+[a thank you]+

I imagine that you were shuffling rolling bags, organizing cardstock boarding passes and then settling into your seats for flight.  That you were breathing that motherly sigh, a lavender shade of relief as the plane lifted from this soil.  Relief that your people were settled, secure, and another task of your daily leadership had been checked.  I imagine that you watched this vibrant Colorado sky fill your plane window, revealing the rugged white peaks of these mountains, reminding you of what you had left behind and were going home to.  I imagine you there in that hushed moment as I walked out of our Easter service here.  I looked straight up at that blue sky, whispering thanks, thinking only of how I dont deserve the gifts in my life but how thankful I am for them.  Easter is my favorite holiday, you know.  I find redemption, in every form, heartbreakingly beautiful. 

Savannah rode home with me from church.  As you know, I had left before Doug and the girls, and in a separate car to get there in time to greet.  I love standing at those glass doors, meeting eyes.  I especially love greeting on Easter as so many first time entrances occur.  After worship, and upon leaving the sanctuary, I kissed the prickly face of your brother and the spiral curls of your niece, the one who looks so much like you,  telling them we would see them at home then would quickly need to leave again.  Friends were expecting us for an Easter celebration lunch just a few doors away.    Oh, but I had to quickly frost the pink cupcakes you had watched me make the day before, so I would need a minute when I arrived.  Your plane continued in route.

I imagine by then you were well in flight.  Probably with a bubbly something in hand and something salty as well.  Your boys were probably engrossed in one game app or another and your mom, with her new found bravery in flight, watching clouds pass like a soldier in siege.

We had driven only a few blocks when she told me.  Proudly she held out her right wrist, revealing the bracelet you gave her - the inscribed silver disc bound by leather twined band.  She read to me the etched words and the bible verse they referenced.  She told me how much she liked it and how that verse has always been one of her favorites.  But her next words are the ones I still cant quite get over.   She said she hadnt expected your reply when she expressed her thanks.  She said her heart lept within her.  I wonder if you knew how deeply you penetrated her?

She said when she offered her thanks for your kind gift you replied you wanted her to know something.  Your only words were that "you wanted her to know that you are fully behind what I am doing with her, how Im walking with her and how you wanted her to know that".  She says she didnt know exactly what to say as no one has ever explicitly told her such and encouraged her to such in one statement.  I must say I also went mute as she described the moment to me.  You believe in us and the choices we have made?

You stood with me 17 years ago as I made a covenant promise, giving my life to the man who had been your best friend long before he was mine.  Always the life of the party, the one to make me double over in laughter, I have found it hard through the years to make it past the comedy of your personality.   Perhaps that is why the depth and seriousness of your gift pierced so deeply.  I have wondered where our Gods place was in your heart.   I have wondered what He means to you.   By using His words to encourage Savannah and my heart, a bridge of deeper understanding was built between us. 

Do you know how much your token meant to my daughter, your niece, and how much it meant to me?  The inscription, to "live a life of  Love", pierced us both.   She heard you when you said you saw what I was doing with her and you were behind that lifechoice.   The road Ive chosen is, most days, a very lonely one.   And in choosing it, in many regards,  I have also chosen loneliness for her as well.  I believe there is enough Purpose in her knowing this road to outweigh the loss of walking it, but the sacrifices of it remain and I do not deny their existence.  I do believe though that I am ultimately leading her to Life.  I believe now, from what you communicated to her,  and the handpicked words you chose, you can see that as well.   

What I want you to see though is that your brother is the hero here.  He tirelessly works to keep me at home with your nieces, never complaining of what is required of him nor what he sacrifices personally to enable us.  He calls himself a curator - can you imagine?  Hes proud to house us, shining light on us, protecting us and proclaiming us beautiful.   As he was in your life for so many years, he has come into our days and helped mold us from what each of us once thought we were, painting before us who we could be.  He has taught us and shaped us with his daily life.  He has made us believe in ways we could not have without his diligent and tender instruction.  Your brother has poured into me and the overflow of that is what you see in my relationship with our girls.  What you are "fully behind", my sister, is our God and your brother.   I am only the overflow of their diligence and love.   I want to make sure you see that. 

Thank you for encouraging her - for looking her in the eye as a woman and spurring her to continue.  Thank you for honoring me in her presence.  Tears fall this moment as it just means so much, in such deep places within me.  Thank you for finding a tangible way to honor your brother by your allegiance in our plight with these girls.  You looked beyond what most see and noticed what he has been working for all these years.  Knowing it is noticed by his first lifefriend means much.

As you traveled South in flight and landscape changed from ridges and peaks to plains, and as home came into view, I pray you carried home with you a knowledge that you blessed us richly.  And if you did not, let this heartfelt thank you meet you now.