As Audrey and I drove out of the parking lot at school today, she very excitedly asked me to dig out the picture she drew. She couldn’t wait to show me the family picture she had made - on the back of a worksheet no less. I don’t know if it was an organized or prompted exercise, but nonetheless, she was proud of her accomplishment and wanted to show it off. (I may or may not be apologizing to her teacher for her paying attention or not - still to be determined) 

As we drove down the road, it was obviously hard for me to really examine the picture and take in all of its details, so I started asking her questions. As she pointed out all of the things and people she had drawn, the list went like this: This is daddy, and you, and me, and Penny. “and that’s our family!!” And in that instant, there was a burst of both pride and sorrow. What a milestone to write down. She drew her first {I think ever} family picture. ITS LEGIBLE. You can see faces and eyes, legs, arms, even hands. Its a literal portrait of her growing up. She is capable of drawing stick people when two months ago, heck two weeks ago, she was scribbling on pages and calling it slides, and whales, and christmas trees. On this day, this december, she drew her family and it actually resembles her family. Except it doesn’t. At least not all of it. And there lies the sorrow. The totally equal, totally simultaneous, joy and sorrow. 

After the initial punch to the chest wore off, I asked her if she drew George. She frustratedly said no. I didn’t really want to push it, but this mama’s heart wanted to know what was going on in that preschooler’s head (and heart), so I asked why not. After a deep breath, she told me she didn’t know how. And then it all made sense. Because none of this makes sense to me, and I’m a grown adult with an ever deepening relationship with my Holy Comforter. Why would I expect my 3 year old to have the answers? I struggle daily with how to include our sweet son in our lives. As each day brings us further from his day, I am faced with decisions about how his life will be represented; every single day for the rest of my life. So when she told me she didn’t know how, it made perfect sense. I guess in a way I sort of hoped that her child’s mind and innocence would work out those details for me. That her first family picture would include George Mason, maybe not in the same line or way as it did her parents and her dog, but that he would be represented as a member of her family. And that I would learn something profound in the way she chose to navigate that. I guess I did still learn something profound: the route to representing and including George is not drawn out perfectly for us. It will be written by the tugs of our hearts on each new day. It will be supported by the perfect new mercies of our Father. And it will never be perfect or complete until we are reunited in eternity. 

I’ve been sinking into the words of Ecclesiastes 3 for a solid week now. Just being told, in plain, not subtle, words, that there is a time for everything, has been healing and frustrating all at the same time. It has reminded me that George Mason was not taken from this earth a moment sooner than was intended; that God had a plan for his life and George lived it to the exact second that God intended. It reminded me that because of the brokenness that came of the fall, there is a time for life and a time for death. I needed those reminders because sometimes I forget. I get wrapped up in the emotions of loss and forget that George lived for God. 16 wonderful hours, entirely for God - and for a purpose that likely only God knows. But in that purpose, we know was the underlying thread of furthering God’s kingdom. I seriously can’t wait to get to Heaven and see what that looks like. To one day meet the person or people who know God because of George. It honestly feels like the most perfect way to end this life and begin eternity. And that was the last reminder, that God has “put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;” 

God placed eternity into our hearts. From our creation, He instilled in us eternity. Something to live for. Something to look forward to. Something to give us a glimpse at the work He is doing, yet knowing we can’t fathom the entirety of the details. It is written that all of this life, from beginning to end, is God’s gift to us. That we would “eat & drink, and take pleasure in the toils.” I’m still working on what that means for me, for anyone really, but what I do know, is that all of these promises God has made, are the real deal. And whether or not I completely understand all of the details now or in eternity, doesn’t make them any less real or true. So as I process the punches of unexpected {or not so unexpected} family portraits, I know that God has ordained a time for everything, including my sweet son and all of the joy and sorrow that has, is, and will come from his life. 

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.” Ecclesiastes 3:9-15

Mama, Daddy, Audrey, & Penny

Mama, Daddy, Audrey, & Penny