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A picture is worth a thousand words…well, let’s see about that.  You see, this picture was taken on Ocracoke island.  Go to the outer banks and go south, then south, then south, then get on a ferry (yes with your vehicle) and go south for another hour (on the boat).  There…Ocracoke island!   Rachel and I had the privilege of going there a couple of weeks ago with the kids and it was beautiful in many ways.  However, the picture.

You see, I posted this picture on lesser known social media with the caption, “Peace, rest, appreciative tears.”  Allow me to explain.  The peace and rest part can be quick and for the most part left alone.  However, it should be noted that so much of grieving and mourning is lost in the moving on.  There is an intentionality of grief that I feel gets lost when we are so busy to move on.  The “peace/rest” comment connoted that in a given moment(s) I/we were able to truly exhale, to let down our shoulders that we may not have even been aware that we were holding up in tension, to relax.

The “appreciative tears” is another story.  In these first few hours of being there, especially at the beach itself, I was again humbled and overwhelmed by God’s love, power, and comfort.  I had an impression if not realization/confirmation that we were going to be ok.  It just seemed right.  It was if God were letting us know that it was ok, we not only could but we should…move on.  I even checked in with Joe at one point and said, “Have you been thinking about Trey?”  He paused, and then replied as if a bit surprised and said, “You know what?  No.”  I ruffled his hair and said, “Well, at least not until I just asked you about him.  Good job dad.”  He and I laughed.

Now, let me get too smart for the room.  As I stare at the picture now, and even when I took it, something is wrong.  I knew it when I took it but I didn’t know why.  I do now.  The spacing is off.  Sure, you can put in a joke here about Bella not wanting to be too close to mommy or that she has her back turned to her and you wouldn’t be wrong.  It could be that Joe is facing directly off into the horizon of the ocean, Rachel to the right, and finally Bella kind of diagonally in between the two.  However, that’s not it.  It’s simply that the picture isn’t symmetrical.  There is a space in between Rachel and Bella.

Trey should be there.  Now, we all know that he is basking in a far better sun (Son) than he could have here.  We know that God’s plan is far different and yes, better than ours.  We know we know we know.  Trey should be there.

To move on does not discount the hurt and pain from which you are moving.  Things aren’t ok here, only in heaven are they truly perfect.  Yet, we are to move on and we not only are allowed to, we have to and we are.  It felt right to do so there at the beach.  We were moving on and it was ok, in fact, good.

A little less than a week later we were in the mountains of Virginia in the second half of our 12 day vacation.  We were at an indoor/outdoor water park sliding the day away.  We left for awhile at the peak hours and came back for the evening.  We ran to the tape and closed the place at 10 p.m. getting every dime we could out of our ticket price.  As I, not all of us as far as I know but certainly I, walked out my stomach dropped.  I had to fight back those random tears that creep up from time to time It simply felt like I was saying goodbye to Trey all over again.  Leaving a water park, leaving my son, how can it feel so similar?  How can it not?  If you’ve been with us you know how much Trey loved water parks (for that matter amusement parks, local parks, Eat n Park…) and thus it’s an easy correlation.  However, the sudden thumping of the goodbye associated with it was gut wrenching for me.

So…there.  You grieve, you move on, you take the sledgehammer out of your stomach, you move on, and in a minute you are blessed with a quiet picture of your family…moving on.

This picture was worth 766 words.

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