A few months ago a friend and colleague of mine shared an interview question he heard several years ago. The question goes: “What’s one thing you know for sure?” 

On the surface it might sound like a simple contemplation hardly worthy of a moment’s thought. But I have found it fascinating how deeply that question affects people: “What’s one thing you know … for sure?” Every time I've asked someone that question postures become upright, eyes search the air as if to find words and meaning. Suddenly things get real. No matter the person’s background, conversation gets deep and meaningful and thoughts invariably point to man’s search for meaning. 

I remember the day of this photo so well. We took our kids to explore some unfamiliar park across the valley. We have a family tradition each summer called “Park Hopping” wherein we pack a meal and explore a park we've never visited. Knowing how easy it is to get entrenched by the routines of life we made a habit of stepping out of our comfort zones and enjoying the thrill of discovery. 

On one occasion, when Wyatt was about 4 years old, we found a park we had never before seen and got settled on the grass. As I was playing with and taking photos of my kids I noticed Wyatt with his tiny hands reach into his little backpack and pull out a can of Febreze. He then started squirting a blanket we had just laid on the grass. He wanted to help out and thought Mitch might like the smell. With each squirt the wind would blow its mist in his face to which little Wyatt would quickly try and dodge. We all chuckled as this little boy who was trying to be helpful and domesticated. 

I thought to myself how lucky I was to have children of my own. And as much as I love them, they are not mine… they are on loan.

A few years later, on the day of this photo, Mitch was especially affectionate toward his mother and wrapped his arms around her and leaned his head into hers. This was the day I took one of my favorite photo series of Mitch and his mom – which series now hangs in my home on a very special wall. As I browsed my photos that night I stumbled into these images and didn't appreciate until that moment the portraits of love I was lucky to capture. With tears in my eyes I then wrote in my journal “It’s quite possible that it’s altogether impossible to love your child too much.” If I felt strongly about that then, I feel even stronger about it today.

What’s one thing I know for sure? I know that I love my family – and they are more valuable to me than all the treasures of earth. 

Just today I knelt by my son’s empty bed and thanked my Father for the gift of my son. I wept tears of sincere gratitude. I asked that He would let my son, who I know is also His son, know how much he means to me and that I miss him. What’s one thing I know for sure? I also know that God lives. I have seen His hand in too many things. There is no longer room for doubt; not because of what I've seen, but because of what I've felt. I know. 

Although there’s a tempest of sorrow that storms in my heart, one day it will calm. And when it does I will look across the glassy waters of grief - from a place of understanding and heavenly peace.

I don’t know much about a lot of things - but there are a few things I know … and I know them for sure.