Five Years of Faithful

I like to think of March 11th, 2012 as the commencement ceremony for a few years of “what the heck is even happening?!

It’s been five years since the boy I believed I’d spend forever with departed into a forever in eternity.

(followed by an mourning deeper than I ever believed possible, a miriad of horrible decisions, a house fire, some jerry springer-esq family drama, moving almost a thousand miles away from home by myself, figuring out how to not flunk out of college, and the list goes on aye?)

Over the past few months, as I’ve reflected on the last five years, I’ve written about a hundred different notes in my phone. When it comes to the topic of my first love, and the way it was so dramatically torn from my life, the words, ideas, and memories seem to be an endless vessel.

Losing Matthew, the boy I thought I’d grow old adventuring with, has made me better.

You didn’t read that wrong, I promise.

This post is just a few of my thoughts over the days leading up to the daunting five year anniversary.

If you read them all, rad. If not just know that God is good, still.

At 17, love grabbed my hand after I refilled his coffee cup and with a side smirk said “I didn’t catch your name.

The coffee shop I worked at was hosting an open mic, and I was in the back slinging espresso shots and taking people’s hard earned money. He was one of the first few acts that went on that night. All he played were simple tunes and his voice was nothing out of the ordinary. Simple. Yet in retrospect, it was so different.

All of it was so different, even from the very start.

He walked through the front door of that old familiar coffee shop, and a gust of September air danced in around him.

The first brisk day of the year always seems to leaves us breathless, doesn’t it? He like was breathing in deep during a snowstorm and filling my lungs full of fresh air. I couldn’t catch my breath, but I felt more alert and alive than ever before. He was a change in the weather that I didn’t know I wanted, but needed all along.

Unfortunately, the time I had with him was just that — a quick breath. For the past five years I’ve felt like the wind has been knocked out of me. I’ve been laying on the cool ground gasping. wishing. hoping. Praying that I could feel the air in my lungs again. I can’t forget the way he made me feel understood, accepted, and loved so much in just a breath of time.

I can’t think of a single day where that brown eyed boy hasn’t crossed my mind.

  • Some days my thoughts are sad wishing for what could have been.
  • Some days I can’t help but tell the world about this kind spirit who taught me so much about life and love in a mere six months time.
  • Some days I cry in anger asking why his time was so short.
  • Other days I find myself sipping my coffee slow and thinking about the way he would leave crumbs in his beard and laugh at the way it drove me crazy or silly songs he’d makeup on the fly.

I wonder what that contagious smile of his could have compelled me to do…sometimes the thought scares me, if I’m being truthful. Because even in they’re lengthy absence, I am challenged to dream fearlessly and wildly each day.

In talking with people since his passing, I was told tales of how he felt the same. — A nice sentiment.

Though I don’t doubt they were untrue, hearsay lacks the tangibility that makes someone feel known.

To be able to hear his voice of reassurance over the bustle of well intentioned daggers that we’re being tossed like harpoons from the mouths of the very people we loved.

Everyone told me I had lost my mind, and unfortunately you start to believe the things people speak over you after so long. I believed I had lost my mind, and I just ran with it. I tried to beat everyone to the punch, because I believed if I spoke it first it would hurt less.

I’m learning that we teach people how to see us, and even those who saw the best in me, were constantly being coerced (by me) to believe that I was crazy.

When I was 4, I sneakily put my Barbies inside of the oven to play “cave people.” A few minutes passed, and I left them there as my frizzy blonde hair whirled into the next game of make believe.

That was the last time Ken, Barbie, and Kelly were ever seen “alive”.

  • I didn’t learn the stove was hot as a kid, by the gentle reminders from my parents.
  • I didn’t learn from the once, twice, or seventeen times I burned my hand from getting too close.
  • I learned the stove was hot, when we had a Barbie doll burial in my front yard after my mom made lasagna later that night.

Sometimes it takes big, border line traumatic things for lessons to be learned.

This being said, I think losing that sweet boy, full of joy life and love taught me so many lessons.

If I’m brutally honest, there are plenty of days where joy seems like it’s playing a cruel game of hide and seek. However, I’ve found that sometimes it’s in those seasons that we find joy in deeper, more tangible capacities than we could ever dig for on our own.

Losing Matt taught me of the faithfulness of God.

That Christ truly is enough in those times of utter defeat.

  • That the Lord is absolutely capable of doing so much more than anything we can ask, think, seek, or imagine.
  • He will never leave our hearts as an unfinished project, left in the shed to collect dust.
  • He is always doing a new thing. In, through, and around us.

And most importantly

  • He truly is capable of breathing life into the driest of bones and giving them a new song to dance to.

I’m forever grateful I got to breathe deep the day this boy walked into my life.

Today, Matt’s sweet momma and I got to chat.

I would love to close with some of her poetic wisdom, because I feel like we can all learn something from it.

“Take this gift God has given you and weave it into every day, because there will be people who will pour you a cup of coffee and their lives will be changed. There will be people who need a breath of fresh air, and you will walk into the room. There will be people who are hopeless, and you will be humming a song. There will be people who don’t know Jesus, and they will see your smile and your eyes. Open your soul.” — Momma Debi
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