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Look for the Obvious

Finding structure in life now is hard. Nighttime is rough because it was the most intimate, emotionally closest part of the day for the Brown Team. Laughing at dinnertime, talking about what we did during the day, predicting what the next day would be like at school, filling the old porcelain claw foot tub for a bath, practical joking with the ice cream cone squirt gun once “you-know-who” was in the tub, shampooing sudsy beards and mow hawks, jumping into jammies, reading bedtime stories aloud, praying and rounding it all out with the grand finale of wet goodnight kisses and a tight, prolonged squeeze around the neck……and an “I love you,!” to which I’d ricochet, “I love you more!”

Frequently, there was always “one more thing” that required Carolynne or me to come back into Grant’s room…..we were on to him though, be assured. It’s just that we couldn’t resist his quick-thinking explanations. For example, one time I asked from the other side of the door when he yelled for me, “Grant, what is it that you need now?” To which he replied, “I don’t know, but Mommy will know—can you have her come here?” We just loved being with Grant any time of day. Now, we need an entirely different kind of routine to replace the nighttime agenda that was once building good family memories with Grant. Right now, mindless nighttime structure is better than the repetitive thoughts we have during most of the day.

Two wandering people in the DVD section of the store isn’t that unusual. I’m sure Carolynne and I looked like we were on a cheap date. We were trying to find television shows we’d never heard of, hoping they held some promise of overriding our thoughts or counterbalancing the intense emotional discombobulation that had come to infect our world. We’d seriously considered buying a season of Hawaii Five-0 over the last few months because it tapped into our vintage good-guy, bad-guy drama needs. The current Five-0 has more plot, but Jack Lord will always have more hair.

It’s always been a challenge to find entertainment that reflects wholesome family values, especially now when nerves are raw and your child is gone. It seems entertainment has boiled down to beyond-reality amounts of blood, language you’d never use in a job interview or in front of your grandmother, sleeping around with neighbors’ spouses, and smart-alecky kids being fresh with their parents or teachers in spite of being indulged more that most children living in the world.

It was easy to strike off most of the valueless show synopses as we read through them. We also decided against Hawaii Five-0. We guessed there would be drowning victims scattered throughout the season---not entertaining to us at all. We settled on a few series we were willing to gamble on and started watching them with contrived loyalty--- just to get the nighttime structure ball rolling.

Earlier this week as the sun was setting, I walked into the half dark living room with a plate of food to turn on one of our new shows. I glanced at the television as I walked by: there they were on the screen. Three greasy, grubby little finger print streaks dusted perfectly as if the best crime scene investigators in town (or maybe just some resident dust bunnies) had come by the house and spent hours perfectly lifting them. We’d never seen them before now. I was immediately struck by the idea of family priority and how we spend precious time in our lives. Those finger prints have been there the whole time—no telling for how long even before we lost Grant. We’ve been watching the hard-for-my-brain-to-hear drama of Downtown Abbey, the extra quick-sleuthing of Sherlock in Elementary, and the self-dilemma creating novice CIA operative Annie Walker.

The irony is that we’ve been watching all of those shows literally through Grant’s finger prints---which we’d much rather look at I assure you. Seeing the finger prints, I first felt an ache for a few seconds, then found peace, then had questions, developed some interest and speculation, and then felt a little joy. By no means are we finding ourselves to be spiritual giants who find God-sized revelations in fingerprints. We’re just a mommy and daddy missing our little boy and trying to understand.

In this forced journey of grief, we’re continuing to receive notes, emails and calls from people who keep describing a spiritual nudge to being, doing, acting, thinking, feeling, interacting, trusting, or believing something different now that Grant has gone to Heaven. That’s not coincidence in our book.

From the shoes we’re walking in, we believe it’s the Lord at work in the lives of people and ask that you make Him a priority if you sense any type of calling or spiritual bump that might be from Him. We encourage you to not let that desire or nudge simply fade or somehow blow it off. Just like Grant’s finger prints on the tv screen, the Lord may be presenting something to you so simple that it’s easy to look right through it, when it may be more important than anything else you could be looking at in life right now.

Please take a close, hi-definition look at what God might be trying to do in your life right now. We love you, are thankful for you, are praying for you, and continue to need your support and prayers desperately.

Jeff and Carolynne

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