It seems as though I must once again suspend the usual light-hearted, family saga posting, to ask for your prayers for the entire Schultheis family as we mourn the loss of Crick’s brother John, known to all of the family as “Feller”. The news of his sudden passing Wednesday afternoon from an apparent heart attack has left everyone in a state of disbelief. Our hearts go out to Joni and his children, Kim, Jared, Katie and Kelly and his three adorable grandchildren, Lilly, Dylann and Nick. There are simply no adequate words at times such as these, just lots of hugs and time spent together…………..remembering.
As I have struggled to offer comfort to my “other” family, I turned to the Sacred Scripture which always reassures me that all things work together for good to those who love God, and also a prayer I came across a few months after Crick’s death which has provided a great measure of comfort to me over the past few months:
The great and sad mistake of many people, among them even pious persons, is to imagine that those whom death has taken, leave us. They do not leave us………….they remain!! Where are they? In darkness? Oh no! It is us who are in darkness. We do not see them, but they see us. Their eyes, radiant with glory are fixed upon our eyes full of tears. Oh, infinite consolation! Though invisible to us, our departed ones are not absent.
I have often reflected upon the surest comfort for those who mourn. It is this: a firm faith in the real and continual presence of our loved ones; it is the clear and penetrating conviction that death has not destroyed them, nor carried them away. They are not even absent, but living near us, transfigured: having lost in their glorious change….no delicacy of their souls, no tenderness of their hearts, nor special preference in their affection: on the contrary, having in depth and fervor of devotion grown larger….a hundredfold. Death is for the good, a translation into light, into power, into love. Those who on earth were ordinary Christians, become perfect; those who were beautiful become good, those who were good become sublime.
The one thing nice about my WordPress blog is that I “own” it (borrowing a phrase from Clint Eastwood……..see, how early and easily I am able to “politicize” a sentence??? LOL) which leaves me solely responsible for its contents. Hence, my rationale for checking in often with the Thesaurus and Google, and trying to parse my words to be as least offensive as I can be to everyone’s individual sensibilities in the retelling of life’s events :).
As I have been thinking about how best to commemorate the one year anniversary of Crick’s passing, I settled, not only on inserting some of the notes which were left in an “I Remember” basket at the funeral home, but also on putting together, in video form, a collection of photographs in order to better preserve the story that is uniquely Crick’s. It served to be an emotional but strangely comforting labor of love………….ergo the sad and smiley faces in the title. The process also proved to be quite a challenge for this technologically and instructionally challenged “nut”!! Figuring out the Windows Movie Maker with all of its various icons and functions, the upload process to the blog which required that I also figure out how to upload to You-Tube was a series of frustrating and comedic moments where I found myself invoking Crick’s name on several occasions as I was burning the midnight oil. The last goof-up I made was last weekend just as I had finally saved the video to the computer and was preparing to upload it to You-Tube, all the while patting myself on the back for persevering in what I felt was a pretty worthy effort. I clicked on the upload icon and then proceeded to head over to Christine and Mike’s for the Sunday night dinner with the family. When I arrived home a couple of hours later, I checked the progress of the upload on my laptop only to discover that instead of You-Tube appearing on the screen, I saw a Facebook notation and to my dismay realized that I had clicked on the wrong icon and had uploaded the video directly to Facebook where several friends and family had already viewed the almost finished product……………….Jennifer and Stephanie included!!!!!
Now, I hadn’t told anyone that I was doing this as I had wanted to give our kids fair warning before I posted the blog on November 2nd. As I checked out the Facebook video, I discovered that the video did not upload properly as it had, not only the wrong size font, but also the wrong font and the wrong visual effect. I quickly deleted the video from my Timeline and now, hopefully, everyone who would like can view it here at WordPress as I had intended.
Since I “own” it :)…………………….I chose the pictures from a collection of old and recent photos that were most readily available to me, and I was actually quite surprised at how many pictures of Crick actually existed given that he totally despised being photographed!! The music I chose is what touches my mind and heart and soul…………evoking all of the emotions that are still coming to the surface as I continue on this journey minus the one person who could always make me feel safe and respected and unconditionally loved.
Our faith teaches that,” in Christ, “things in heaven and things on earth are united”, so if we are in Him, we are by that very fact in communion with the saints in Heaven. Therefore there is no reason to believe that we cannot have loving relationships with our brothers and sisters in the Kingdom of Heaven. We, like they, are part of God’s family, only we have not yet reached their permanent state of glory in the presence of God.” This is how I like to believe that Crick remains present in my life………..as a silent and unseen partner on my journey to that eternal peace that he has already found. A s I was thinking about this today, I turned to my daily devotional and read the following:
I AM WITH YOU. I am with you. I am with you. Heaven’s bells continually peal with that promise of My Presence. Some people never hear those bells because their minds are earthbound and their hearts are closed to Me. Other hear the bells only once or twice in their lifetimes in rare moments of seeking Me above all else. My desire is that My “sheep” hear My voice continually, for I am the ever-present Shepherd.
Quietness is the classroom where you learn to hear My voice. Beginners need a quiet place in order to still their minds. As you advance in this discipline, you gradually learn to carry the stillness with you wherever you go. When you step back into the mainstream of life, strain to hear those glorious bells: I am with you. I am with you. I am with you. from Jesus Calling
“As long as I can dream………As long as I can think……….As long as I have memory, I will love you. As long as I have eyes to see and ears to hear and lips to speak, I will love you. As long as there is time………As long as there is love………As long as there is you. I will love you.” (this quote was on a card which I had sent to Crick while he was over in Kosovo and I later discovered it upon his return, hidden away in his dresser drawer)