Last night I was lying in bed when my phone rang. I picked it up and heard a quiet voice say, “Gina, I didn’t wake you, did I?”
“No, Kristine. Are you okay?” I asked.
I could hear she was hurting, and within a moment I understood why. Yesterday I got up and went about my day. I worked. I went to the Post Office. I phoned a friend, and we laughed. I played with my dogs, and made dinner. When my husband came home, the two of us cleaned out a cupboard to catch the two mice that had found a bag of popcorn and were enjoying the good life. Around 10:30 p.m. I jumped in bed, and couldn’t help but think what a nice day it was.
Now, Kristine’s day was very different. November 16, 2005, her son, Johnny was killed serving my country, and she simply needed someone to cry with. Yesterday marked six years since his death. I sat up in my bed, and I made sure that my phone was near my ear. I didn’t want to miss a single word that she had to say. She told me about the day she received the news of his death, and the things that transpired within her day. She shared that when she arrived home in the afternoon that her house was different from when she left it, and when she went inside her life would never be the same.
I’ve known too many mother’s who have lost their child, and being a mother myself, I know of no greater loss. Kristine wondered if she couldn’t have done something to prevent the death of her son, and when she was speaking I remembered how I felt when my son was serving in Iraq. I used to pray that God would bring him home safely to me, and then when He did, I had to wonder why many mothers didn’t get the same gift. It’s human to wonder.
As time went on I realized that being a mother isn’t an easy job. We give birth to our children, but then once they are born their lives become about their life. They grow up. They make decisions. They join the military. They go to college. They get married. They have children. Or… they might become ill. Or they might have a car accident. Or they go off to fight a war, and they save the lives of 5 other Marines. (Which is exactly what Johnny did. He saved the lives of 5 other Marines!)
When Kristine shared that she wondered if she could have done something to prevent his death, I saw why her son saved the lives of 5 other Marines. Johnny, was exactly like his mother. I now believe that he looked around, observed the situation, and thought, How can I prevent the death of my brothers? Like mother, like son!
The two of us were on the phone for several hours. It’s now 1:40 a.m., November 17, 2011, and for me, today will be a normal day. I will get up, have my coffee, take a shower. Pet my dogs. Go into my office and get to work. Prayerfully, nothing will happen that will change the course of my day, but for Kristine, today is now 364 days away from November 16, 2012.
I realized something after we hung up the phone. When Kristine’s son passed away I sent her a poem that I had written for her. She actually ended up using the poem at his funeral, and it dawned on me that even though I wrote the words… I forgot the message!
As I sit here quietly my thoughts are just of you. All the things we used to say, all the things we’d do. The dreams we’d share together— the plans that we made— those memories I cherish, each and every day.
I remember thinking to myself that if I did it right; you’d be with me in the morning and home with me at night. My words of loving kindness, my gentle touch to say, that I would never harm you and love you everyday.
Then one night I heard a voice, a whisper from above. I knew that it was sent for me— sent for me with love.
I thank you for the job you did, Johnny made me proud. He came through the gates of heaven, running through the crowd. On the day Johnny was born I wrote his birthday down, but not the day that you gave birth— the day I’d call him home.
The day you held him in your arms I saw the love you had. I couldn’t wait to hold him too, but it wasn’t time— not yet!
It’s hard when you love someone to ever let him go— but know deep in your heart I also love him so.
He stands right here with me and someday soon you’ll see.
The greatest gift I gave to you, now you share with me!
We will forever be with you until you’re here with us, and every time you need to— just look to us above. Johnny hears your every prayer he smiles down with love.
Just listen to your heart beat— it’s our song from up above.”
Written by Gina for the Lord’s Blessings
Of course God would put it on Kristine’s heart to call me before midnight. I forgot Johnny’s birthday. I have 364 days to get ready for the next one. With tears in my eyes… Happy Birthday Johnny!
And, because I’ve been crying I decided to Google the Bible. I typed in Bible and birthday. I wanted to find a verse to add to today’s appointment, and I wasn’t surprised when it arrived at a site called: BirthVerse. All one has to do is type in the month and the date of a birthday, and it will give you a verse. So, I typed in November 16, for Johnny’s birthday, and this is the verse that arrived…
Acts 11:16 NIV
Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
I love the Lord when He verifies one’s heart!
ONWARD BY FAITH!