Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Man And His Cross

I thought I would tell you the story of this cross today. It may sound like I am preaching the gospel in some way but that is not the intent of this story. The story is mine and mine alone of why this particular cross is so very important to me.
It was April 09 when I received this letter in the mail. I looked at who the sender was and noticed that it was from a Catholic church somewhere I have never heard of before in Ohio. I thought it was quite odd that I would receive mail from a church that I have never attended before…and certainly one from a different state all together.  I continued to open the envelope and I find this cross inside as a gift from them. I have always been a fan of the cross symbol anyway so I thought I would keep it since I did not have one at the time. The message that came with the cross was words on God’s Love and his grace…and of course I didn’t read it all….but I scanned with my eyes and quickly and threw it away.          I remember thinking to myself, “Why would they send out such a cool thing like this to everyone…it must have cost a fortune to have them all made.” Not that it was made of real gold but I am sure I was only one of thousands who received one….right?
I carried this cross with me in my pants pocket with the intent of one day putting it on a nice gold chain or something. I was also hoping that carrying the cross with me would bring me some luck. It was a month later that my daughter passed away. Not the luck I was wishing for. But on that dreaded day as I left the hospital and sit in the car to make some dreaded phone calls to family members to give them the dreaded news, I pulled out my phone from my pants pocket and on my phone laid this cross with the words Faith and Grace faced up. I instantly grabbed the cross and prayed.
During that prayer I was crying (ok sobbing) but something happened during that prayer also that instantly changed the way I thought of what had happened to Timberly. I can’t explain it because it just happened so fast. It wasn’t that I just came to the realization or I saw something to make me think this. It was just something that I think God does to people when they need it most. And I needed it because I was about to ask god WHY?  You see, it was at that moment…I understood the meaning of both of those words, Faith and Grace.  I felt it in my whole body…hairs on my arms stood to attention, I suddenly understood that it was by the Mercy of God that Timberly had passed. Timberly would have suffered many surgeries and possibly transplant surgery as well and only God knows what other painful operations she would have had to endure. And if you understood the pain and suffering that this child went through like my family did, you would understand that it was only by God’s Grace that I was not angry about losing my daughter so early in her life. It was like God suddenly gave me understanding of his plan…it wasn’t the total plan, just an understanding of it. I know I am not explaining this well but I hope you understand what I am trying to say. Its like when you have a math problem your working on and all of a sudden you realize how to solve it, a green light goes off in your head and
Faith is something that I had to cling to during this time of grieving and something I still hold on to. The faith of knowing that Timberly is not only in a better place than we can even imagine, but also knowing that she is pain free and is able to do all the things that she wasn’t  able to do while suffering from Lupus, such as dancing, running, and playing kick ball with the children.
Here’s what I believe, I believe that this cross was sent to me from God, sent to me from God with the intent that I would need it at the given time. It was like he was saying…here…”hang on to this because you will need when I take your daughter from you”.  Sent to me to remind me that God always does things for a reason and also to remind me to always have the faith that those reasons are all part of his plan.
I could write a book on how many blessings we have witnessed since Timberly has passed. But this cross was the first blessing for me and it is reminds me of what is important in life and also what is not important.  So yes…this cross is very special to me. That is why I was devastated when I lost it about 2 years ago. I searched high and low and could not find it anywhere. I’m sure you all know what it is like losing something that has meaning to you knowing that it cannot be replaced?  It hurts.
My wife went to Texas to visit Taylor a few weeks back and I received a text from her saying “Look what I found” with the picture of the cross in her hand. Happiness doesn’t even describe what I was feeling when I saw the picture. There are very few material things that I cherish and couldn’t live without but this is something that I refuse to lose again. I mean….if the house was on fire and I could only grab one thing….that would probably be the thing that I would grab. (Assuming my wife and animals were already out of the house) J 
I also believe that the reason it is so important to me is because deep down, I don’t ever want to forget about or take for granted what God has given me. The cross helps me to never forget.