Wednesday, July 9, 2014

10 years

Today, July 9th, 2014 is the 10 year anniversary of Jason going home to be with the Lord.  My heart and my mind can scarcely believe it, and tears easily come at that thought.  Something about a decade having passed by has hit me a bit harder this year.  How in the world am I still standing?

The grace of God is what has held me again and again.  It is what holds me still.

I often hold back when it comes to talking about Jason to other people (or writing about him in a blog post). There is so much I could say in all kinds of situations...but I'm concerned that people will think I haven't "let go" or "healed" or "moved on", or whatever it is that is supposed to be done by me.  I sometimes sit in front of someone who didn't know Jason and who didn't know us as a couple and I have the urge to say something about him - about who he was and how I am different because of him.   Or even something about this grief and this road I've traveled - what I have learned and how I have grown and what I miss.

...And then I don't say much because I fear they will not understand or that they will be uncomfortable.  Or most of the time I say just a little blurb...which hardly touches the surface.

And because of that holding back there is a huge piece of me that person will never, ever know in this life. Because to know me is to know this story.  To know me is to know Jason and to understand who Danielle and Jason Presley were in this life.
Because once you know that is then that I am free to really let you see who I am now.  And by God's grace who I am becoming without him here.
My life (and your life) is not a sequence of disjointed events, but rather a seamless flow from all that I am and have been into all I am becoming.  Nothing I am now is separate from my past and the road I have walked. It's tied together in a beautiful, tragic, redemptive event to another, laughter to crying, joy to pain, brokenness to healing, disastrous moments to shining ones...

I also know of the beautiful healing that God has worked over and in and through me these last 10 years.

I have lived and breathed through every single moment these last ten year - through countless ups and downs, through seemingly endless letting go's and griefs, lost dreams, and sorrows - and even through new endeavors - where my courage has been challenged and I have been forced to choose life or death.

...and I have chosen life, and chosen life, and chosen life again...doing the things that I needed to do in order to keep living.  And certainly the goal is not just living, but somehow in all of this choosing to make choices that lead to thriving as well - to living this life with passion and purpose - being all God designed me to be.  I have tried to walk this path with grace and with openness - wanting to honor the life of my dear, dear love and also wanting to be open to the new things that God wants to do in and through me in the here and now...and in the future.

Although not at all completely, I honestly do see some of God's redemption in me - I see the beauty He showers over me - through relationships, purposes, grace and kindness.   I am amazed at how God heals.  I am astounded by the way he allows us to love more and more and more.  This capacity He has given us to love - children, friends, spouses - is beyond understanding and insanely beautiful.  I am thankful that in Jesus, beauty will always have the last word in my life.

So today, July 9th, 2014, 10 years since he left, I want to just take a moment to write about Jason.

Jason Douglas Presley was a great man.  He truly was.  I remember him saying to me shortly after we had started dating, "I want vision from God."  I remember hearing him say this from the passenger seat in his jeep and replying, "Me too."
...and off we went.

And that is how it felt.  Purpose.  Joy.  Passion.  Adventure.  Laughter.
He was gentle and wild and courageous and free.
He was reckless and calculated.
An artist, poet, and an IT guy.
An adventurer at heart.
And a man after God's heart.

I still remember him telling me he'd like to be dropped off in the desert with a compass and have to find his way out.  Of course to those who knew him this is not at all surprising.  And according to him, I believe they actually had trips where you can do this sort of thing?!
I also remember us looking at a big house and him sharing a dream of owning a big home and using it to help the homeless, or troubled youth...

His ideas sometimes terrified me.

But I honestly loved that about him.  I'd have had it no other way.  He was braver than me, and I wanted to be on an adventure with someone riskier than I was.  I always had said I wanted a man running faster than me in this life.  And that is exactly what I got.

I remember a time after we were married that I had messed something up - I can't remember if I'd forgotten something/an event/ or what?...but it was clearly my fault.  And then I vividly remember being with him as he told the person we had affected that "we" messed up.  He took the blame with me - and even was the one to apologize as I stood there humbled and stunned.  I can still remember hearing him say that and being amazed at the kind of man he was....that he would take the blame for my mistake.  He knew the meaning of team, believed in being a team, and spoke of us being a team.  And that is what we were.

I felt beautiful standing beside his strength. I was surrounded. Covered. Protected.

He loved the Lord, he loved people, he loved his family, and he loved me.
My world changed forever because of knowing him.  My world changed forever because of knowing his love.

Sometimes I wonder about who he would be if he were still here - what he would be passionate about?  I wonder what our life would be like together.
Would he still ask me practically every other day if he "looked bigger"? (He'd been working out.)
Would he still make the "Blue Banana" smoothie?
Would he continue to insist that "Colgate kept brushing" and therefore he didn't need to brush his teeth again?
Would he still spontaneously do some sort of jiu jitsu/wrestling move to me in which I would end up on the floor twisted like a pretzel crying for mercy?
Would he still be writing beautiful journal entries?
Would he still terrify me with his dreams and passions?
And the list could go on...

I miss him.

And at the same time, I feel incredibly blessed that I knew him, learned with him - and got to be loved by him.

So Jason, my love -
On your 10 year Heaven Anniversary...
I look forward to the day when I can see what you see and know what you know.
...and worship God beside you again.

...but until then...
I WILL run this race.  I will not quit.  I will live the purposes that God has ordained for me in this life - and I will do it with joy.  I will laugh.  I will cry.
I will finish the course...

And I'll do it like one running to win.

Descending on Mt. Rainier
Jason's 30th Birthday