I love this photo of Bailey taken during their Ho'olaulea at Kamalii. But for the longest time I avoided looking a the Ho'olaulea photos we had taken....
Avoidance. That's is the defense mechanism I use the most. I do not "deny" painful things and situations, but I do tend to go around it when I know it will inflict pain. Same with conflicts. I do not "project" nor "blame" others, but I avoid it at all costs.
So why was I avoiding this photo? Because on the day we were celebrating the Ho'olaulea, Joey passed away. We didn't know he was gone at the time we are watching this beautiful event (us and the Johnsons, Borlands, Englerts, Knowles, etc.). But he was.
See what I mean? This photo is special but I was afraid to show it to Karen and Joe because I was afraid it will bring them sorrow. I was afraid it will be a sad reminder.
And yet this past weekend (on Joey's 10th month anniversary of going to heaven) I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that there's nothing to be sad about this photo. At the time the kids were celebrating Ho'olaulea, Joey is already is heaven, and probably was watching it with us. He was not alone in his room waiting to be found. His old body was there but his spirit is in heaven, the moment he was "called" home.
And so I decided to post this photo here today. To actually face the sorrow, not go around it. For in facing the sorrow comes healing.
Joe & Karen, JoAnne and Jaime, Rachel, and many others are still grieving. Who knows how long that will last. I bet until they meet Joey again in heaven. Oh they are probably not crying everyday anymore (maybe they are); and yes they are now smiling often and even laughing out loud. But deep inside, there still is sorrow. I am just thankful they are not running away from it, but facing it ... facing it with the help of God, drawing strength from Him each and every moment.
I am thankful that the Johnsons have openly shared some of their deepest sorrows with us. The least we can do (but is very important) is to continue to lift them up in prayers.
Today, (Saturday, 12noon until 3+PM), we are going to gather at Hope Chapel and say our "goodbyes - till we meet again" to Joe and Karen. They are moving to Virginia on the first week of April to be with their families there. The "avoidant me" had avoided getting involved with the preparation of this gathering because I wasn't ready to say goodbye. But today, I guess I am "facing my sadness" knowing that God has a purpose and a plan.
When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned; the flames shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2