Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Son's Other Life

Like it or not, every one of our children, and particularly our adult children, has two lives.  There is the life we know, and there is the life they have without us.  It is the life that happens when they are at school, at work, with their friends, and even in the quiet moments when they are alone with their thoughts and dreams.  It is actually the life we take pride in.  But, it is also the life that has the potential to crush us.

Friday night was a more healing time than I could have imagined.  That night we learned so much about Jonathan's other life that we really never knew.

We knew what Jonathan's closest friends thought of him.  We also knew that he was well liked in the various places he worked since college.  We knew he was a hard worker who went above and beyond to get the job done.  But, for whatever reason, we only had a glimpse of his compassion and love for people.

Jonathan expressed his love to us frequently.  But I suppose it would have been strange for him to talk about how much he loved the people who worked with and for him, or how much they loved him.

It was amazing to hear time and time again the people who worked for Jonathan tell us not only that he was admired and respected, but more importantly that he was not just a boss, but a friend.  Each one told us how much Jonathan cared about them as people -- how he would spend time with them, encourage them and listen to their problems.  One young man told me that his entire family was in Mexico -- he had no one here in Texas -- and how Jonathan had reached out to him.  He told me that he had planned on asking Jonathan to be the godfather for his son.  These people came, and wept, for my son.

"Jon was a ray of light when he entered the room. He always had a huge smile on his face and something to say that would make you laugh within minutes of his arrival. His sense of humor was in a category all on its own. He was my debating partner at work & we would have so much fun debating anything & everything. We always ended up laughing & then moving onto talks about his love of his family, the new wine he liked, & of course, girls. He was a romantic at heart & made sure he always treated people with the utmost respect. He was a compassionate, giving person who was always thinking about buying new shoes for his sister & his mom. What made Jon so unique is that he would try to come across as a somewhat tough guy, but inside you saw a complete softie with an amazingly huge heart. If you needed something, he was the first person you would ask because you knew he would come through for you. He will be dearly missed by so many. We worked together for a short while, but he left an impression on my life for a lifetime. My prayers go out to all those who had the distinct pleasure of knowing this amazing man."

Trisha Sparks
@ The Buckle

As I heard story after story of Jonathan always being there for people, and sometimes being the only one there for someone in a difficult or dark time, I was not just proud of him, but I knew that he "got it."  I hoped that maybe it said that Pam and I really did do a thing or two right.  Just maybe he was listening and watching all along.  It gave me a confidence that he really did know Jesus.

Saturday was everything I had hoped and feared it would be and more.  Pam, Christian, Dani and I were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and the shear number of people who came out to honor our son and brother.  I really do not know how we would have a chance of surviving this without our church family and friends.

But the pain of saying goodbye was more than I can take.  As the tribute video began to play I could not bear the thought of the day being over.  I agonized as they drove his body out of sight.  And later, as his friends left the house to spend some time together I could not help but think of our future without him -- the people who would see pictures of the kids at our house and ask or wonder who the third one was, the Christmases and weddings without him, the grandchildren who would never be.

This is the third time I have written since the terrible events of a week ago.  While several people have encouraged me to continue writing, at this point I am honestly not sure I can, and even less sure that I should.

I know we will all make it through this.  There is even a part of me now that can see a new strength that will come on the other side.

I want to close by saying that last week I had the rare opportunity to speak on a Sunday morning and Pam desperately wanted me to talk about the importance of having faith in Jesus.  She had recently read a book I believe called "23 Minutes in Hell," and has become more concerned than ever about anyone passing away without knowing Him.  I am grateful beyond measure for the confidence we have that Jonathan is in a better place.  But, if you do not have that same confidence -- if you don't know Jesus or or not sure you know him, I encourage you to click on the link below and listen to week 5 of the series called "New Beginnings."

God bless.

Faith and Discipleship


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honesty, Pastor John. You and your family are salt and light all of the time. We love you.
-Becky and James Porter

Anonymous said...

That was a powerful message Pastor John. Thank you for your Teachings. We love you.
Joyce and Doug Waterfield

Marsha Newberry said...

John it is awesome to continue to read your blog. More importantly it is necessary for you to continue to write the blog. The blog is a part of your healing. And God will use you in doing so. May the LOVE of GOD always be with you and Pam.
I love you both.
Marsha Newberry

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