1. past participle of break1.
1. having been fractured or damaged; no longer in one piece or in working order.
Broken: A visceral word, but a fitting description. It is palpable. Evocative. Regarding people or hearts or dreams, it signifies sorrow. It denotes anguish.
It is a word that has characterized my heart for well over six months now. Six months have come and gone since our precious Jimmy Carroll breathed his last and was escorted home to Jesus.
Six months. A half-year. A partial trip around the sun.
It still seems impossible.
On any given day, it can feel like six minutes,
or it can feel like six years.
There is simply no rhyme or reason.
The ways in which I experience the passage of time remain altered. Like a distorted reflection given off by an arcade funhouse mirror, time moves and shifts, completely disconnected from reality, bearing little resemblance to what actually is.
Jimmy’s loss was (still is) excruciating.
But the life that preceded the loss? Well, that was bliss.
That will keep me for the rest of my days:
What we had,
what we built,
what we shared.
The safety of it,
the beauty of it,
the sanctity of it.
I visited Jimmy’s grave a few days ago, and as I was leaving, I noticed, for the first time, a marker I had never seen. It bore the following inscription, “Non Omnis Moriar.” When I got home, I researched the meaning, and the definition reminded me and comforted me.
“I shall not wholly die.”
How lovely, and how true!
Jimmy is more alive now than he has ever been.
That truth brings me joy.
His works will outlive him.
That truth brings me peace.
1. the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.
2. something remembered from the past; a recollection.
Now equal parts bitter and sweet.
I cherish them. I relive them. I safeguard them.
I pore over photos, I examine videos, and I remember,
eminently thankful for a magnificent life
so thoroughly documented.
I celebrate all that happened,
while grieving what never will.
Jimmy was my love, my security, my constant. There are still moments in the mundane daily-ness of life, when I listen for his car in the garage, or his voice from the next room. These blessed flashes of forgetfulness leave me momentarily jubilant, then immediately crestfallen, when reality, once again, sets in.
But, alas, this is my life, now.
This is our life, now, Austin’s and mine.
The landscape is unrecognizable.
The void is immeasurable.
The future is daunting.
Regardless, we resolve to move forward, however falteringly, on stumbling, fragile feet of clay, comforted to know that “…if only the will to walk is really there, God is pleased, even with our stumbles.” CS Lewis
This is where the promise of hinds’ feet on high places becomes critical, as our Paraclete, the One Who walks alongside us, enables us to traverse even the perilous, rocky places, with ease, with less difficulty.
The One Who wore our humanity,
now walks with us in it—our Companion for the journey,
meticulously tracing our steps and plotting our paths.
Like a dad marking footprints in the snow for his children,
our Father leads the way, displaying for us
where to walk, and how to walk.
There will be no getting over it. I know that. There will only be learning to live with it. It is the only way I know for the grief to be redeemed and turned into beauty. So, we are learning, again, to live:
To live with loss. To live with memories.
To live with heartbreak.
To live with purpose. To live with shattered dreams.
To live with hope. To live with disappointment.
To live with pain.
To live without our earthly advocate, protector,
In just the past month, our air conditioning went out, Austin injured his back, and I fought through both COVID and chemo. These, and more, are all things Jimmy would have mitigated.
“…neither know we what to do:
but our eyes are upon You.”
We look to Him and He meets our gaze.
Always. Without fail.
We never look to Him in vain.
We are alone, yet not alone, when all is said and done,
because our God is not a God of distance.
He is neither aloof, nor impersonal.
He is conspicuous and involved.
Grief and pain have made themselves known to us,
but when we lose our footing,
we are carried by none other
than the Ancient of Days, Himself,
and His track record is impeccable.
As our Guardian, He augments what is lacking.
He nurtures our strengths and mediates our weaknesses. His heart is tender, after all, to widows and the fatherless. The very thing we are lacking, He offers. The very thing we do not have, He extends to us.
Grief and grace collide.
So much devastation. So much uncertainty.
So much pain.
Countless ways to be broken,
but only one way to be mended.
Manifold needs, but only one solution:
Always and only, Jesus.
"There is no walking into the Kingdom of God. We can only be carried."