The One That Got Away

 

The one that got away usually refers to a fish that jumped off the hook, a fish that gets bigger with every telling. Or sometimes it’s a sweetheart who slipped away so very long ago. I’ve heard it used regarding missed job opportunities, or sure-fire investments, and other such things. The one that got away. It’s a good phrase.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about Jared, our first child, the still-born child, the one that got away. It’s been 32 years. Yet there are moments when I can clearly see his face; and my arms ache to hold him again, as I did the night he died, in delivery.

The blessing of children would not prove elusive. Within a year we had Derek and within five years we had Kelsey. Like all parents, our children have been the light of our lives, the joy of our hearts, and our reason for existence. We thank God every day for them.

But I have wondered about Jared. He would be turning 33 in a couple of months. What would he look like? What would his personality be like? Would he live in Houston, as his siblings do? Would our family dinners be the same, with just a few more mouths to feed? Would there be a few more gifts under the tree? I wonder what kind of birthday cake he would have liked. But such musings are bitter-sweet. He is the one that got away.

Life isn’t one long avenue of green lights. There are seasons for tears and reasons for laughter. The sweetness of success can often be edged by the sadness of failure. The stability of predictable life can in a blink be broken, shattered, and ripped apart. You never know. You don’t see it coming.

Today, my faith isn’t linked to happy stories and great results. Today my faith is built on Jesus Christ and nothing less. That life is temporary, that it wasn’t meant to last, it isn’t going to last, and the measure of a happy life must never be based on the world’s things.

God loves me. He told me so. He showed me how. The greatest love, the greatest command, is for me to love God and to love those around me.

For as long as I can. For as long as I’m here.

Today, that is my faith.

Shalom

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