Sometimes it’s while I’m driving, and I suddenly realize I’m not focused on anything, not hearing or seeing what’s in front of me. Sometimes I’m sitting on our back deck, with a book in my hand, and 10 minutes has passed without me reading a word. These moments I feel our losses so fully, so closely. I miss Ezra so much my body simply can’t process anything other than this feeling. I feel the empty place Price was to fill. It’s like my senses are fighting for my attention, and for a moment they all lose to this one feeling. It’s that tightening of your chest, that feeling you got in your youth when you realized a cherished relationship was over, or when you admitted to or were caught in a crucial mistake which you were powerless to change. But it’s heavier than that ever was.
It comes and goes.
Strange how a thing can have been so far from you your whole life, and suddenly be everywhere. I’ve met so many people these past 9 months who were affected by cancer in a personal, deep way. Today I have been reading the blog of a family who lost their beautiful daughter Tuesday Whitt. A family we know lost their father/husband to cancer. Another friend had their son diagnosed with leukemia. My inbox has flooded with references to neuroblastoma families both in treatment and out, living and lost.
I spent this weekend in Denver, as I do monthly or so since my business partner lives up there and we have folks working for us in the city. Sunday evening Robyn and I went out to a nice dinner. We were on our way back to our good friends’ house, who we were staying with, when they sent us a text saying their friend was in town and would be stopping by. Turns out it was a guy I’d met nearly a year ago, only once. Let’s call him VJ. He was diagnosed with a fierce, rare bone cancer just this April. We stayed up late talking about life, cancer, and how they’ve combined for us. VJ was thin, and had that hairless going-through-chemo look. He reminded me of Ezra, and how delicate we all are, and how vibrantly strong we all are.
Ezra died at 2 years old, and we were never really able to have a conversation with him about how it all felt, or what he was thinking. We could tell when he was hurt and many of his feelings, in that way a parent can… and I think something deeper, too… but never an adult conversation. I know it’s different from a 30 year old man to a 2 year old child, and I know some things simply never registered to Ezra as abnormal (he spent more than half his life in hospitals; learned to walk in them), but as I listened to VJ talk I kept thinking of Ezra.
I have noticed changes in the way I interact with the world on every level, and I asked VJ about this. It’s all shaken us up to a thought: either there is nothing that matters, or everything does. It is possible nothing matters – could it be we simply exist without meaning and any attempt to romanticize this life is vain? I’ve considered it. The alternative, I find, is only that everything matters. I can’t rationalize a medium. It seems every moment should be relished, each a part of something so boldly beautiful as life. So brashly present. Rest should be well spent and welcomed. Those in need should be given to. Beauty should be pursued. Pain should be felt, not pushed aside. We should see with fresh eyes a world which is astounding. We should feel music. We should lose ourselves in an afternoon with a loved one; we should invest in our friends; we should set ourselves to love the broken, the homeless, the lost. We should step into the heat of the sun and soak it in; we should shiver in the cold and marvel at the clarity of the air.
VJ called it a “come to Jesus moment” when he first realized all that.
I very much fail at doing it. I set these thoughts at the front of my mind, and all I can do is approach each day with God’s grace and strength and a focus on living that day. Which doesn’t have to mean a huge day, but an appreciation of what happens in it. A heart embracing both pain and joy and seeking out beauty.
Sit with me and tell me once again
Of the story that’s been told us
Of the power that will hold us
Of the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters
Speak to me until I understand
Why our thinking and creating
Why our efforts of narrating
About the beauty, of the beauty
And why it matters
Like the statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And it’s protest of the darkness
And the chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters
Show me the love that never fails
The compassion and attention
Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters
Like a single cup of water
How it matters
Why it Matters / Sara Groves
You are a beautiful writer & a wonderful human being. You give me a new way of looking at life… I wish you all the best… you deserve it.
Once again your words are so complete and heart felt.
I am so glad that you got to have Ezra for the time that
you both did. As I have read that he made you two better because of him. Ezra gave us all a lot. He sure was a gift from god. Even though I never got to meet that little one I miss him and think of him all of the time myself.
Price was a special little one also. So tiny and special… Love your tattoo and Robyn’s as well.
I am so glad that you have Charley! He is a little doll!
I pray for your family every day. Acts 3:16. Healed of cancer of the esophagus.
Thank You for sharing Your thoughts.It Amazes Me how strong You & Your wife are and have been through it all. Our God is sooooooo Faithful.Take Care & God Bless.
You are Amazing and Inspiring. You have moved me beyond words. God Bless you and your family.
You give so many strength and hope!! Thank you! Love the Wynnes..
This is Tuesday’s mom. I got your comment and read your words.
That is as much for you as for me. I’m so sorry.
Please come to our home for dinner. We want to hug you and feed you. Please. I’m sure your Charley and our Charley will lighten our moods. Charley’s are good for that.
I’m serious. Please come.
With broken and understanding hearts,
forever Tuesday’s mom
I have never met you but I know your beautiful wife.. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing.. This message had a profound effect on both me and my husband yesterday. We have been challenged to look through the lens of “Everything matters.” Thank you…
His perfect Love,
it was nice to sit here for a moment and read your words. i am familiar with finding myself “unfound” and am more often surprised to come upon moments of resonance/relevance than not. those moments are sheer inspiration; like seeing a great work of art or reading some great philosophy. your words have that power and i thank you for using them in a way that cuts through “unfound”-edness to bring moments of clarity and humility for everyone that reads them.
Thank you for sharing these moments with us. You are blessing people yet again, without even knowing it.
It’s been awhile since I checked your blog, but for some reason tonight I did. Every post stirs something in side of me…thankfulness,sorrow, forgiveness. Tonight your words challenged me and renewed my focus on the life that I am living, day in and day out. I think of you, Robyn, and Charley often. Thank you for always being raw, real and revealing.
I have once again been thinking of your family and the impact Ezra’s life had on my faith. I think most of us wonder at times if our faith is contrived. There’s an old Caedmeon’s Call song that poses the question what if our faith is just to: “Harness the young and give some comfort to the old”. And then God swoops in when I allow him to and sends a glaring reminder of His realness. I just got back from a mission trip to Thailand. It was there that I was reflecting on the faith builders of my past year and Ezra’s name came to mind. It was also there that I saw and heard things that made the faith in my heart leap and I was reminded that everything matters. Praying for your family!
I love this. This natters. It matters to me. Thank you Kyle.