I met her a few hours later. She told me about her son. How he liked playing with his older brother. My two children are the same age as her kids. I pictured David trying to keep up with Benjamin.
I usually take work home with me at night. I didn’t Wednesday. I went home, played with the boys, gave them a bath, and got them ready for bed. That seemed a little more important than going through email, writing a column, or returning a few phone calls.
Friday morning, in a chapel packed full of people, I said this:
For those of you who were blessed to know Dayton, your world will never be quite the same again.
- You touched his soft little cheeks.
- You looked into his beautiful blue eyes.
- You saw him playing fearlessly. Trying to keep up with the older kids.
- You saw his excitement when he saw horses and tractors.
- You saw the preciousness of human life.
I concluded the message with this:
I don’t say what I am about to say as a pastor. I say what I am about to say as a parent of a three year old: saying goodbye to a three year old is about as tough of a thing that anybody could ever go through. Yet you know and I know this truth of life: it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Cherish the relationships that God has blessed you with on this day.
During the funeral, AJ sang a song about grace. It’s a song we have all heard before:
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
We have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
I pray for us all to cling to God’s grace and to cling to each other—which is grace as well. In the end it’s all we really have. Which as just as well since it’s all we really need.