Monday, October 02, 2006

I spoke with Lynae (my sister) Saturday evening, and she told me that Joshua (keeper of the sword) had chosen to mark BJ's recent anniversary in a most unusual way.

When we lived at HLBC (the camp) and they visited, BJ and Joshua had visited an oversized mud puddle that seldom dried up. Because of this, it was filled with tadpoles. This memory left an indelible print on Joshua. When offered some pretty enticing alternatives of how to spend 9/26, Joshua balked at them.

His mind was made up. He wanted to buy some frogs to remember BJ by. The anniversary came shortly after Josh's 7th birthday. He went out and bought two fire-bellied toads. One he named BJ, and the other, because it rhymed, DJ. Joshua had no idea BJ had a best friend named DJ.

DJ tells a story of shortly after he and BJ met (they were on the same Peru mission team) how he and BJ began to wrestle. Beej always being small, had indicated that he was a wrestler. DJ tossed down some sort of gauntlet, and suddenly these two who had known each other for about three hours, were embraced in today's version of male-bonding. Beej picked him up and threw him onto the bed then proceeded to try and keep him down. In those moments, their hearts became inseparable.

Fast forward...we were spending one of our first nights in a hotel in North Africa. My room contained three other young men I didn't know well, yet. One was DJ.

Conversation was happening as I had been resting. I got up from my repose and noticed looks being fired from one to the other. As I began to wonder what was up, it happened. DJ grabbed me and began to try and take me down. Before he knew what happened, he had been upended and tossed down onto a nearby mattress where I held him for a time. Eruptions of laughter filled the room.

A few moments later, after we had separated, I was suddenly under attack by not one, but three young men! Suffice it to say that I held my own...for a few seconds. It was not long before I had to relent. Overpowered by numbers. I like to think I put up a good fight.

These moments instantly reminded me of the stories I had heard told at BJ's funeral celebration. Just that quickly, their hearts became a part of mine.

Two or three weeks later, on a very hot and sticky night, as I lay trying to drift off to sleep, I was instantly overwhelmed by the bellow of his loss. My face was wet, and my heart oh, so heavy.

My pain was unknown to my team in those moments, but not to that of my Savior.

That team of guys, thinking they were being funny, came and piled on top of me! Through my tears, I embraced them and held them close. I think they thought I was punishing them by not letting them up. The truth was, I was receiving a long needed embrace that only the Holy Spirit could orchestrate.

A few moments later, they returned to bed none the wiser (until now).

Yesterday would have been his 17th birthday. While Lynae was relaying the Joshua story to me Saturday evening, she asked if Sunday looked big to me. I told her that it wasn't near as imposing now that we had passed the one year anniversary.

In wondering how Joshua was handling it all she told me that Joshua could tell the difference between the two toads in a most unusual way. The DJ toad would often leap off of the face of the BJ toad. Because it did this repetitively, he felt sure the BJ toad was the one who was being tolerant.

I laughed about this as I went to bed. As usual, I had to get up several times overnight to know. Each time, I offered up a Happy Birthday to my son. I was doing well...not too melancholy.

Somewhere around 7:30 that morning, I felt Deanna leave the bed without a word. I wondered where she was headed. My answer came in short order.

As I lay trying to force a few more moments of rest, a beautiful offering arose. In the early morning quiet, the sound broke through loud and sweet. It echoed down halls that begged for his presence and met the ears of one who longed for the same.

Deanna sat quietly at the piano serenading her son without voice, as it was too hard to find. "Happy Birthday to You," rebounded off each wall as it brought about a flood of memories.

Beej would celebrate his 17th as he had his 16th, in the presence of the King. We would honor his day by wearing black and pink. Deanna pulled out the skirt she had not worn since his funeral. She had been saving it for this day. She looked beautiful in it. I wore the pink shirt he had given me for Father's Day, while he was in Peru.

How incredibly blessed we are to know that he had such wonderful bonds with his cousin Joshua, his friend DJ, and the many friends and family who spent his 16th at our home in Indiana.

On this, his 17th, his home church in Indiana would hold a missions fair picnic. This carried his name and was held in his honor. It was held to raise money for missions. So very fitting for a young man who only lived to try and bring glory and honor to his Savior.



At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Brent & Deanna,

I love, Brent, how you can bring me to laugh out loud one minute and then to tears the next. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit can provide those real, deep, connecting hugs when we really need them, even from someone we might not know well. I'm glad those boys provided it for you. I'm sure it's been such an emotional couple of weeks. Praying that you will have peace today that only our heavenly Father above can provide.

Blessings, Tina

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


you know i'm not a crier..and this week has just pushed me over the edge! and these posts... aren't helping at all! that was a joke. this post was incredible. thank you for sharing..and just for your transparency.

love you guys.

in about a month..i'll be seeing you =)


At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey mom and dad,

Thanks for sharing that, that was really cool. I hope all is well and thx for everything. I love you guys.


At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes me laugh a little to read that. On the Peru trip, DJ and BJ were wrestling around in the hotel in Dallas even before we left the country! I just assumed they had met one another beforehand until I asked how long they knew each other. To my surprise they had both laughed and told me they met during the past few days of training. It was a lot of fun being with those guys on that trip. I'll never forget the shared "uh-oh" feeling me and B.J. had when we broke the light while sword fighting, along with the laugh we had about it later.
I don't know how much of an encouragement it is to know, but I pray for you guys every day. You've been a huge blessing to me! God has used and is still using your family in incredible ways for His glory.

Peru 05

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way to start your morning, Brent! Deanna always knows what to do. God bless you both and your girls.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bless you Family
Sending our love and prayers to lift you up and bring you comfort.
your sister in Christ
Indpls, IN

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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