I recently had my sister ship me all of Alexis belongings and they arrived in 2 large boxes not too long ago. When I initially went to Iowa to gather her things, I took what I felt was necessary and important. I was in such a state of shock that I didn’t realize how much I left behind. To my surprise I came home and there were 2 large boxes waiting for me to open. I sat in my living room, opened each box and touched every single piece of clothing and imagined my daughter wearing each item. I could visibly see her feet in her shoes and I held her jacket in my hands as I cried on the living room floor. How could I have left all of this? This is all that I have left of her… things. When I was done weeping, I realized I was the only one who was crying. My youngest daughter, looked at all the clothes and said to me ‘Can I have this sweater? I really like it!’ It brought a smile to my face as its one of many examples God uses to show me we must move forward. I smiled and said ‘Of course.’ I know Alexis would love to know her little sister is wearing her sweater and would want me to pass it along.
Today I listened to a sermon from church and they referenced the Rhino. Did you know that the Rhino does not naturally move backwards? It is not a natural state for them, they are forward moving animals. The bible uses many animals as spiritual references, but today’s message was ‘Be like the Rhino, fast, endless amounts of energy, strong and always moving forward.’ To have a forward thinking faith- to not focus on yesterday and remain present in today. This doesn’t mean to forget what has happened or to not deal with it. In order to move forward, we have to do the necessary work to evolve. This work can be uncomfortable, it makes you look at yourself, those around you and have moments of much needed tenderness. Our hearts have endured so much this year- God knows that. If we stay in prayer, in his word, serve others and stay in community, we will develop the forward faith God wants us to have.
Today, I could choose to look at the boxes of ‘things’ I have and become extremely sad. Instead choose to write-
Alexis, you were a God sent. You gave me 22 years of joy. Every smile, tear, argument, laugh, memory, and lessons are all treasures in my heart. I read our messages, your cards, notes and you always told me how much you loved me. We always talked about the future, you promised me we would grow old together. You looked up to me and now you look after me. I have gained many angels in Heaven, but you my dear are truly a special one God called home. To be absent in the physical body is to be present with Christ. There is no better place I can wish for you to be. On my days when I am sad, send us a reminder to look up and move forward. It’s your turn to remind me I can be the Rhino- Strong but always moving forward.