A SPECK IN THE UNIVERSE
It was a punishingly hot summer day. Evening was almost upon us when we stopped by our home which was under construction. We sold our previous home because it had too many stairs and we wanted to have something that would accommodate Mitchell’s growing physical needs.
When we arrived, our kids bounced out of our van and ran around the home to see what had changed. They were freshly bathed and smelled vaguely of soap and shampoo and were dressed in their jammies in preparation for a den party back at our apartment. Mitch and Ethan ran into what would soon be their room. Like little children do, they began making plans about where their beds would go, the forts they would make and where they would store their favorite toys. The little boy in me wanted to join them in their youthful adventures – but this was their time, and I loved watching a little of me in them.
Mitch, wearing his cute yellow t-shirt, ran to the corner of their room and said, “Effie, this is where we’ll sleep!” Ethan smiled, “Sweet, dude” and began to share his excitement about their brotherly plans.
It never occurred to me the hell I would experience in this very corner just a few years later. This spot where you see Mitch standing is exactly where he would die.
This was the same place I fell to my knees a thousand times and pleaded heavenward for my son’s deliverance from death. This is where I bartered with my Father and asked that He might take my life instead. The same place my wife bowed her head, broken and defeated in grief when Mitch would awaken long enough to tell his mom he would be okay. This is the exact same place, to the very inch, she would sense his soul linger after he passed away … where she heard a whisper to her soul, “It’s okay, Mommy.”
In this unremarkable corner of suburban America, this infinitely tiny speck the universe is hallowed ground. This is where I peered into the abyss, which is death, and found myself gasping for air as I was swallowed up in the darkness of grief. Yet, as my spiritual eyes began to adjust … as my soul began to search heavenward, I started to discern the many tender mercies heaven put in our path so we might bear our burdens more easily. The recognition of these invisible blessings were like little flecks of light – and the accumulation of these blessings presented themselves like a heavenly constellation so I could find my way in the pitch of night. Oh, what night grief can be. So dark … so heavy, one cannot see or scarcely breathe.
Yet, there, in this corner where I wished to die so that I might escape the grief of losing my child, I was given eyes to see Heaven’s tender hand and many loving mercies. Even still, I was required to walk the dark path of grief and was greatly pained therewith; for I wanted my son to be with me.
This insignificant space, this speck in the universe … this is where I knelt with bruised knees: a plain, ordinary, and flawed man, begging for relief. And in the pitch of night, as I looked heavenward I saw a heavenly sight … forever, it seemed, I could see tender mercy upon tender mercy. In that dim light, I learned to see far beyond the veil of mortality.