A week before I followed God to the Seize the Day - Raise the C in ymCa Conference, I asked God to help me be a more forgiving person. He amazed me by helping me unload three dusty pieces of baggage in my heart in just a few days!
The last bag He opened up was like tearing off a big scab, and I bled again before throwing that bag out of my heart. That big bag I shared with a friend, Linda Lujan, on Facebook who was remembering her grandson who passed away. I recently asked Linda if she would mind if I shared our correspondence in this blog and she gave me permission to do so. I have found our original correspondence on her Facebook page and have copied it here.
On November 6, 2015 Linda Lujan wrote on Facebook: “Tiberius James Schleicher... Tibby... Mr. Tibs - our precious little red-headed grandson would have been celebrating his tenth birthday today. He is loved and missed by so many people. In his short life he filled hearts with joy. His absence never stops hurting. We didn't just lose a grandchild that day... his Momma, our daughter, is a different person than she was before. Thinking of you today (and every day), Tibby.”
I responded, “Ouch...that is so so sad...my best friend's child battled cancer from the age of 3 to almost 6. It broke our hearts, but as a friend it changed me too. For a little bit, I almost lost my faith in God - I was both sad and angry. That was fifteen years ago. Since then I have seen my friends battle the pain, and then watched their other children and them live. Their second oldest child, who became the oldest child...he was a pillar of his high school, and now is a pillar of his college. He earned lots of scholarships and awards, for not only being smart, but so hard working and caring to other students and a super volunteer for nonprofits. He learned that life matters and has made his days on earth matter. His parents dedicate time to help others at the Ronald McDonald House and other places. I learned our number of days is not guaranteed, and each day given could be our last. I learned to hug my friends and family daily and to be kind to as many people as possible because today may be my only chance to be kind to that person. I will not leave my house angry with my family...I must make amends because if those were my last moments, I want them to be a good memory...”
I then prayed for Linda and her family, and started crying.
I went back to my computer and posted, “...oh dear...know this morning I am praying for your family. I am in tears trying to put on makeup, but have given up this morning...can't put on mascara while crying. This week I told God I wanted to be a more forgiving person, and I was going to forgive a person who weighed heavy on my heart. It worked and I forgave her...but then I ran into someone yesterday who broke my heart 10 years ago...and I was able to give her a hug...and I thought, ‘ wow...God thank you...I forgot that maybe I hadn't forgiven her too...thanks for giving me a chance to hug her and forgive her too.’ Your message today woke up my grief about losing Michael, after 3 years of intensely praying for his healing. I still love God, but I don't think I have forgiven him for not curing Michael, and taking him to heaven too soon for us remaining on earth...oh dear...I think I will visit a priest this week...I could use a little help on this one…,but I do remember what I told my children I taught in religious education classes, ‘Your life if you live to be 100 is one inch long...your life if you live to be 50 is half an inch long...your life if you live to be only a baby is a millimeter long...(I showed this with my thumb and index finger)...,but your life in heaven is for infinity. It is from my finger here to past the moon and stars..., so God wants us to love each other, and do our best to be kind to each other, and be his hands and feet on earth. We will be in bliss wrapped in love and joy for eternity with him, after we go and that will last tons longer than anything we endured on earth...’
Linda Lujan replied later, “It is hard to understand the bad things that happen. I have always liked the sentiment, "why not me?" instead of "why me?" If we didn't walk through the valleys we would never appreciate the peaks. Losing a child/grandchild is a deep, deep valley, yet there can still be joy later. I hope your day got better, Gina.”
I wrote, “Thanks Linda. It did. I agree about your valleys and peaks...I just wish some of the valleys wouldn't be that deep...”
Stay tuned…the next post is about one of the people God called me to meet on the plane to the Seize the Day Conference in Florida…