want More Pictures

I’ve poured over them.  I’ve studied them.  I’ve printed, emailed, posted and cropped them.  They are the pictures I have of Makenzie.  I know every shadow and line of her face in the photos and they remind me of the joy and full life that she lead.

As of late, Kellie and I are longing for NEW pictures.  We scanned the full Senior Class picture from her high school but didn’t find her twinkling eyes or wide teethed smile in the midst of the faces.  We looked at the end of the year Facebook pictures from her friends but she was not in them.

What we’d give to see her on her last day of High School.  How we long for those photos which would tell us that her life with us was continuing.  But they are not there.

Don’t get me wrong.  We are very grateful for the pictures and video that we have; especially from Caitlin and the last photo shoot.  But to see her in a graduation robe, playfully grabbing the tassel with her tongue, would be an incredible gift.

I wonder if there are camera’s in Heaven; to capture the events and experiences that we will have with her.  Probably not.  But just being with her again — with everyone again — gathered around Jesus’ throne — will be the ultimate photo op!

(NOTE: I intentionally didn’t add any pictures to this post.  I just didn’t feel like any were appropriate.  And even if one fit, the post would still be image-less.  Today, pictures just seem empty)

Peace,

todd

Life Changing Links …

Changing the Lyrics

Makenzie and Nathan playing and singing

If I let my thoughts wander, setting them adrift on the breeze of the past, often, they come to rest on Makenzie’s love of music.  This morning, they recall a song that sprang from her 6th grade lips every time we were driving in the car.  Her favorite — my favorite — FFH’s “One of These Days.”

A snipett of lyrics reads:

One of these days
Gonna see the hand that took the nails for me
One of these days
Gonna hold the key to the mansion built for me
One of these days
Gonna walk the streets of gold that were paved for me
One of these days
I’m gonna see my Savior face to face
One of these days

This morning, my thoughts paint the new lyrics that Makenzie now sings:

Even today
I can see the hand that took the nails for me
Even today
I can hold the key to the mansion built for me
Even today
I’m walking the streets of gold that were paved for me
Even today
I can see my Savior face to face
Even today

I can’t wait to sing the changed lyrics with her.  Someday … someday.

Peace,

todd

Life Changing Links …