You stood at the gate. Unexpected. And in one instant I knew something was very wrong. My brain grabbed bits and pieces and tried to make sense. Your eyes called me closer to the gate. I heard my own words falling and bouncing, but it was the tone of your voice that pulled me into the sacred place.
You are okay.
The details about the helmet and motorcycle flew through me and disappeared into the spaces behind me. This then, is that day. I’ve prepared myself for this day. I’ve equipped my children to handle this day. I’ve played this scenario in my head until I was sick of the fear and anticipated loss. Until it became unbearable and I realised it was not mine to play with. Until I released the fear and abandoned it into my open heart.
I watched your sister, how she stepped up, gathered you into her arms. I watched as she cleaned you up and meticulously bandaged your wounds. I saw her falling apart at the thought of losing you. Each one of us unravelled as the reality of God’s grace settled. The living God. There was a moment that same evening after all was said and done that I could not see anyone of us anymore. None of our usual strengths and abilities made any sense. All I could see was Christ holding us together.
Chaos and order. I have seen both. The world can create chaos, but it cannot restore order.
Only God can do that.
I remember the day the three of us started our journey. Pretoria produced a hot, sticky day in November; there was excitement in the air as the world approached the turn of the millennium. I wasn’t thinking of the world, I was preparing for the unknown territory we had to conquer. We were leaving your dad. I had to close the drawers, shut the windows. Few things made any sense. We embarked on the story of us while our whole world was turning inside out and upside down.
Between spaces I remember school plays, graduations, heartbreaks, laughter, deep sorrows and joy. I could not foresee how the small seed of us could grow into a strong oak. How our love would be tried, tested and how it could survive. I remember my search for hope and courage and how I found it in God. He was tangible. He was personal. He knew what we were facing. He brought us through. He became our one constant, the one thing that never changed. During those years when one of us fell, He gathered us back into Him, into each other. I remember many seasons of tremendous effort. Exhaustion. How long it took me to realise that I could not do this on my own.
This accident was our wake-up call. A bright reminder that nothing should be left unsaid.
There is this quote by Henry Nouwen:
In true community we are windows constantly offering each other new views on the mystery of God’s presence in our lives.
When the millennium turned I couldn’t help but wonder what other people could see through my windows. Today I know that we see chaos all around us and with tremendous effort we can bring order to our surroundings, to the outer lines of our lives. But none of us can bring order to the emotional and spiritual chaos in our hearts.
Only God can do that.
If He loves me, I can do anything; if I love Him my heart is changed. Somehow, the love of God liberated me. His presence made it bearable to present my windows to the world. If we know right, we can do right. If God can change me, I can bring change.
This is my desire today; I don’t want you to fear that day. Let my words fall into your ears. Live in humility but always, always stretch yourself.
Hear my beloved child,
Let this be my gift to you;
If you step over my doorstep into the world
You are liberated.
You are raised.
You have something inside you that is of great value;
You are always welcome in my home,
But remember that love liberates you.
It never binds you.
Even when you don’t feel my arms around you,
Or hear my voice in your ears,
Know this: I love you.
Don’t be timid.
Take up life.
Make your choices.
Live as God intended – speak no evil, seek peace, be gentle and show humility (Titus 3:2). Pick up the battle and make this a better world. You have authentic power through Christ.
Distinguish between the love and fear inside you.
Always act on love.