Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24 and John 19.38-42
My brother Thom’s birthday was last Sunday, Palm Sunday. It was the first year I did not call and sing a horrible rendition of “Happy Birthday” at an extremely wrong time of the morning. It was the first time we did not share our tradition of reading birthday greetings back and forth (we never got the cards in the mail, either.) Thom was 12 years older, the perfect big brother who taught me to ride my bike, swim, and the beauty of the Green Bay Packer Sweep. He laughed effortlessly, sang or whistled constantly, and was always surrounded by friends. He ran everywhere, threw everything, and most of the time, made that perfect one-handed catch.
Thom contracted polio when he was 17. As this virus swept the Nation; our family changed. Days melted into months, and months into years as Thom fought to regain use of his legs and us a sense of normalcy. A new normal grew around hospitals, doctors, braces, wheelchairs, physical therapy, beds, stairs, doorways and bathrooms. I was 5 years old. When I think of those years, I think gray. It’s not the dark, oppressive-gray of cold winter; but the dove-gray of early morning…that velvety-gray, just before the sun leaks over the horizon. Never once did I hear “impossible”, “why”, “unfair”, “can’t” or “hopeless”. “Out of the question” was simply not a viable solution. Thom graduated from high school with his class; then from the University of Wisconsin; taught high school math; coached football; married, father of 5; walked with crutches; never gave up.
Thom died last year. Yet, the glow of his life lingers. It wasn’t the life any of us anticipated, expected or ever predicted. An unknown, undetectable, microscopic germ changed our path; but not our faith.
We are Easter people.
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, says my soul. therefore I will hope in him.
Gretchen Combs, Director of Children's Ministries