I put pen to paper, or more appropriately, chubby little digits to keyboard, the day after we laid Mira’s body to rest. Those thoughts are below:
“Mira was laid to rest yesterday.
The visitation and funeral for Mira were tough events to endure, but some of the most heartfelt fellowship I’ve witnessed in life was present. I observed the McKnights and all their family uplifted, but not just by the shear presence of others. I watched the way Mikayla would smile tenderly when she laid her head against the shoulder of someone hugging her. I could see her pain being eased. I saw a single tear run down Michelle’s cheek from time to time and she quickly brushed it away and followed it with her glowing expression at the caring of someone embracing her. I glanced at Mitch when Pastor Steve assured us all that Mira hadn’t lost any battle, but in fact had won. I could see his back stiffen and body become erect in the church pew, as the message being given was resounding within him in total agreement.
The service was heartfelt, pure, and genuine. We tend to assume, incorrectly by the way, that men of the cloth have all the answers. I listened to Pastor Steve explain that it was OK to question such things, as he had too. He became choked up a bit, when he was trying to convey how hard his bedtime conversation was with his daughter, Emma, who is ahead one grade from Mira in school. I was reminded that even though I see our leaders in faith as distinguished, they too are just as human, and carry a heavy burden. I felt an ease among the many in the crowd knowing his message was joined not only from the word of God, but also that of a parent of a little girl the same age as Mira. His service hit home and while I’m sure it was a tough day for him in more ways than I can imagine, he paid Mira the full complement she deserved.
This poem is displayed the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. Pastor Steve recited this from the work of K.C. and Myke Kusmic. Lives were lost in that act, and as you know, many were children:
I said, “God, I hurt.”
And God said, I know.”
I said, “God, I cry a lot.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you tears.”
I said, “God, I am so depressed.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you Sunshine.”
I said, “God, life is so hard.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you loved ones.”
I said, “God, my loved one died.”
And God said, “So did mine.”
I said, “God, it is such a loss.”
And God said, I saw mine nailed to a cross.”
I said, “God, but your loved one lives.”
And God said, “So does yours.”
I said, “God, where are they now?”
And God said, “Mine is on My right and yours is in the Light.”
I said, “God, it hurts.”
And God said, I know.”
Much scripture was read, stories of Mira’s adventures were shared, and we volleyed between laughs and tears. The procession to graveside services seemed a mile long. There was fresh snow on the ground and there seemed to be a feeling of something soft and fresh when so much white untouched snow blanketed everything around us. Truly, there was a sense of peace. I thought it fitting… Services there were short, and Pastor Steve shared a moving prayer for us all. He told us the story of David losing a child and how we fasted during the illness. He then explained how after the child had passed, David worshipped, and then ate. This was something those around him and the servants had trouble comprehending, and from 2nd Samuel 12 we read:
His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
The understanding that Mira is at God’s side was very comforting to me – I thought the many surrounding her grave felt the same. I let go of the feeling of “loss” and realized, instead of her feelings, that it was in fact mine that were troubled, for she has ascended. Knowing I can see her again and that I’ll go to her was a wave rushing over me. I had known that within my intellect, but it wasn’t until I listened to the spoken word that I felt it fully within my heart.
At the end of the services, purple balloons were distributed to everyone and then released at once. When my wife suggested this a few days earlier, I thought it was a good idea, but didn’t view it as great. I’m rarely this glad at being so wrong. Imagine the softest white snow surrounding us all, then take in the scripture shared with us that day, and let loose a hundred purple balloons that rose straight from Mira’s resting place, headed straight into the heavens, and you’ll have a picture in your mind of just how great that was for us all. From the children barely old enough to talk, to the Grandparents among us, we saw Mira’s trek with our own eyes. It was symbolic and helped shape our views in a manner we could all understand without saying a word. I found it helpful and therapeutic beyond words. If you’re grappling with how to explain some of this, pick up a purple helium filled balloon and release it with your kids. Seeing that while sharing the story may be of help. It sure was for us yesterday.
Thank you all for being so great to this little girl, her family, her friends, and one another. These are the events that destroy us too often. Rather, this event has built us. Mira’s life inspiration now becomes our daily work.
Thank you God for the gift of Mira… Now let us live by your Word and hold her deep within our hearts.
With my deepest sincerity,
I had been so caught up in how Mira had become a catalyst for me becoming closer to Christ, that it never donned on me, that some day she might pass. Then what? I had hoisted her up into a position in my mind of inspiration. I know that isn’t a bad thing. But my problem had been simple all along and I hadn’t applied the notion fully. Had my inspiration ceased when Mira’s heart stopped?
Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to realize her thumbprint on this world can live, and should, well beyond her mortal existence. I think it honors her for people to remember Mira, her story, and certainly the many lives she touched physically and spiritually. It can be heavily therapeutic too for people to hold a personal relate in this fashion. I find myself continually thanking her for being inspirational. She’s also of the flesh, so I must remember that what comes, does go eventually. I hope I don’t get too used to that. I suppose the continual burden of learning more of life’s lessons, is you earn them. Too many are through loss. But, as I’ve maintained, I’m determined to make lemonade out of these lemons.
Pondering, but… Is there really a ‘before and after’ to Mira? In the physical sense, sure. In the spiritual sense and that of joys and sorrows of life? Nope… She’s right here with me in thought, and I hope in continual action.
I wonder what our reunion will look like? Just another thing we’re not to know yet. I’m not saying I’m looking forward to death, but I’ll admit freely that I dig knowing I’ll go to her and the many others before her some day. Jesus is good like that, if only we believe…