This Friday, January 28th, will inevitably be a bittersweet day. On that day 30 years ago, I became a sister for the first time. The name Matthew literally means “God’s gift” or “gift of the Lord” and that is truly what he was and though now gone from this earth, what he continues to be. I will still celebrate the birth of my brother. I will still celebrate what an incredible blessing he was, is, and will be in my life…forever. He was MY brother, born of my mother, and only one other person on this earth can say that about him.
His birthday alone will be hard…particularly such a milestone as 30. But something even beyond that could make it much more difficult. You see, Matt lived in Nashville, Tennessee, at the time of his death. Most of my family and I live in Georgia. As fate would have it, my cousin is getting married in Nashville on (you guessed it) Friday, January 28th, so naturally the majority of the family will be there. It wasn’t purposely planned that way but I have to wonder if God orchestrated it. I could wallow in self-pity and despair saying and thinking things like, “It’s not fair! He should be here to celebrate this wedding too! If he were alive, we’d be having a HUGE birthday party just for him and ALL the family would be there! WHY has this happened?” But instead, I choose to see it as a gracious gift of God Who in His mercy, on what WILL inevitably be a hard day, has given us a reason to hope, a reason to rejoice, and a reason to gather together on THIS day in THIS town.
Yes, tears will fall Friday. Tears of joy, and tears of sorrow. Tears for dreams yet to come, and tears for dreams torn apart. Yet, I’m grateful for this gift. I’m happy for my cousin and his new beginning. I’m sad for myself and Matt’s earthly ending. Yes, Friday will be bittersweet, a day forever etched in my memory. But I will put my hope in the Lord and He will see me through.
A wise shepherd said something to me after Matt’s death that I will never forget. He said, “Just remember, every time YOU smile, he smiles.” Thinking of that moment reminds me of our family memory verse this month. It’s not only one of my favorite verses, but also one of my favorite songs:
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.”
There is still sadness in my heart, but God has given hope to us all. This fallen earth is not our home. He has overcome the world! This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it…atleast…I’ll try my best.
Matt, I will miss you terribly all the rest of my days. But I will smile for you. I will dance joyfully. Friday I will celebrate the day our cousin becomes a husband and I will celebrate the anniversary of the day I became a sister. What a marvelous day that was and I cherish every moment I had with you…even the not so pretty ones. 🙂 What a brother! What a treasure! What a gift of the Lord!
Happy Birthday, Matty. Some day we’ll celebrate together again! Until then, save me a seat at our Lord’s birthday banquet table and dance party!
This is How We Overcome- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCV3DTRoBFM&feature=related