October 1, 2018
The month of October 2018 marks five years since our precious son died following a vehicle accident. If you have read my book, you know his story and how it lead to my reflections on the Light of the World and what Jesus offers us as we struggle with grief and/or depression.
I have always loved fall, particularly October with all its beauty. But a year after Josh’s death, I wrote this poem for a graduate poetry class, with instructions only to use the phrase “I was wrong.” Yesterday, October’s loveliness was interrupted by a day of snow and freezing temperatures, and the poem came back to me. I wanted to share it with you.
The special season of fall is always followed way too soon by winter, but winter is always followed eventually by spring. The older I get, the more I realize that life moves much like the seasons, from moments of happiness or peace to others of sadness and challenge. But Jesus offers joy no matter what else we are confronting, not temporary happiness like a temporary season but everlasting joy warmed by His love.
Above this sparkling river I have loved so long,
The cottonwoods tossed their golden tresses;
Sturdy trunks thrust from the dark earth,
Sharing treasure that glistened in the autumn sun.
I basked in the beauty, lived to love the sight --
Thoughts fluttering like leaves in the breeze,
Mind and heart drinking in the dappled woods,
Knowing the gold would last and last.
But today driving snow dispels the wonder.
I was wrong.
Yet the current still flows on.
Beautiful boy, born into lives needing brightening,
Became our gentle giant Joshua, “right arm of God”,
Golden in strength, vitality, and wisdom,
Your warm grin treasured by everyone you touched.
I ached for your pains, rejoiced in your delights --
Thoughts so often with you, following your path,
Mind and heart drinking in the wonder of your life,
Knowing someday you would grace old age.
But today gray leaves drop carelessly onto your grave.
I was wrong.
Yet my memories flow on.