We all have situations or circumstances where something happens and emotions buried deep come bubbling to the surface. That often happens when we are going about our business and something or some one will remind us of a loved one or a friend who has died. Or perhaps a traumatic event we’ve tried to forget. Before you know it, we’ll go back to feelings of pain and sadness that seem to have come out of nowhere.
When I was pregnant with Jacob, another couple that were close friends of ours were also expecting their first child. Our due dates were close and it was nice sharing pregnancy stories with each other. Jacob was born the 9th and our friend’s daughter was born seven days later on the 16th. We lived in the same neighborhood and were members of the same church. We hung out a lot together. I considered her Jacob’s first friend. They were side-by-side buddies in their strollers whether we were window shopping at the mall or navigating an outdoor flea market. Good times and great memories.
With Jacob being my first born and not having much contact or experience with babies and toddlers, I have to admit there was some comparing of developmental milestones on my part. But not much. I accepted the age-old explanation of girls just develop faster than boys. As time passed, we left the neighborhood and that church. Mike and I searched out a church to meet our needs. The friendship remained but the contact lessened. Several years passed, and then, to our surprise and delight, they started attending our church and got involved. By then Jacob was going to the Special Ministries class so he wasn’t in groups with his first friend. But us parents picked up right where we left off and were able to enjoy our families seeing each other more once again.
Through the years I watched as kids Jacob’s age participated in everything from academics to sports and to Bible Drill. And although there was a twinge of sadness that he wasn’t able to do those things, I could genuinely celebrate accomplishments of others his age. Until one year. It was 1997 and he would have been graduating from high school. His first friend, born a week after him, would be graduating.
Our church does this really great thing called Senior Recognition Sunday and that includes a Hall of Memories for graduating seniors. The students are celebrated with a meal, an opportunity to set up a booth with their memorabilia, a worship service where they are applauded and challenged. The church bulletin has pictures of the graduating class from that year. It is a well deserved, great day.
On a May Sunday in 1997, we sat down in the Sanctuary where we always sat. I knew it was Senior Recognition Sunday. I knew if things had been different, Jacob would have been ‘one of them’. As the service started and the seniors started processing down the aisle and to their designated seats, I was hit hard. HARD. It felt like a semi-truck of emotions barreled over me. OUT OF NOWHERE. Tears started pouring down my face. I leaned over and told Mike that I needed to leave. He motioned for Josh to come and picked up Jacob from his class. I was sobbing by the time we got to the car. They were bewildered. I couldn’t even get out why I was crying. We were part of the way home before I could speak, “It made me so sad when I saw Amy walking in.” “Jacob should have been part of that group.” That day I cried a lot. If I had any idea I was going to be so overcome with emotion, we probably would have stayed home that day. But I didn’t. Out of nowhere.
Milestones that won’t be reached can stir up such sad emotions. That is normal and that is okay. I had a pretty hard time when that same young lady was about to get married years later. Thankfully when feelings come out of nowhere, God is there and understands. He wipes my tears and mends my heart.