Friday, June 22, 2007

"May 23, 1997
name B.J.
I saw a ground hog den. UNcle Brad (you) saw a snake.
We also saw a rakoon and a opasum.
We slept in a t.p. to the nex day."
OK, so it won't win any writing or spelling awards, but Beej was just a little guy when he wrote this early "jounle" page and gave it to me after he, Brent and I spent the night here at camp in one of our tipis. He doesn't mention the fish he caught (or maybe disappointment at catching a little bass when he was going for the giant carp he'd seen made it less important to him) with his little pole while fishing with his Dad, but maybe that was the next day.
I cherish this single piece of memo paper handed to me 10 years ago after a short, enjoyable visit that had faded into the shadows of my memories until I came across it a few months ago - it is, I believe, the only writing of his that I posses.
It is interesting how small things can become so important to us after we lose someone. I remember how I hung on to gas card receipts with my Dad's signature on them for a long time because that signature was a little piece of him - he had written it and couldn't do so anymore. I had found them in the pockets of a suit of his that Mom gave me after he died. That signature was like the smell of him that lingered for a while on that suit, a welcome reminder of someone I loved dearly and could no longer hold except through the power of memory.
I am so glad that BJ started journaling at an early age, a practice by the way that was no doubt inspired by the journals his parents did to track Bible studies and prayer requests and answers. I am glad that Brent and Deanna have so much of him in those pages to bring him close, but more importantly for others so that his words can be shared when appropriate to help point other to Christ; to show that even a young person can have a firm grasp on truth and grace and has the ability to do great things for Him.
In that light, think of the gift that He has given to all of us; Jesus left us His story in written form and it is still and always the best way to get to know Him - to breath in His essence and feel His presence again like we did when we first came to know Him. Like looking at Dad's signature on a receipt there are times that I wish He had said more in His word, given us even more specific instructions on how to love our enemies or overcome this world, but even better than the memories that can flood in when we read a signature or smell a scent, Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to fill us and lift us out of whatever we are bound in, to love us and grant us wisdom when we seek it and to comfort when we need it.
Heavenly Father, we are so grateful for the gift of your power and presence. Please give us the strength to lift your word from the table it sits upon. Life can make it a very heavy book to lift, but its contents can remove all of the weight that we bear, bringing refreshment and wisdom where weariness and confusion seem to reign. Amen.
P.S. Brent shared with me Wednesday morning that at the closing service for team training the evening before one of the other leaders asked the group of young missionaries how many of them were there, directly or indirectly, because of the way the Lord had worked through BJ's life . Roughly one-third of them raised their hands! Imagine the emotion that Brent and Deanna experienced, the comfort and purpose that knowing this brings. This is one reason why "bad things happen to good people" - so that God may be glorified in ways that are unimaginable during the pain. This is why they have continued this post. May God continue to be glorified.
Also, I just discovered at the book store the other day that Mercy Me's "Coming Up to Breathe" is also available in an accoustical version! I encourage anyone who loves their music to give it a listen - Bart's vocals are somehow more personal without all of the background music, as much as I love the original version. This isn't better, just -- different (in a good way).


At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad this is Taylor Debaun's mother what bookstore do you shop at?

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