Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Year Later


She loved to travel. You can see the joy in her face from her wheelchair and our mini-van. They allowed us rich time together and a life full of meaningful experiences. Many of our trips were mundane, everyday, across town or for simple errands. Some were worried between home, doctors and hospitals for help. Others were migrations back to family. Wherever we traveled, we went there together.

Today that wheelchair has been empty for one year. That mini-van has stayed closer to home. And we miss her.

But, we have traveled more miles this year...in my truck, on airplanes and in an RV...

...to the mountains in Colorado...



...to the coast in Florida...



...to the ski slopes of Northwestern Illinois...





...to the Grand Canyon...












These were great adventures for us...to explore God's good creation, our own hearts, rich family community and a new future. We are grateful for so many wonderful opportunities to travel. But with every adventurous mile we feel further away from our dear Regan. And "together" means something new...something not altogether welcome...something less...four instead of five. Even though she would not have enjoyed most of these miles, and could not have participated in our odysseys, she had a gracious way of putting up with our pace. And we enjoyed the sweet spirit she shared with us.

On April 21, 2008 we buried Regan in Oklahoma's red clay.

I struggled painfully that day wondering where she was and what would happen to her little body. So I went to the cemetery at dawn, prayed and did a Bible study.

I was reminded of the beautiful image of "Paradise." It was pictured as a Persian pleasure garden or forest. It was a place of peace and rest for those who had overcome the struggle with victory.

Though scripture doesn't give us all the specificity we'd like, it does give us some assurance: "To him (her) who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." (Rev 2:7)

We had this inscribed on the front of Regan's headstone. And on the back we added,

"She ran her race with grace.
We were graced to run with her."

Oklahoma isn't really known for its pleasure gardens or forests...but we believe Regan is enjoying a well-deserved rest in the Paradise of God.

So, we'll continue to run our race with the grace he provides.

It has been a hard year, to be sure. But God has been faithful. And he continues to lead us forward. That's good for us, because we enjoy traveling, too. Just a little less without her.

Thanks for traveling with us.

-Brian

4 comments:

mgblogger said...

We pray this blessing for our kids before bed, and it's appropriate to share it with you, our friends, today:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you His peace.

Sally said...

Chantell, Brian, and kids:

I am thinking of you and praying that God will continue to bless you with his peace, especially today.
You are all such an inspiration.
Be blessed today and always.

Dan and Tammy said...

Dearest Mills Family,

Tears flowed as I read your beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your hearts and for the ministry you have to others through your journey. I am praying that the Lord shows himself to you as you go through this weekend and the rest of your lives aware that a piece of you is not there. Again, thank you for your heart and for sharing.
Love to all of you!

'becca said...

Oh that smile - warms my heart. Love to you all from the ozarks.