Today, I was trying to work out. Seated in the rowing machine- feet strapped in. Pulling back on the handle- the seat moving back and forward. Watching the little screen count down 20 minutes. Watching the stroke count go up.
And suddenly- my stomach. I was nauseous. I had to get up. I couldn’t get my foot free. I was going to be sick and my foot was strapped in. I started to feel panic… And then I got it loose. I was breathing hard and getting a bit light headed.
So I hurried upstairs. And I was almost fine. I didn’t get sick.
But I didn’t go back to rowing. I went to lay down. And to cry a bit.
Today, they found Noah Chamberlin’s tiny body, not far from where he disappeared last week. There is no sign of foul play. He wandered off during a walk and could not be found in time.
I found out during 5th period today and it took my breath away and left me with that strange heaviness in my chest. And I thought of Ethan. And I thought of Noah’s parents and I know I didn’t want them to be in the spot they are now in. I didn’t want them to be in such certain pain. Because I know a little bit about it.
I prayed for Noah. I don’t know if I could have done more.
I didn’t know Noah. I never met him. But I know his family- We went to church together for years. Jim, his grandfather and I played worship with him- a solid bass player, mixed sound for him- he was easy to work with. I ate breakfast with him- his easy laugh. That was fellowship. I admired his work on bikes- what he built. The craftsmanship.
And I know his grandmother, Kathleen. I worked with her. Always a joy. I could hear her laugh through the thin wall of my tiny office. And she always seemed upbeat, and with an abundance of positive energy. In our dark little offices, that was appreciated.
And I so much wanted for them for this to turn out much differently. I wanted a happy ending. A miracle. The one that I, as a parent, didn’t get.
I needed a happy ending.
I know the journey they are traveling. Mine is not the same, but similar enough- they are part of this family now. The bereaved. It isn’t easy. It is a complicated process with a mix of strong and often conflicting emotions, an unknown number of steps and stages, and degrees of uncertainty and disconnectedness. And a child like dependency on faith and the love of others. They will grieve Noah with a depth equal to that of their love for him. And that love is what will sustain them.
Some moments will be unbearable, yet they will bear it. Some days will be worse than others. And the world will go on as if nothing happened. And you can’t ever go back to how it was or who you were… It will challenge their faith and the bonds of their family. They will carry that all their days. And although they will laugh again and smile again, there are pockets of sadness and the shadow of this empty longing that will never leave them.
Love will sustain you.
And so I will keep on praying. For healing and comfort. For a family. For faith. For love.