A lesson in gratefulness? A revelation? A blessing.

brit, tim, bob, vanessa, matt, jen, alex, alicia, jesse

I went to Roberts funeral today. It broke my heart to see his beautiful smile before me in a picture at the pulpit, sitting next to his red bass guitar never to be touched by his hands again. It’s been so long since I had seen that smile. Really seen it. Sitting there, as I was listening to the pastor speaking about his life, it made me realize something.

Bob had a really good life. He was in a lot of pain that he didn’t share, no doubt he was fighting a hard battle that he just couldn’t fight any more. But his life, however short it was, so clearly affected so many. He moved the world with the joy of his spirit a midst the hardest battle of his life. He loved, he laughed, he smiled. Always. God shined through him.

creation

bob, brit

After the funeral, I went home and looked through old photo’s and video’s of the time I had with him. I found myself laughing more than crying, remembering his joyful spirit and how much completely ridiculous fun we had. So I kept looking. Kept watching. Then, when I ran out of pictures of Bob, I kept going. I ended up searching through every photo and video I have from 2006 to now. And looking at all the faces of the good times and wonderful people God has placed in my life, it made me take stock. Of everything. It made me see my life clearly for the first time in a long time. It gave me my hope back just in the nick of time. Just as I was completely emptied out. God has a way of doing that, have you noticed?

PicMonkey Collage

Like Bob, I’m fighting a gruesome, awful battle that often makes me loose sight of what’s important. A battle a lot of people don’t see. A battle I often can’t see past.

But the lord has written it on my heart once again that which he wrote so long ago. To focus on that which is true, and noble. Whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—Those are the things I should be focusing on. Just like Bob, I have a wonderful life. This post is my way of focusing on that which is good. And a lot of what is good? That’s you.

church i miss it

love

 

My dearest friends. My family. You make my life full.

the boysamazing

Isn’t that what all this is about? What all this fight is for? John 13:34. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Human connection. It’s so much more important, and more lasting than we give it credit for. It means so much more than we recognize. I don’t think I realized until today that every single person with which I have a relationship carries with them a piece of my heart.

tahoe

I'll miss you friend.LizzyErikaDanny

Years can pass. Decades. Marriages. Births. Deaths. Fights. An entire world can set you apart from them and yet, there is no parting with the piece of your heart they carry or the piece of theirs with you. My heart, therefore, is scattered all throughout this world. That’s how I want it. A piece of it living with my friend Dave in Illinois. A part of it with my cousin in Nashville. What about the person I befriended from Africa? Where is he now? He has a piece. And then there are those who have passed, moved on to be with God. My beautiful grandmother, and irreplaceable Bob. Part of my heart is up there in heaven with them as well.

Dave, Tracy, Adam, Melissa, Ryan

It’s a terrifying thing to truly love someone. Much less so many. It leaves you open to a world filled with pain. Mourning, grief and betrayal. But it leaves you open to so much good as well. I couldn’t regret it even if I tried… And believe me, there have been times I have tried. Times where relationships left me on the floor in tears, raw and broken. Or throwing a dish across the room angry.  Those who have hurt me, those who have loved me, those who have left me, and those who have stayed. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. They are always carrying the part of my heart that I gave them long ago. And amazingly enough, even when you think you are tapped out, there is always another piece of heart to give.

I get distracted a lot by my pain. I forget how much love there is. How many people hold my heart. And how incredibly grateful I am that they have given me a piece of theirs. I don’t see many of them these days. Unfortunately being sick has taken away a lot of the energy that I used to maintain relationships. There are more days than I care to admit where I can’t even brush my hair. But I realized today, crying over a lost loved one, mourning after a piece of my broken heart, that it was so important to me that these friends, these holders of my heart, know that my love for them is as strong as it was the day we last saw each other. At our best moments is where my heart remains. At our happiest times is where my focus lies. I remain with them through their ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and I will remain with them until death. I choose love. Painful, raw, wonderful love.

jessica

fam

I hope one day I will get better, and I get to have a HUGE party followed by thousands of small ones where I can rekindle all of these friendships. Meet new spouses or babies. Hug them again, laugh with them again. I want to fly to California, and Illinois, and Nashville, Ireland and Oregon. I want travel across oceans and desserts and see the world with the people who share my heart. But I don’t know if that will happen. And that’s okay.

good ol theatre days

But I do suppose I need people to know, that just as I ever loved you, I love you just the same now. You are important to me. And you have a piece of my heart that I would never want to be with someone  else. And I thank you for loving me, and letting me love you. I thank you for trusting me, talking to me. Being my friend. For blessing me with a very full heart. I love you. How blessed I am in this life, truly. Even in my darkest hours, each piece of my heart is glowing in your hand fueled by your love. You keep me going. You keep me hoping. You keep me loving.

kristine and mirandafam mom side

I want you to know my heart. I highly recommend you giving some of yours away as well, and thanking the ones who already have a piece, because you never know when it will be the last time your able to say thank you. I never got to thank Bob.

And if you’re in a battle like my friend Robert, talk to the people who hold your heart. Because you’re not in this battle alone. You have lots of people who are ready in waiting to help you piece yourself back together.

skeltonsfrirend

If you’re not in the pictures in this post, I assure you I looked for you and couldn’t find you which means we clearly need more time together. 🙂

randomchurch boyschurch

Until next time, all you walking blessings.

One thought on “A lesson in gratefulness? A revelation? A blessing.

  1. Thank you Ashton, Wonderful thought about friends and friendships. Glad to know I’m in your circle! Love you so much, and am so happy for the hope you’re experiencing right now. May it go on forever. So glad you finally have some info about what’s wrong and that you’re on the way to fixing it. Just remember that it will take time, maybe a lot of it, but day by day you will be getting a little bit better if you stick with the program. Results are not always where you can see them. Hang in there Darling.

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