It is hard for me to believe that tomorrow it will be a year, since Brian died. Like all other things in life...getting married, having a baby. It seems like just yesterday when the event happened yet it seems like forever. I feel like I just talked to Brian yesterday and like if I called his cell, now, that he would answer with a silly joke. And yet, it feels like a million lifetimes ago since I heard his voice or rolled my eyes at his endless oration on some article he had read at "work". Just this past week, when I royally screwed up my blog. I wanted to call and ask him how to fix it. He would have already noticed it was messed up, set up a mock blog and figured out the problem. He would have talked me through the whole thing and been really sweet about it.
All of this begs the question, if you could have him back, would you? And there are plenty of moments when I would kill for him to be here. I wish he could see the boys doing all there great things. I wish he could play with Lillian and really get to know Grayson. I wish he could come over for dinner in my new kitchen and we could all play spades. I wish he could go for drinks with Peter. So would I take him back? No. Brian's death and memorial service were a taste of heaven and as much as I love Brian and miss him. I wouldn't exchange him for that taste. He wouldn't want to me to either.
Shortly after Brian died, I looked at my nephews and I thought... they are like me. They have lost a parent. I don't even have that many friends in that situation. And I thought maybe God made me their aunt because I know what it's like to lose a parent. I also thought about how much God loves them even though their daddy died and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was true. And then I realized, I am like them. God loves me even though my mama died. This seems like a simple thing, but for me it was a huge light bulb moment. I had really struggled to believe that God loved me and still allowed my mom to die. This thought/realization of God's deep love for me dislodged me from a spiritual hang-up that had really taken my joy for years. Ironic that this severe loss could return my joy in the Lord.
As I look back on the year, I could tell countless stories of how God has used Brian's death to reveal Himself. Some of the most powerful have come from Lillian and Max and their talk of heaven. Just a few days ago, we woke up to Lillian screaming in her bed. Peter went in and she was screaming "my toenail fell off and I am going to die". She was freaking out. Peter assured her that she was not going to die only for her to get all upset again and say, "But daddy, I want to die, so I can see Jesus." Brian would have loved to hear the things the children say about heaven. Heaven is a real place because Uncle Brian is there just like Birmingham is real because Bill and Maryhelen live there or Zachary were Hap and SaaSaa live.
And this year has brought many glimpses of heaven and tastes of glory starting with Brian's entrance into heaven. I don't know why God made this our story, but in those glimpses of heaven I think of the illustration that God is weaving a masterpiece. We are looking at the underside of what he is weaving. In the glimpses of glory, we see these beautiful stitches of the masterpiece and a taste of its splendor. Most days, however, we see these ugly threads that are in bad knots and that don't make any sense. Those glimpses of the beautiful stitches are the reason I would not take Brian back. God has done so much work in our hearts because of Brian's death and it has only been a year. And I trust that in the masterpiece it is in God's economy best for us to not have Brian. However, I would love to call Brian's cell and for him to tell me in obnoxious detail all about heaven.