July 1: once upon a time it was just another day. A day spent looking forward to the 4th of July fireworks, food and friends. It was just one more day on a calendar of our busy lives. But like everyone else in this world with days that have a significance only to them, it has taken on a new meaning. Our country has significant days: July 4, Memorial Day, Labor Day, The bombing of Pearl Harbor, D-Day and September 11. What once were just days on a calendar have taken on new meaning because of the events that happened on the day. Days when lives were touched, changed and the world as we knew it became different.
July 1 is that kind of day to us. But we have a split view of the day. On one side of my mind I grieve over the day. It is the day that Tonia left this earth forever. It is a day that our daughter was taken from us in a mindless act of violence. My arms are empty and my life is emptier without her smile and her voice raised in song. I miss my daughter. I miss the woman that she was becoming. I miss the future possibilities.
But then the other side of the coin is revealed. July 1 is the day that God welcomed His child into eternity with Him. The choirs were celebrating! Heaven welcomed her home. She saw God face to face. I can only imagine…. One moment she was in this world then the next she was dancing in the Holy presence of God. My heart rejoices. My heart yearns for home.
July 1: tears of longing, regret and loss coupled with smiles of eternal hope and promise.
Never again will July 1 be just another day on the calendar. But something else happened on that day. I lost my fear of death. I gained an assurance that no matter what happens God is with me holding on to me. I was reminded that everyday is a gift and an opportunity to praise and worship and share the love I have from my Heavenly Father.
So although I still cry, I also celebrate. I remember. I give thanks.
So today, July 2 I am smiling because I have a gracious, merciful God who carries me and waits to throw a welcome home party for me!