Smiles that Crush

Last night, as I scrolled through FB. I saw an image whirling past that caught my attention.”I recognize those faces,” I thought. So, I slowed my scroll to a stop.

Pictured were two young men (brothers) holding their small children on their shoulders. A couple faces looked directly at the camera, others were drawn to the side. One thing they had in common was that they all held beautiful expressions that conveyed their joy in the moment. It was a candid family picture chalked full of smiles.

At first, the image brought a smile to my face. I marveled at how much the one child resembled his dad at that age. I vividly remember the boy’s pictures on the walls of their home. The big cheesy smiles. The blond curly locks of hair. There were three brothers in all, and they were adorable little men.

My son was friends with these boys. I had known their mom since junior high. So, they had known each other their whole lives. My friend’s husband was military, which meant they moved a lot in their early childhood. By the time my son and his friends were middle-school-age, they were all attending the same school.  There were sleep-overs, outings, and just general hanging out at each other’s homes.

Suddenly, a wave of emotion washed over me that felt like a punch in the stomach. I was filled with a sadness that I thought I had conquered. I thought I had learned to just accept it. Yet, in this moment, my grief resurrected afresh. Raw. Real. I was slapped in the face, once again, with the truth that my son will never have this kind of picture. There will be no smiling family images with small children whose faces will resemble his. No, it would never be.

I had previously let go of the dreams I had for my son and submitted to a different reality – one that, apart from God’s miraculous hand,  guarantees his dependence on my husband and I for the rest of his life. I daily live with the reminders that he will never know real deep connection with anyone else. I’m aware that most of the time he is in some world he’s created inside his own head. It is painfully evident to me that he will never even have a friend to hang out with again. This is my reality, my norm.

Today, though, that norm feels like a heavy weight that crushes.

As I sit in my grief, I wonder about you, reader. Is there a deep hurt within you? A reality that sometimes feels heavier than you can bare?

Part of the beauty of the body of Christ is that we are here to help each other. We can sit with each other in our moments of pain.  We can comfort others with the same comfort God gives us. So, I offer myself to you – to join you in your hurt. To pray with you. To be a listening ear.

If you need prayer or a safe place to express your grief, would you please contact me @  It would be an honor to lift up your hurts to the Great Healer who comforts us in all our sorrow.

“So, when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away, I’m (God) on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.” ~Casting Crowns

Song Share: Just be Held, by Casting Crowns