One year ago today, God did what I did not think He would do. I honestly beleived He would pull you out of deaths grip, miraculously, at the last minute. But for the second time, mom and I held our childs hands as you took your last breath of machine delivered air, and went home to join your incredible wife (our beloved 2nd daughter in love) and awesome brother. The pain has been almost unbearable, as you know. You lost a brother, grandmother and grandfather. But I'll tell you now, I would never wish the kind of pain your mom and I have felt on anyone. And I say "almost unbearable", because the prayers of thousands and the love of a Heavenly Father are helping us cope.
I'm sure you're aware of the page on Facebook, bearing your name and photo. Bet you never thought when you took that picture, that it would go worldwide. But it has. And many say your smile has a reassuring effect on them when it pops up,
because they know they will find love on that page. Just as you showed love for those kids in Tuscaloosa that you helped get Christmas for, and they never knew you, so has your love reached out through your "old man". And that love was put there by our Creator Father.
This past Sunday, Bro Herman started a 4 part series entitled "God's Waiting Room". And he started off with Job. Now since you're already up there, but probably haven't met him yet, go look him up please. You know the story, he lost all 10 kids, all his wealth, (bless your mom's heart, she missed out on that part) and then his health. But in the midst of it all, he stayed faithful to his Lord. And the neat thing about this story: God knew Job. Now I know He doesn't forget us, and even knows how many hairs are on my head, though He definately doesn't have to count as high as He used to. But the Bible says He said to Satan "Have you considered my servant Job". And what I had not thought about, but Bro. Herman mentioned, was SATAN knew Job. I wish that could be said about me. But your earthly father hasn't created many troubles for the ole Deceiver. Shamefully, not enough that I would think he knows me by name. But ask Job for me, what was it like when you found out up here, that Satan knew you down there. But because God had seen how all of us handled it when Brandon went home, (like it was some surprise to Him) he chose to test us even further. I am sorry it had to be you and Jenn and not me.
But as you may have already talked to Him about, He knows more about us than we do ourselves. Whatever the reasons for our tribulations as a family, I pray that we will be good examples of His faithfulness, grace and strength and we will continue to point folks to the SUPPLIER of such. I pray He opens doors for me to do just that.
One last request. I have had many folks down here telling me I should write a book about our families journeys. But I'm very reluctant. But someone came up to me Wednesday night at church, and just out of the blue, almost shamed me into going through with it. A little favor for the old man? Ask God to please write it on the wall. You know me. He does too. Need I say more?
Oh by the way, just in case you were too busy with Jesus, Jennifer, Brandon, Jay-Momma and Pop, I have attached my Facebook post of your homegoing day. Some other folks may have missed it, too. I hope it's worth reprinting.
We have healing, At 6:56 this morning, God united Garrett and Jennifer for the 2nd time in 9 months. This time, it's eternal. I never thought this day would come. Honestly, I did not believe it would happen. But as I sit here in the waiting room, waiting for them to clean him up, I'm reminded of the Southern Gospel song, I've Got More To Go To Heaven For Than I Had Yesterday". When you think about it, Brandon, Jennifer and Garrett all got to Heaven on the same day, eternally speaking. Because a day is as a thousand years. We've made no arrangements yet, except that he and Jennifer will be side by side. All other arrangements will be posted later. To Darra, Janis, my sister Stephanie and Mark Weldon, my best friend next to Janell, thank you all for being there night or day. Words fail me right now, but thank you. For the thousands that have lifted us up, God bless you. For the staff of UAB TRAUMA ICU, we will never be able to thank you enough for giving so much of yourselves for our son during this journey. And Lord, haste the day, when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll For the trump shall resound, and my Lord will descend, Even so, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL. The roller coaster has stopped. War Eagle, Tiny Man. You won! Miracle Delivered.
This morning, after Garrett had taken his first breath in 3 weeks on his own, in Heaven, we left his room for the staff to clean him up and call us back in to spend time with him. When I returned to that room, the scene completely overwhelmed me and I lost all composure. I had to sit, because the pain was taking my breath away just as it had his. I realized that all the times I had walked into that room previously, the monitors, the ventilator, the Nitric Oxide infuser, the pumps delivering medicine right down to the hum of the pump inflating his special matress had actually been "delivering" life to Garrett. And had in turn, given me a false sense of security. Now suddenly the stark reality that he was without aide and was no longer in that body, just flooded my entire body. I say this to encourage everyone to not take life for granted, but also don't assume that false sense of security that "hey, I walked the aisle when I was 10 years old and was baptized, so I'm a Christian". The going to church, being in a choir, tithing, reading your Bible and all the other monitors and ventilators and pumps in your life can give you a false sense of security. Please examine your relationship with Christ. And when you get past all the "aides", is Christ really inside or is it just a ventilator keeping you going?