Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Power of a Single Word

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
That man-child who has gone ½ way 'round the world continues to amaze us and make us look like better parents than we've been on our best day. After his recovery from near fatal jet lag, he bounced back to his happy-go-lucky self. He's been walking around and exploring. He's networked with his Aussie church of choice. He has pinned down such level headed things as how much a doctor's visit costs as well as how much his normal asthma meds will set us back if he needs treatment while there. Smart fella, he is.

If that wasn't enough, he has contacted the marketing department of a 75-story skyscraper to work out a business deal. He hopes to take sunrise pictures from an observation deck for their PR campaigns. He hasn't even started the project he's there for and is hustling to seal the deal on a new one.

Where'd he GET all that hustle? Maybe from his Dad who never quits no matter how sick he is or how the monster in the shadows has tried to defeat him? My husband sometimes thinks he has failed as a father. From where I sit tonight, I see his handiwork all over our son's hustle. When our son succeeds, I will see the seeds his dad planted every day he got up and kept going even when the odds said he should just lay down and quit. I hope my husband will allow himself the luxury of seeing that fruit and relishing in it...if only for a moment.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Life goes on for all of us. As our adventure plays out, I am affected by the stories playing out in other lives. One of Son #1's best friends has located his birth parents. It amuses me how my life intersects with those around me. As I wrote about adoption, he got the news that his birth parents married within a year of his birth. They have been married for 28 years. He has 3 younger siblings – one the age of Son #2 with whom he so graciously interacts when he has the chance. He'll be as wonderful a brother as he is a husband, father, and friend.

I've cried all day over their joy. At least...I tell myself it is their joy. It is surely NOT my flipping on the porch light only to realize that Son #1 is not coming home after dark tonight and will not need that light. It's easier that way.

More poignantly, another death has caught me unawares. Yesterday, I had never heard of Sunday Ibok. Long ago and far away, a little boy was too young to be my ring bearer. His sister was my flower girl and is now the mother of my grand-flower-baby. Reyn turns another year older tomorrow and is a grown man now. Sunday was his friend. They were brothers in the Lord.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Reyn called home to say that Sunday had been stricken with a brain aneurysm. The prognosis was grim. His New York City church did what church families do. They joined ranks and began to pray. Some left for TX to be with Sunday's family and to be closer to him while the doctors did what doctors try to do against all odds.

As I have been told, Sunday was a great one for social media. Even as the headache that signaled trouble was a-brew grew worse, Sunday was tweeting. I did ok regarding Sunday Ibok until I heard what his last tweet was. Then, my tears flowed again. You didn't have to meet Sunday to understand the depth of his faith. All you had to do was know the substance of his last tweet. It was one word:


Tonight, I weep silent tears over another man I never knew. Just a month ago, I grieved the passing of a man my age whose books profoundly influenced my experience as the mother of sons. Now, I grieve the death of a man, young enough to be my son, whose one word impacted me as profoundly as the 4 books written by Bob Schultz.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
His friends will never wonder how he felt about his God. They will only have to look down at their gizmo – be it iPhone, Blackberry, iPad, etc. I can't imagine that a single one will ever delete that word as long as their gizmo lasts.

Tonight, I consider my wrestling match with God. If Sunday Ibok ever had one, the battle was over. His coat of arms told the story of victory in that one last tweet. His tweet will echo far into the future as it bears fruit in the lives of those he loved and who loved him.

My heart has been full to overflowing today. I watched a young man, a father of his own little man, finding his roots. I watched my son take wings and fly. Even as my son embarked on a grand adventure, Sunday made his final flight into the arms of glory. Life moves on and takes us with it to our final end.

I ask myself, when I have said all and written all.....will my last word be as powerful as the last one Sunday uttered via twitter? I hang my head in shame as I consider the wrestling match of my life. If only....and please....let it be. Sunday Ibok, thank you. May your word do for others what it did for me.

1 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV)
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Deuteronomy 7:9 (Bible in Basic English)
Be certain, then, that the Lord your God is God; whose faith and mercy are unchanging, who keeps his word through a thousand generations to those who have love for him and keep his laws;


  1. I thinks me friend is finding her way back, eh?

  2. Thanks for the VOC! Me :p

  3. Jeff, you are due the VOC many times over...

  4. Catching up... yeah... I shed a few tears at this one. (Liz W)

  5. Liz, thanks so much for 'catching up' and for your kind words re my memory of this dear, sweet girl!

  6. Carol Anne, I found your blog through a mutual friend S.Kim Henson.I love your writing.It touches the heart.That one word I recall used in a bishop ordination in our church when the new bishops were charged: "Be (thou) Faithful."

  7. My sincerest thanks. I'm so glad you found me and that my writing resonates with you. Kim gives me quite a few chuckles. You are lucky to have her as a friend!