I recently found this blog. Preston puts words together beautifully, in a way I can only dream of doing. One of the series he has is “Conversations with Ourselves”
Conversations with Ourselves,a series of posts over the summer in which every Thursday the author addresses the Past Self through the Present or vice versa (or sometimes totally not this, but something equally cool) concerning matters of Faith, specifically. Perhaps views of God, denominational affiliation, spiritual practice, expectations, politics, age, anything and everything that focuses on how we grow in understanding or, perhaps, not understanding Him unto Whom all things tend.
I find this beautiful and brilliant. And the guests he has writing these conversations are amazing. So far, this one and this one are my favorites.
Their writing makes mine look like a kindergartener’s
I thought of what a conversation between my past, present and future self might look like… it wasn’t pretty. In my mind, they all dissolved into screaming matches and ended in with my past self angry and in tears, my present self sad and in tears, and my future self shaking her head at our immaturity.
So I thought of my past self and thought she might prefer to be communicated with by letter and usually my present self can relay her thoughts better in writing anyways. So here it goes.
Dear nine-year-old Tracy:
This is the year that you will experience death far too early. I know it is scary and I know it is terrible, but will shape you into a better person.
There will soon be a morning when you will wake in the camp trailer full of people. Frantic people. People praying. People giving your big brother CPR. One man will come over, lay his hand on your back and start praying for you. Don’t be scared, dad, our hero, is somewhere in the chaos.
After what feels like forever they will take your brother away, dad will go with them and you will be left in the care of someone else. Mom and Travis will be home in Yakima.
Eventually dad will come back, you will sit on his lap and he will say “Tracy, Jeff is with Jesus now.” The words will be foreign. These are scary words, cruel words but they had to be spoken.
You will go home shortly after. Mom and Travis will be waiting. Our family is reunited… but not really.
No parent should have to bury their child. No nine-year-old should hear the words “Jeff is with Jesus now” You shouldn’t have had to hear those words.
I know you are scared and sad, eventually the sadness and fear will transform into anger. But always remember. This brother made you who you are.
Eventually you will grow into a young woman who cannot stand to see people being hurt, you will have righteous rage when you see bullies. People throwing around the word “retard” will set your teeth on edge. And your eyes will fill with tears when you see the helpless.
From this horrible pain, from this death, you will develop a sense of compassion and empathy that I believe we never would have had if our big brother didn’t have cerebral palsy.
Don’t be afraid to embrace this part of you. It is one of the best parts of who we are.