Or . . . I Will Remember

When I walk through deep waters I know that one of two things can happen.  The current will knock me off balance and sweep me away into uncertainty, the fury will rage and cause me to fear, and the safe harbor will distance itself from my reach until it vanishes into the darkness.  Or I will remember her, that beautiful determined lotus flower.

She rests underneath the raging waters, beneath the murky soil, waiting for her chance to enter into the atmosphere.  I wonder if she realizes the struggle that lies ahead of her; does she enter this world as we all do, innocent, pure, with love and untainted trust, and a spirit determined to thrive?  What were her thoughts as she eagerly emerged through the earth’s crust only to find herself alone in murky waters?  Did she see a glimmer of sunlight somewhere up above?  Did she consider wilting under the weight of it all, or did she feel the ground shake with an even greater fury as God declared his promises over her life?  I will remember her, that beautiful determined lotus flower.

Her roots are strong and her faith is undisturbed by the turmoil around her.  No matter how minuscule the progress may be as she struggles against the pressure, she continues to rise.  The sunlight awaits her; she is sure of it.  Every once in a while she will catch a glimpse of it offering rays of hope and promise on the surface above her;  it reveals itself by day and comforts her fears by night.  Her foundation grows thick and her stem even stronger.  I will remember her, that beautiful determined lotus flower.

The light shines bright ready to embrace its emerging child.  The beauty is unlike any she has ever seen and for a moment she considers recoil.  She halts beneath the surface afraid to move any further.  She is dirty having risen from the mud and knows her appearance will tarnish this majestic place.

The ground shakes again causing the dirt to swirl around her.  A familiar darkness returns as the serenity is disturbed, and the murk surrounds her once again. It brings a level of relief and comfort as she feels less exposed, however, that was not the intention.  This was only the beginning.  I will remember her, that beautiful determined lotus flower.

She couldn’t see what was in front of her but she could feel the powerful current.  It took her a moment to realize what was happening as the sediment began to fall beneath her.  The current seemed to be sweeping around and through her taking all of the filth with it.  She was clean and pure in this new birth, regardless of where she came.  She heard a voice arise from a place unknown “trust this journey my precious lotus.”  She took one last moment before revealing herself.  She embraced those words and burst through the surface into the unknown. The sun met her with a warm embrace, and encouraged her to blossom into all she was meant to be.  One by one her petals began to open and dance on the water with a freedom only God could give.  She continues to blossom by day and close by night.  She isn’t afraid of what the darkness may bring, she just knows she doesn’t belong there anymore.  I will remember her, that beautiful determined lotus flower.

Jessica Caudle – 05/22/15

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Angel-versary – May 9, 1990

Though this day left an empty space

In this world and in our hearts

You entered into our father’s arms

Somewhere . . . Miles apart

I smile as I imagine

How beautiful that must have been

You standing before the Almighty

Free from this earthly sin

I think about you daily

Wonder what it’s like where you are

Sometimes I feel your presence

Just as the moon accompanies the stars

This earth did not stop spinning

Even though it felt like it had

So many things have happened

I sure miss you Dad

I hope you are proud

Of the woman I am today

You remain in my heart

Always there to stay

I carry you with me always

In everything that I do

And your beautiful grandson

He knows you too

Cast a line for us

Into that heavenly water

And smile that beautiful smile

Always . . . Your daughter

6463Dad62530_1636597559816_4348089_nDad1Dad2

April 08, 2005

The anticipation as you entered this world. Watching, waiting, with eager eyes.
We were tense and our ears longed for your cry. With what seemed like forever, at last your beautiful sound silenced the room. Tears fell, I couldn’t contain them and joy consumed me. At first glance 10 little finger, 10 little toes, all too familiar… they were just like mine. In that moment our lives forever changed. The heart within that was once so carefully guarded now rested in your tiny little hand. You were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Your bright eyes and untamed spirit fascinated me and completed me.
You continue to surprise me every day as you grow! You are full of such love, light, and independence! From day one you held your head up with strength consuming your surroundings. By six months you were crawling wherever you felt like going. At ten months you were taking steps, waiving bye-bye, playing peek-a-boo, saying momma and dadda, laughing, and being very expressive. We managed to tackle potty training, skinned knees, band-aids, even a few stitches, and “all better” sugars.
April 8, 2008 – You are three years old this year. I bought you your first bicycle, Lord I don’t think training wheels were made to roll that fast!
April 8, 2009 – You are four years old. I love reading you bedtime stories and watching your face light up as you begin to recognize the letters on the pages. I love when you pick up a crayon and write your own name, and when you run to get your folder to show us your happy faces from school. I loved the excitement in your eyes as you ran around the bases at your first t-ball game, and again when Chacey and I took you to see the Texas Rangers play. Our Rangers were in there first World Series last year!
April 8, 2010 – You are five years old. We adopted your first companion and added on to our little family. You named her Sunny dog. Oh my, what fun it is to watch you both play, and touching when we go to wake you up in the mornings and find her curled up next to you. You are so smart Jace, and so loving!
April 8, 2011 – 6 years old??? It is hard to believe. You are growing up so fast! We accomplished so many things during this past year. We finally have our very own home complete with a backyard and plenty of room for you and Sunny dog to play. You started a new school this year and though I know it was scary for you, you faced it with such courage and have adjusted so well. Just this morning, you played your very first soccer game with the Wildcats. The score was 2-1 with five minutes left in the game; you found your way to the ball and carried it all the way to the goal to tie the game! I hope you always remember the sound of your family cheering you on as we will always do!
April 8, 2012 – Here we go again son. Your birthday falls on Easter this year, you will be 7 years old soon. My heart is full, as we celebrate God, we will also celebrate you! He knew exactly what he was doing when he placed you into my life, and for that I am forever grateful.
April 8, 2013 – You are sleeping sweetly tonight. I just finished homework and am smiling as I remember where I was eight years ago. I was in labor getting closer and closer to meeting you. It has been another amazing year son. Chacey and I took you to Washington DC on Thanksgiving day, you were such a big boy on your first plane ride, not scared a bit though that no longer surprises me! You read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” the whole flight and finished a second book while we were there. You finally got to see the White House and your hero “Abraham Lincoln’s” memorial, and the place where he spent his last moments on this earth. You simply amaze me, I am so happy that you are interested in History. It is important to know where we come from and to remember those who fought so hard for the privileges that you enjoy today. As Maya Angelou says, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” I have no doubt you will be successful in carving your own piece of history one day. You are a natural born leader.
You are in your second year with the Red Sox and Preston is playing with you this year. You boys are so funny, and I am so grateful you have one another! By the way, you also have another dog you brought home from your dad’s named Roxie, and a cat named CC. This place is turning into a small zoo… did I mention the two ninja turtles?
April 8, 2014 – You are 9 years old today Jace, I can hardly believe it. I don’t even want to think about hitting double digits next year! What a year this has been. Life happened, and you faced a very difficult time with losing two precious uncles this year (Uncle Robert & Uncle Ricky) . Your Dad, Chacey, and I sat down with you and had those difficult conversations about death, heaven, and many other things. We wiped your tears and held you tight, and we always will. Though we have all been through it before, it hurt us deeply to watch you go through it as well. No matter what, always keep them in your heart and thank God for the precious moments that you got to spend with them. They live on through you. As long as you live, they live. As long as you live, they will be remembered. As long as you live, they will be loved.
Chacey and I took you to see the ocean for the first time this year as well. We took you to Clearwater Beach, Florida. You got to see Winter the Dolphin with a prosthetic tail, pet sting rays, and ride jet skis in the ocean. Once while out on the water we saw a huge sea turtle surface in front of us. Your brilliant mother (me) also flooded the jet ski which floated us out beyond the suggested sea barrier. You screamed for your life! But, we made it back safely and even had several dolphins jumping in our wake on the way back. We told you the ocean wasn’t that scary once you got in it, and you certainly found your sea legs! We love you so very much young man, I suppose I can start calling you that now since you aren’t so little any more.
P.S. We have another cat which you rescued from the Children’s Courtyard. We aren’t certain if it is a male or a female. It looks like Garfield and is the mostly lovable cat I have ever seen. It sleeps with you too.
April 08, 2015
I can’t believe you will be 10 years old in just a few short hours. Wow! The double digits have arrived. You are not just getting older, you have managed to outgrow every pair of clothing/shoes you had at the beginning of this school year. You have increased 3 shoe sizes and 2 shirt/pant sizes as well. I joke with you often about getting a job so I can afford to keep you.
This is also your last year of elementary school. Chacey and I took a tour of Asa Low Intermediate School a few weeks ago (where you will start a new journey as you venture into fifth grade next year). It is huge compared to Roberta Tipps. You will have a rotating schedule, lockers, gym classes, and endless opportunities to pursue whatever extracurricular activity you decide to choose.
You played football for the first time this year. You and Preston played for the Mansfield Longhorns and your dad drove down to be by your side for every game. You loved that. Once again, even being the smallest kid on the team, you faced it without hesitation and put your whole heart in it. You made us proud. You kept telling Chacey that the coaches put you on “defensive line,” and with her knowledge of football she kept saying “there is no way!” I was clueless, football is not my thing, and tried to explain to her what I observed from the practice field sideline (insert laymen’s terms). Well, after attending your game and picking her jaw up off of the ground she apologized to you. You were in fact playing “defensive line” as the littlest man on the team. One day I hope to be as awesome as you.
We also had another devastating loss this year. Our amazing Grandpa, Tim Conatser passed on February 15. I am grateful we were able to spend valuable time with him and made sure he knew how loved and special he was to us. He instilled a deep love of music in me which I have shared with you. I recently heard you singing every word to a Creedence Clearwater Revival song and smiled knowing that it came from a place much deeper than that, it is another precious memory of him living on through you. I have no doubt that made Grandpa smile as well.
Son, I hope your 10th birthday is just as incredible as you are. As you face changes over the next year, continue to embrace them with the same eager spirit you have always had and know that we will always have your back. Don’t forget to pray, give thanks, help others as often as you can, and love like there is no tomorrow. I love you as big as the sky and more.
You make me so proud… You make me a better me.

Jace 2

The Sound of Silence

I wrote your name on that path

among far too many others

Mothers, daughters, sisters

fathers, sons and brothers

Overwhelming is an understatement

knowing why they are all there

Beautiful lives gone far too soon

It is almost too much to bear

Loved ones gathered around

in hopes to fill that common hole

and bridge the gap of silence

that hides the suffering soul

There is no way to really know

what was going through your minds

as you gained your angel wings

leaving us behind

What we wouldn’t give

for just one more day

So many things we could do

So many things left to say

My life is brighter because of you

even through the grief and pain

I wouldn’t have missed a single moment

only wish we could have walked you through the rain

The things your mind must have said

couldn’t have been more wrong

Otherwise you would still be here

dancing through life’s song

This is why we gather

even through the tears

In hopes we can stop another

by helping them through their fears

Battles are won in numbers

never meant to be fought alone

If you or someone you know is struggling

Please… please pick up the phone

1-(800) 273-Talk (8255)

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

http://www.afsp.org

“Every 16 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide.  Every 17 minutes someone is left to make sense of it.”