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Remembering February 6th

Updated: May 19, 2021

By Chris Henderson

I’m writing this because every year February 6th happens. That’s not surprising—like every day, it recurs yearly. It’s just that February 6th is the day for me that changed possibilities into finalities. We live our lives with opportunities—with the future staring at us daily to be experienced for better and for worse. It’s never one or the other; it’s always “both and.” Some days we awaken and imagine that that day will truly be a “better” day. And, yes, there are better things that occur. We see blessings every day, even in the mundane aspects of life. But as soon as those better things occur, we know that worse will soon follow.

For me, February 6th is the evolution of the worse. Many of you know that is the day that Robert died. I’m writing this on the sixth anniversary of his passing. I had this great essay to write, with great and noble ideas that would gather the difficulties of life without him into a quaint, heartwarming vignette that would encourage and inspire. The thing is…now that I am here, typing, those words just won’t come. I had them at one point, but they drifted away. Living with grief is like that—it comes and goes in waves of sorrow, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes you just feel numb and lost, and don’t know if you’ll breathe again. Other times, you can just go on, living as you need to live. There was better and worse today, and there will be again tomorrow. I don’t get to claim uniqueness; each of us have points of grief at varying stages of our past—events and things that we cannot change, but that have changed us.

Robert inspired all of us with his selfless love and constant joy. He would suffer incessant seizures. We watched his intellect slowly robbed over years of gradual deterioration, but never his joy. He would be in pain and discomfort, then he would turn and smile the biggest smile as if he was seeing you for the first time and you were a gift, a revelation that he was enjoying. I couldn’t understand how that worked, how he could endure his illness, and continue to give love as he did. I want to attribute all kinds of theories to this contradiction, but I know they would be theories with no ability to be proven. That’s the uplifting story I can tell; he was just a blast to be around. He found joy in the midst of his pain, and he gave that joy freely to everyone around him.

Today may be your day where you can’t find better and can only see worse. Every day may seem to be just that, worse. I cannot promise a miracle today or relief of your pain and suffering. I hope you can step back though and see that God is with you in the middle of your pain, and that His love will not leave you or forsake you. Just like Robert, God wants to give you His joy. He wants to grace you with His presence, and in His presence is fullness of joy. I pray that He will rescue you, but the more important thing is to find Him there and let Him hold you together.

As I stood by Robert’s grave today, all I could think about was how special he was, and how blessed I had been to know him and to be his father. I smiled remembering his smile and his laugh, his infectious personality and his incredible hugs and kisses. I felt the deep longing in my heart to feel his arms squeeze me so tight that I could barely breathe. But I knew that was not going to happen in this world, but only in the world to come, and that also made me sad.

I see the evolution of my worse. Grief will be with me forever, but so will Robert’s joy and so will God’s joy. I can go on living knowing that joy will always be there, as long as I am willing to turn towards the better, toward God, and away from the worse. I have been changed. I know that I am a better man because of my son, and he will always be with me in my heart. The grief I’ve experienced since his death can continue to make me better if I allow it to drive me to God’s throne of grace to receive His love. It’s there where we all can reach the place of joy Robert lived every day. That’s where I’m headed, and I hope you can get there as well.

Listening Library: You Hold It All Together (Maverick City & UPPERROOM)

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5 ESV)

You Hold It All Together

(feat. Chandler Moore & Elyssa Smith)

You come, At the right time When I least expect it, Never behind (Woo) So why (Oh), Would I be surprised When You deliver, Every time? On mountaintops, You stay the same In valleys low, You never change

And I believe that I will see The goodness of the Lord (Yeah) I'm confident (Yeah) as seasons change Your faithfulness remains

You go, You go before me To prepare a blessing, You make a way It's more, Than I could imagine More than I can fathom, Or comprehend On mountaintops (I'm so glad that), You stay the same (Ayy) In valleys low (Oh yeah), You never change

God of my present, God of my future You write my story, You hold it all together

God of my present, God of my future You write my story, You hold it all together

You are the Alpha, and You're Omega You're in the middle, You hold it all together

And I believe that I will see, The goodness of the Lord I'm confident as seasons change, Your faithfulness (Remains)

Written by Alton Eugene, Elyssa Smith, Edward Rivera, Naomi Raine, Garrett Abel

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