Tuesday, July 13, 2010
While in OKC, I spent an afternoon in my friend's art room. I told her that I would like to make something "Fourth-of-July-ish" to take to the cemetery. I knew she would know what to do. She helped with the creative part--all I had to do was come up with the words.
On Anna's I put her name and the words "brave and free".
On some of the others I put the words, "Can you SEE?"The phrase is from the first line of the Star Spangled Banner, but it has another deeper meaning. Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter Maria was killed in an accident 6 months after Anna died. He desperately prayed for a sign that she was okay.
"I remember just saying, 'We know it is true. We know she is with Jesus. She is safe in the arms of the God who made her. We know she is okay. We know it, but could we just see something?' The next morning we went back to our house to get some clothes for the memorial service. It was really hard to even go in the house because of the memories...
I walked into the kitchen and there is this little art table that Maria.. would sit at for hours. She loved crafts. She would cut out pictures. Scissors and glue were her favorite things. She would just cut and paste and draw for hours, and she often created cards for us. She would write the words she knew, "I love mom" and "I love dad" and then she would sign her name "Maria."
Everything was cleaned up at the table but there was one little piece of notebook paper lying on her side of the art table. It was a flower, a six-petal flower that was kind of her signature flower that she would draw all the time. Only one petal was colored in blue, and the rest of it was just the outline of the petals. It had a little stem and it had a little orange center of the flower and it had little leaves at the bottom of the stem. I had noticed something else kind of bleeding through the back of the paper where she had written something and I turned it over and it was a little butterfly and then she had written the letters S-E-E. She had never written that word before. All that she had ever written as far as we knew was "I love Mom," "I love Dad" and her name. Out of all the words that she could have written that day before the accident, she had written the word "see." I was already weeping uncontrollably and at that moment I just really, really believed that God gave us that sign and that was the gift that Maria left us to say "I know you are wanting to see something, but see I am okay and I am where you said. It is okay." That flower became so precious to us. It was my wife that looked at it and realized what we thought was an unfinished flower, was finished. Only one flower petal of the six was colored in. Then we realized we have six children there is only one that is colored in; there is one that is whole and the rest of us are still waiting for our color. It just became such a gift to us."
We took Anna's decoration to the cemetery and I put the others in the back of the car--not knowing who they were for. When we got to Wichita my sister was telling me about her friend K who had a tough day the day before. It was her first 4th of July without her daughter who died 4 months ago. I immediately said, "I made something for her." I showed my sister what I had done and told her the story behind the words. Then we got in the car and went to go see her friend. I gave her one decoration for her house and one for the cemetery. We also gave her the words to the "SEE" story and the words to the "SEE" song. She and I talked about our daughters and how hard it was to live without them then we encouraged each other to press on. I am SO thankful for my friend Kay and our art day which gave me something to give to my sister's friend. I am thankful for God's gift to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman in Maria's artwork. I am thankful that there is more to this life than what we can SEE.
Right now all I can taste are bitter tears
And right now all I can see are clouds of sorrow
But from the other side of all this pain
Is that you I hear, laughing loud and calling out to me?
Saying "See, it's everything you said that it would be,
And even better than you would believe.
And I'm counting down the days until you're here with me,
And finally, you'll see."
But right now, all I can say is "Lord, how long
Before you come and take away this aching?"
This night of weeping seems to have no end.
But when the morning light breaks through,
We'll open up our eyes and we will see
It's everything that He said that it would be
And even better than we would believe
And he's counting down the days 'til He says "Come with me."
And finally he'll wipe every tear from our eyes
And make everything new, just like he promised
Wait and see, just wait and see, wait and see
And I'm counting down the days until I see
It's everything He said that it would be
And even better than we would believe
And I'm counting down the days 'til He says, "Come with me."
And finally, we'll see. We will see.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, the Lord is good
The Lord is good. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good
The Lord is good.