Jun 02

A Tragic Love Story Rewritten

Elijah's girlfriend Madison visits the woods where he died

As a young teenager Elijah met his girlfriend Madison Lokensgard, and we watched our son fall in love for the first time. She would be the only girl he ever loved. We knew his life would never be the same. What we didn’t know was how much Elijah’s life, and tragic death, would change Madison’s life forever.

Madison met Elijah before his concussions. But there were several years after his brain injury that Elijah avoided contact with people. He felt broken, and he stopped seeing Madison. Then this past summer they reignited their love for each other.

In Madison’s own words: “He just came back into my life, after months of silence and completely turned my world upside down. I remember how nervous I was to see him again, but as soon as our eyes locked and he smiled at me it felt like we’d never been apart. After that summer night we talked every day. We spent as much time as possible together before I had to leave for college in Arizona. What we had was true love. He was so encouraging, and just wanted me to be happy and successful. Elijah had me grinning from ear to ear every day.”

“Elijah’s life was so filled with Gods love and support. He had such a wonderful perspective on life. Where others saw barriers, he saw possibilities. He trusted in God with all his heart. Elijah’s faith was strong and passionate. He told me that once I found God, I would always be happy and protected. I have never been more thankful to have taken the time to find that relationship with God.”

“For years I had struggled with terrible depression. I thought I was doomed to suffer forever, but then Elijah came back into my life. He taught me how to be strong on the inside without depending on relationships to make me happy. Since then my life has never been the same. I remember him reiterating to me many times “Madison you are so strong and you cannot forget it”. Now I find myself playing those words in my head daily.”

“Elijah’s unique perspective on life has forever changed the way I look at problems. Because of him I smile more often, and cherish my family more. I finally feel proud of the woman I am becoming. Elijah and my growing relationship with God are what have gotten me to this point. It’s so bittersweet to have grown and learned so much from such a tragedy. I get emotional when I think of how far I have come in just a short year of my life. And my heart breaks when I am reminded that I cannot share my future with Elijah.”

“But he wouldn’t want me to stop reaching for the stars just because he is no longer here with me. He was always telling me how much he believed in me. So now I work hard to believe in myself the way he did. I strive to cherish the good in life. I will continue to strive for maximum happiness, and to love people more intensely. That is the way life should be lived. I hope Elijah knows how thankful I am for all the things he taught me. I want to live my life on purpose and share the things he taught me with anyone who is willing to listen.”

The love story of Elijah and Madison ended tragically with Elijah’s death. That story cannot be rewritten. But true love is not always about happy endings. We have the chance every single day of our lives to rewrite our own love stories. We can turn tragedy into triumph if we so choose. We can become a blessing to others. The happiest ending to a love story is when the other person is forever changed for the better.

And you know you have found true love when you find someone who spends their time and energy trying to make your life better. “There will always be certain people that just bring out the best version of you. For me, that person was, and will always be Elijah Buchanan.” (Madison, 2015)

 


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 30

Where Have You Been All Your Life?

Grandpa Dave and Ellie

Grandpa Dave and Ellie

A mirror doesn’t judge. It merely reflects. As we get older, the mirror can show us those dreaded wrinkles that we try so hard to avoid. The mirror doesn’t know how we spend our time, but our wrinkles can usually show whether our faces spend more time smiling or frowning.

That’s all on the outside. With the help of the mirror we do our best to make our appearance as appealing as possible. But what about how we look on the inside? Is there a type of mirror that can reflect back to us how we feel, what we believe, what we consider important, and what we spend most of our time caring about?

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” (Proverbs 27:19).

While we can do our best to disguise our looks, our life will always reflect what’s in our hearts. As we get older, the reflection of the heart becomes even more obvious. Our legacy will be the evidence of how we spent our time and what things we considered valuable.

As the pressures of life inch us forward day by day, we don’t always appreciate how our daily choices are building the wrinkles on our insides. Melanie’s dad just passed away this week after 96 years of living a wonderful life. As he spent his last few years in our home, I saw how those internal wrinkles really do reflect the heart of a person.

Grandpa Dave had severe dementia, but his days were always filled with wonder and delight at things I took for granted. He would marvel at the beauty of the outdoors and the blessing of sunshine. He described almost every meal we cooked as the best food he’d ever tasted. Little children would make him tear up with joy. And I can’t remember him ever being angry.

But the thing that impressed me most about Grandpa Dave was when we would ask him to pray at dinner. No matter where his mind was, he would deliver the most beautiful and touching prayer. We could tell that he spent a lot of time over the years talking to the Lord, and praying God’s blessing for the people he knew.

It became obvious that the things you value most, and the things you spend the most time doing, eventually define you. It’s unavoidable. Dave couldn’t disguise what was in his heart. He was just genuinely beautiful on the inside.

This reminded me of what was written about Moses. Of all the amazing things that defined his life, it’s the fact that he had to wear a veil over his face that I think best reflects how and where he spent his time. After meeting with the Lord, the people around him “saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” (Exodus 34:34-35).

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Where have you been all my life?” But the better question is, “Where have you been all your life?” The older we get, the more obvious is the answer.

 


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 27

Her Daddy’s Last Dance

Melanie dancing with her dad

Melanie dances with her dad, David Maas

Daughters are supposed to love their fathers. Fathers are supposed to cherish their daughters. Some fathers are fortunate enough to become their daughter’s hero. And when a father is finally old enough to be alone and in need of care, he is especially blessed to have a daughter sacrifice her own life to bless his.

Over the past four decades I’ve had a front row seat to one of the most beautiful love stories you will ever see. Admittedly, I’ve been more than just a spectator, but it’s not my story. It’s about Melanie and her dad. If you know my wife Melanie, you would know that she is one of the most beloved people on the planet. So it should be no surprise to learn that she is a reflection of her father, David Maas.

I cannot count the number of people who’s lives have been changed for the better because of Dave. I certainly include myself in that list. Dave was known for his Godliness and lifetime of absolute faithfulness. His heart was generous, and his demeanor was always gentle and kind. The site of a child would instantly bring a smile to his face and a twinkle to his eye. He loved the simple things, and knew the value of family.

It’s easy to love someone when it costs you little. But for the past four years or so, we have taken care of “Grandpa Dave” in our home. He was a strong man and fairly self-sufficient, but he required 24×7 attention. And never once did Melanie complain. She cared for Grandpa Dave with a tenderness that daughters reserve for their fathers.

And despite the severe dementia, her dad would tell her nightly that he loved her. Memorial Day night he squeezed her hand and again told her that he loved her. The next day he gently passed into glory as he rested in his reclining chair with Melanie nearby.

The picture for this post was the last time that Grandpa Dave ever danced. How fitting that it was with his dear daughter Melanie. The final Father-Daughter dance, reflecting on a life of joy and love and happiness. Their next dance will have to wait for a more heavenly dance floor.

This has been a difficult six months for our family since we lost our dear son, Elijah. The loss of Grandpa Dave is bittersweet. We celebrate his promotion to glory after 96 years of a life that honored God. We imagine the reunion with his wife Louise, and the greeting he is receiving from Elijah and those who have gone before him. But we will miss him in ways that are not yet even obvious. And Melanie has the double pain of losing a son and her father in the span of just a few months.

Dave was Melanie’s hero. She will be with him again someday. And they will dance together. How do we know that? Because our Father God has already shown us what to expect. He is our ultimate hero. He promises to always be with us. And He dances with us in shouts of joy and celebration.

The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and dances over you with shouts of joy. (Zephaniah 3:17 – God’s Word translation, modified)


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 23

Crossing the Ultimate Finish Line

Elijah and Isaiah carrying Briana

Elijah and Isaiah lifting up Briana

Finish lines are fascinating. They exist in so many areas of our lives. But if you think about it, they don’t actually exist in the natural order of things. We create them and impose them on ourselves. They are uniquely human, and we are the only living creatures that use them. Humans not only have the ability to create finish lines, but we seem to require them in order to thrive.

For several years I coached track for both Elijah and Isaiah when they were young boys. Anyone who has ever raced knows how different are the emotions at the starting line compared to the finish line. The starting line is where we get nervous, excited and full of anticipation. Elijah would tell me how he hated the starting line because he would almost want to throw up from being so nervous. But the finish line was where all the excitement happened. That’s where the crowds gathered. That’s where emotions become bipolar. We know the excitement of celebrating victory, but we also know the sadness of feeling defeat.

The finish line tests our commitments. Sometimes we compete against others. Most of the time we set finish lines in our lives simply to compete against our own resolve. We call them goals and milestones. But the finish has no life of its own. The finish line doesn’t cheer us on. It doesn’t judge winners and losers. It cannot give out awards. Yet without a finish line, we would have a tough time measuring our progress and success.

Today our daughter Briana graduates from college. She’s our third child to cross that finish line. We’ll be there as a family to cheer her on, and the university will award her for her accomplishments. But her diploma is only a stepping stone to future opportunities. Briana will quickly move on to whatever is the next finish line in her life.

So even though we may cross a finish line completely exhausted, we know that a finish line is not our resting place. It is a marker that declares our progress. No one would expect an Olympic champion or a NASCAR driver to be hanging around the finish line days and weeks after finishing a race.

Sometimes people cross a finish line without anyone around to help celebrate. This is Memorial Day weekend, and we honor our fallen service men and women who died in the line of duty. Countless families have suffered the loss of loved ones without ever being at the ultimate finish line. All we can do is honor them from a distance.

And so it is for Elijah. He would have graduated this year from Minnesota Virtual High School. He never got to cross that finish line. Yet the school is awarding him at their graduation ceremony with an honorary diploma. In reality, Elijah crossed a much more important finish line. Alone in the woods, with only the Lord to judge his victory, Elijah finished his final race. Someday we will see him wearing his crown of righteousness. My personal hope is to cross that same finish line exhausted, victorious in my faith, and thrilled at being surrounded by Elijah and so many others cheering me to victory.

In the words of the Apostle Paul:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 16

Making Memories on Purpose

I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on family memories these past months. It’s amazing how much more valuable memories become when we lose someone we love. All of this has made me appreciate memories in a whole new light.

I had never really thought about memories as having value. And I suppose it’s true that some memories are more valuable than others. But at their core, memories are just mental recordings of the events of our lives. The recorder is always in the ‘on’ position, even though we can lose track of where those recordings are stored.

The easiest memories to recall are those that we replay frequently. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Many of us know the struggle of trying to forget events that were traumatic and personally disturbing. Yet we also know what it’s like to find our ‘happy place’ where we can dwell on pleasant memories.

Sometimes memories can provide a cheaper version of a movie night with loved ones. We say things like, “Remember when…” and then share fun memories of events that we have in common.

With five children you would think that I naturally have a rich library of family memories. But a rich library of family memories is only a reflection of a rich set of shared experiences. Those experiences are not guaranteed to happen naturally. This is one of those deep truths that just seems too obvious. In reality most of us rush through life without purposefully creating experiences that will someday be our greatest treasures.

Thankfully for me, Melanie was raised to cherish experiences over the accumulation of things. She brought into our family life a commitment to prioritize the things we do rather than the things we own. Sometimes that involved regular vacations and recreational activities. Sometimes we simply had a game night or an outing to midnight bingo with family and friends. And it helps that we can refresh our memories with the wealth of photos and videos that we were always taking.

Memories will accumulate no matter what, but valuable memories almost always require effort. They have to be created on purpose. And making memories on purpose usually means just doing the things that we know we should. We may even be personally inconvenienced. Even if it seems like a sacrifice at the time. Even if there are other things that we might rather be doing.

Our children were pleasant surprises that changed our lives, and to some degree the world, for the better. But we had to take the effort on purpose to spend time with them. We had to plan activities that ended up creating a vast treasure of memories. Now that Elijah is gone I ponder those treasured memories often.

We are all in good company. Mary the mother of Jesus was also surprised by her pregnancy. She learned from God’s messengers that her child would change the world. What did Mary purpose to do?  She “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19).

 


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 14

Every Time I Remember You

Memories are amazing things. We can remember smells and sounds, facts and figures, events and images. More amazingly, we can remember emotions. We can never have enough happy memories, while we usually try hard to suppress painful memories.

Memories sometimes seem to have their own willpower. We can choose to recall them from our vast collection of things remembered, but how often have memories just popped up uninvited? So many things can trigger memories, especially pictures and music. Every time I prepare one of these posts I am forced to confront the range of emotions caused by viewing all the pictures and videos of our son, Elijah.

On the evening of Mother’s Day, after visiting Elijah’s final destination spot in the woods, our family gathered to watch videos of all the kids when they were little. We laughed a lot. There were so many happy memories, but we also had moments of sadness.

So here is a mystery I have been pondering: sometimes the very events that created happy memories can suddenly and simultaneously create in us pain and sorrow. During these past months we have been processing through boxes of Elijah’s possessions that Melanie was wise enough to save. It seems almost daily that we reflect with fond memories on some item of his. But then we find ourselves regretting the finality of his loss. We realize that the memories of Elijah will be all we have left. And then we cry. It’s a predictable cycle that we have come to accept as unavoidable.

How can a memory hold for us both happiness and sadness? They are opposing emotions, and it seems odd that they should coexist in the same memory of an event. It’s as though the sadness has appeared as a bacteria affecting the health of our memories. If we are not careful we will find ourselves avoiding memories that used to make us happy.

But I have discovered an antibiotic: Gratitude. Expressing thankfulness is an amazingly effective treatment for reducing sadness and restoring happiness. In our case, we are so thankful for having Elijah with us, even for a short time. He was such a cute baby, a truly delightful little boy and an amazing young man. We are thankful that he surrendered his heart to the Lord and caught fire for the Kingdom of God before he died. We are thankful that even now he is having a positive impact on countless numbers of people in dozens of countries worldwide. We are thankful that even in his death God is fulfilling what Elijah told me last November: that God would use him to reach millions for the Lord.

So when I am sad, I inject gratitude. When I think of Elijah, I appreciate the gift that he was to us. When I remember him, I remember also to thank God for him. In the words of the Apostle Paul:

 I thank my God every time I remember you.  (Philippians 1:3)

God is healing our broken hearts. But through gratitude He is also restoring our happy memories.

 


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 12

And Something Very Unusual Happened

Family visits Elijah's final destination

Family visits Elijah’s final destination


 

Dad visiting Elijah's resting spot

On Mother’s Day our family for the first time visited the place in the woods where Elijah perished. Many have asked us about the experience. In short, it was emotional and difficult. And something very unusual happened.

As a reminder, Elijah died the day after Thanksgiving. He was having some sort of breakdown, and we made a call to 911 for help. He became afraid and ran away into the woods. When he reached a clearing, he laid down and fell asleep. He died of hypothermia. For two weeks his body lay undiscovered in the hundred acre woods behind our home.

One of the last things Elijah wrote was how he had grown to love his name. He saw many similarities in his own life and that of the Prophet Elijah. At his funeral, I referenced an abbreviated part of scripture from 1 Kings 19 that he and I frequently studied together.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba, he went by himself a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

Seven times the police were sent back to search. The seventh time they reported that they had found him.

The police gave us the GPS location where they found Elijah. We had scheduled Mother’s Day because we were all together as a family, but the day was cold, overcast and windy. As we hiked through the woods with Elijah’s little dog Puff, we stopped almost breathlessly at the place where he died. It was on the edge of a very private and secluded clearing surrounded by hills and trees. It was a very peaceful place.

Isaiah planted a young tree in his brother’s memory. As we gathered around the tree, teary-eyed and speechless, someone suggested that we pray. I started praying, and at that very moment it began raining pretty hard. My mind was flooded with conflicting thoughts as I prayed. I wondered if this was some divine sign that God shared our tears at that moment. I wondered if I should hurry so that we could start the long hike back through the woods. But I simply finished the prayer with an emphatic “Amen!”

As I said amen, the rain abruptly stopped just as quickly as it had started. We didn’t see it rain again until later that evening.

None of us knows why the rain came as hard and as quickly and as briefly as it did during that prayer time. We are convinced that the rain event was most meaningful to our family, even though I am sharing it with those of you reading this. But as we talked about it later, we marveled at how thin sometimes are the spaces between the physical world and the spiritual realm.

And then there is this. God told the Prophet Elijah that He would bring rain to end the long drought. Elijah climbed to a private place and told his servant to look for a sign of rain, but the servant reported that there was nothing there.

Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” (1 Kings 18:43-44)

And then it rained.

 


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 07

A Different View of Mother’s Day

Melanie and the girls

Melanie and the girls

I love fresh fruit. It’s amazing that we can enjoy fresh fruit all year long. At this very moment at locations all over the world plants are producing fruit to be shipped for our enjoyment and consumption.

It makes sense that fruit tastes so good. Fruit contains the seeds for new plants, and we are willing to carry the fruit far from its parent plant in order to enjoy the taste and benefits. It’s a win for us, but also a win for the plant.

So even though fruit can be so enjoyable as food, the real purpose of fruit is found in the seed. The purpose of the seed is to create a new plant. And the further the seed is carried away from the plant, the greater is the chance that the plant will reproduce itself through its offspring.

The most significant thing a plant can do is produce the fruit that will allow it to reproduce. And during an annual growth cycle, the most costly thing a plant will do is produce its fruit. It will divert all its resources to producing fruit, even at the cost of its own well being. Even at the cost of its own existence.

In John 15:7-8, Jesus makes an amazing promise. He said we can have anything we ask for. But before we think of God as a genie granting wishes, he reminds us of God’s purpose. We are expected to reproduce.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

The principal of bearing fruit applies in the physical sense as well as the spiritual. In Genesis 1 we read that God created man and woman. He blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

So what does this all have to do with mothers? This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day. Having raised five children, I have had a front row seat to what a mother sacrifices to bring a child into the world. Even during the nursing stage, her body will divert nutrients to the child at the expense of her own health. I can only stand in awe as a spectator.

No wonder Melanie grieves so deeply at the loss of her child, Elijah. She sacrificed for his life and well being like no one else could. Her heart was bound to his. He loved her dearly, and he told her frequently.

Nothing can explain the pain of losing a child. As parents we find peace in looking towards our heavenly reunion. We find joy in seeing the impact our child had while alive. Even through his death Elijah has already reached millions with the message of God’s love. He was bearing fruit.

This Mother’s Day will be our first without Elijah. We will visit the place in the woods where he perished. We will see the trees and plants that surrounded him and remember the importance of living to bear fruit. We will have a greater appreciation for Melanie and the sacrifices she made for our children. And we will certainly experience a different view of Mothers’ Day.

Thank you to all the mothers who sacrificed so much to bring forth life, to spread joy, and to fulfill God’s purpose. God bless each of you!

 



Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

May 02

While You Were Sleeping

Elijah sleeping

Little Elijah sleeping

I’m not sure how many of you reading this have been parents, but I’m pretty sure that most of us have been children. And none of us remember everything our parents did to care for us. Having raised five children, Melanie and I can empathize with most young parents. We know what it’s like to be sleep deprived, exhausted and juggling all the demands of our own lives as well as our children’s.

But as little children, we can’t fully appreciate what our parents do to support us. That’s especially true when a child is tired or sleeping. Parents never count the number of times they change the diapers of a sleepy child, but each time is precious in the mind of the parent. We realize how tender and vulnerable our children are, and we care for them even though they will never know what sacrifices we are making for their benefit.

When they aren’t sleeping, our children can sometimes remind us how big a job we have as parents. When Elijah was only a few years old he wanted to stay out fishing with me. A familiar sound and his sudden expression of horror let me know that I should have taken him to the bathroom and I would now be in for a very unpleasant cleanup. As he sat on the potty and I stood at the sink cleaning his clothes, he turned and said to me, “Do you sink you can han-doe it?” Confused, I asked, “What, buddy?” He tried to clarify for me: “Dis big poopy. Do you sink you can han-doe it?

When Elijah turned fifteen, I experienced some things as a father that I didn’t think I could handle. His traumatic brain injury from severe concussions left him angry and depressed. He took out his anger mostly on me, telling me almost daily how he hated me. I took a job near our home so I could frequently check on him to ensure that he hadn’t harmed himself. My friends encouraged me to simply love him, as our Father in Heaven loves us unconditionally. Being a parent was turning out to be a lot harder than we had ever imagined.

During his last months with us Elijah became very expressive of his love for God and for his mom and me. I can still hear his voice as I walk past my office, simply telling me that he loves me. He frequently told Melanie how much he appreciated and loved her. He finally understood the role of God in carrying him through the tough times of his life: “Give the glory in everything you do to God… always. No matter what the situation, no matter what position your life is in, if you are sad and feel God has let you down, then you are misunderstanding the big picture.” (Elijah 2014)

This past week was the six month anniversary of Elijah’s passing. He reached his heavenly destination as most parents wish for their children. Just too soon, frankly. As his father, there is nothing else I can do for him. But more than ever, Melanie and I have realized that we ourselves are still children in desperate need of our Father’s care. And no matter how sad we are, no matter how many losses we grieve over, and no matter how lost we might feel on this journey, we have a greater appreciation for the One who carries us through. Even when we are desperately tired. Even while we are sleeping.

There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” (Deuteronomy 1:31).

 



Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

Apr 25

Picture This!

Melanie snuggling with the boys

Melanie snuggling with the boys

A picture sometimes takes you to forgotten places. Memories can be quickly triggered by seeing pictures from our past. And our memories are rich with images, emotions and even experiences of pain and pleasure.

During our coldest Minnesota winters, some friends in southern California will text me pictures of warm, sunny days, saying, “Picture this!” Evoking comforting memories during subzero temperatures seems both kind and cruel. I’ll sometimes text back pictures of snow and ice, saying, “Woe is me!”

We are all familiar with the emotional extremes that pictures can create. Many of my family pictures make me smile. Sometimes they make me sad. I made the mistake recently of looking through the pictures on my phone while flying home. As I browsed through the pictures, I paused on those of Elijah’s funeral. The memories flooded over me as I sat quietly weeping. But as painful as those memories are, they hold for me that last precious goodbye to my son.

Have you ever stumbled across pictures or videos that you had forgotten about or thought were lost? In this age of cell phone cameras and convenient selfies, we might easily take for granted the importance of capturing those little moments with our loved ones. But how glad our family is that someone thought to capture all those memories. Our regret was never that we took too many pictures. We only wish we had taken more.

During the emotionally numbing week preparing for Elijah’s funeral, I was overwhelmed by all that needed to get done. The one thing that brought our whole family together was creating Elijah’s video and collage tributes. It takes a lot of time to collect, process and select pictures to tell the story of a person’s life. We’ve done similar things for our children’s graduations and weddings, but this was an emotional roller coaster ride. While we would find ourselves oohing and aahing, and sometimes giggling, I also wondered at times if I could endure the pain and tears. It’s as though each picture poked a hot iron directly into my already broken heart.

But I realized this week that there is a worse pain than remembering a lost loved one from pictures. It is the pain of fading memories when there are no pictures. In talking to an old friend about the loss of their son a few years ago, he told me that his wife had no pictures of just her and her son. She seemed always to be the one taking the pictures. It remains one of her biggest regrets and a source of continued pain.

It doesn’t seem possible that we would forget about our loved ones, but memories fade. No parent wants their children to be forgotten. I’m glad that we have so many pictures with our children. I’m glad that I have them always with me on my cell phone. The only thing more permanent would be tattoos of my kids so they might be assured that I will never forget them. Maybe even tattoos on the palms of my hands so that I would see them all day long, no matter what I am doing.

Did you know that our Father in Heaven feels the same way about those of us who are His children? God says:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; (Isaiah 49:15-16)

God shines his face upon you, holds out his hands to you, and says, “Picture this!”

 



Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

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