Yesterday’s service was a moment Robyn and I will never forget. I walked into the sanctuary and saw a wall of balloons 20 feet high and 80 feet wide… with dozens of huge flower arrangements… a slideshow of Ezra playing… and then my eyes settled on the box Ezra’s earthly body will rest in from now on. I stood there and cried. I miss him. It hit me then he isn’t coming back. I know he’ll never leave us in our thoughts or actions, but we will never again see him here.
It was a beautiful day with nearly a thousand people in attendance. Robyn and I are honored to have had so many of you there. Dozens of you have emailed in – yes, we did shoot the entire service on video, and we will post it later this week for those who missed it. Friends and family flew in from all over the country. Friends and family here and from everywhere flooded our home with flowers, food, and cards.
I have said this before, and will mention it again as it’s heavy on my mind. I have spent over a decade heavily involved in the church, and I’ve seen how easy it is to lose our focus on living like Jesus did to a focus on programs and schedules. It’s easy to take the injustices done against us by Christians and twist them into something done to us by Christ. It’s easy to watch hypocritical hurting people like we all are judge others and in our own mind create Jesus with that same character. Some people call it being jaded.
In 14 months of struggle I have cemented in my mind the importance of living like Jesus did. I have been slammed to the floor with tears and questions time and again, and been awed by the generosity we’ve been surrounded by. I have stood back up constantly, and stayed standing the times I have by grace and love. I see the incredibly deep need for us to care for each other. For me to care for you, and you for me. I mean this in a global sense, not specific to myself. I want to thank you all for caring for my wife, my children, and myself. It comes in many forms, and we each reach out as we can. All you do impacts. I personally read EVERY one of the thousands of total emails, comments, and messages which come to us. You’ll have to excuse my lack of response if it was your experience – I simply can’t keep up with responding. Know though that we read these, and we keep them all. We’re incredibly grateful to all of you.
Many of you have approached us with fundraiser ideas, pledges to help, and actions you’re going about doing already to help the fight against childhood cancer. We are awed and feel a part of a move which will affect that battle heavily and positively. We ARE going to be starting a foundation to channel our efforts, hopefully by the end of the year. First we need a few weeks break. 😀 We’d be honored to have you fighting with us then. Once we’ve rested, we will put together something which I hope you will stand with us in to directly push towards a cure for childhood cancer. I hope you’ve seen it’s face, and I hope you’re angry. I hope you’ve seen it’s not always smiling children on a commercial, but is also broken families, extreme struggle, and painful loss. I hope you also know this is NOT an unbeatable foe. Many cancers have gone from a 50% survival rate or less earlier this century to close to 97% now. It just takes attention, time, and proper funding into proper research. We plan on working hard to make sure the focus is put in correct places, not just “cancer” as a broad term.
You should see Charley. We’ve been home(ish) this past week – well, crazy busy with planning Ezra’s celebration service, but home much more often than we had been. Charley is stronger than ever, over 17lb, and wearing the same size diapers Ezra did. He’s smiling a lot, and babbling like no tomorrow. He’ll most likely no longer need oxygen support by early December. He’s taking little bits of liquids orally now, so we’re moving towards getting the pump feeds to not be necessary. He is a good looking, strong little man. 2011 will be a strong new year for our family of 3.