The Greatest Of All

I’m sitting in my living room listening to the gentle thunderstorm taking place outside. These are my favorite kind of thunderstorms. The rain falls straight and gentle, but with purpose. The thunder rolls softly, but with authority. There is nothing to fear in these storms. No claps of thunder to startle you, no wind to steer the rain in different directions. Just gentle, but purposeful reminders that we are small creatures in a big world.

It’s comforting to me. I feel a powerful sense of grace in the ability to seek comfort in a storm. It’s very timely. As it gets closer to me returning to work, I’m getting somewhat anxious. I’m nervous, I’m sad, I’m ill-prepared… It’s one more thing I have to do to “let go” of Harlynn. I don’t want to return to the real world. I don’t want to pretend there is a “normal” I once knew before her existence. I don’t want to be the person who causes others to feel awkward or who makes them feel like they have to walk on eggshells. I don’t want to be the person who falls apart because others aren’t walking on eggshells. I feel like I’ve somewhat painted myself into an emotional corner. No one can win. But I have to take this step. I have to go back to work. I have to do this. I have to.  Not just because I have bills to pay, but because I need these little victories in order to help my heart recover.

My heart, while still broken, has been incredibly blessed these last few days. I’ve had a chance to sit back and reflect on things from the outside looking in. I don’t usually have those moments where I can see this from another perspective. Usually I’m struggling to stand from underneath the weight of it all, or unable to see anything more than my own pain and sadness. But the last few days, I’ve had a stark realization, and it has brought me tremendous blessing.

There’s a verse I use to pray over people. I want you to keep it in the back of your mind and I’ll come back to it in a little bit.  It’s found in Ephesians 3 and reads:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Yesterday I went to the cemetery to find two special treasures on Harlynn’s grave. One was a picture drawn by Little Miss A, a special friend of Haley and Harlynn’s. It was laid on Harlynn’s grave held in place by two rocks. A beautiful picture of a princess walking a dog, with clouds above and grass below, and “To Harelen” written on the side. From the heart of a 6 year old. Beautiful. The second treasure was a plastic tote filled with notes and gifts to us – from Harlynn. I’m not entirely sure who left it there, but I wish I could express what it means to me – to my family – to have that. I cried. Then I cried more, and harder, and more, and then when I was done, I cried some more. Not just for the items and the words that were in that tote, but because there are people who love us with hearts big enough to do something like this for us. Us. We are nobodys. But we are so loved.

We are so loved. I know from the cards we continue to receive, from the messages we get on facebook or in email, from the gestures our friends, family, and complete strangers make the effort to present to us, and from the hugs, texts, and visitors I receive. I know this from the heartfelt gifts we’ve been given. I know this from the tears you’ve shed with me. I know this from the promises of others that Harlynn will never be forgotten. We are loved, and it didn’t hit me until just yesterday or the day before, how very much.

I have heard now and again of other people going to visit Harlynn’s grave – on their own time, of their own volition – and I just can’t aptly express how that warms my heart. I wish I knew who all has been to see her, or who goes to spend a little time with her. I want them all to know how much it means to me that they would take the time and make the effort to go visit our little Harlynn. It means so. very. much.

The verse in Ephesians came to mind when I was reflecting on not just the fact that our family is loved, but by how genuinely and deeply that love is expressed. The verse talks about knowing how wide and high and long and deep the love of Christ is – and friends, I can tell you that you have shown me through your actions and with your hearts, the very heart of Christ. I can see it. I can sense it. I can feel it. We are loved. Harlynn is loved. This entire situation, as horrible and awful as it is, isn’t for naught. This love surpasses knowledge, and bit by bit, little by little, I am being filled with the measure of the fullness of God.  The very passage of scripture I pray over others has blessed me ten-fold. I understand it with new depth today.

Thank you.  I pray you continue to show our family how Harlynn has touched your hearts. I pray we can love you to the same measure you’ve shown love to us. I thank God for your gentleness, your generosity, and your continued graciousness to each of us. I know you don’t realize – you can’t realize – how much it means to me. To us. I pray, though, God will bless you double from how you’ve blessed us. And that, folks, is an immeasurable amount.

Gift from E.B.
Flowers from A, A, and F on the one-month anniversary of Harlynn’s passing
My view from my weekend getaway with my dear friend M
The sand bottle was one of the items in the plastic tote on Harlynn’s grave. The angel/dove was a gift from R & J, and the Willow figurine was a gift from K. Harlynn’s name card was another gift from C.

Next: My “Good Fortune”
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One Reply to “The Greatest Of All”

  1. Your writings are so awesome. I love you and Harlynn as much as any mother could love her child and grandchild. I praise God for those who have shown their love.

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