Hard Day Redeemed

I was expecting yesterday to be hard. 

You see, a year ago on June 15 I got a phone call in the middle of the day.  Right in the middle of working and meeting deadlines, when all of a sudden that didn’t matter. 

Nothing mattered. 

It was one of those phone calls you get when you wish you’d never answered the phone.  The phone call that changes your world. 

One of my cousins – cousins who are like brothers to me – had been killed suddenly in a car accident.  The one who rode in the El Camino with me.  The first baby I ever held.

Grief has come in predictable places, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I’ve experienced it in the oddest moments, too. 

Like every time I see a little red haired boy. 

My cousin, Joe, with his boys, Andrew & Ryan, & nephew Beau

Once in the middle of the produce section at Wal-Mart where I couldn’t hold the tears back. 

But yesterday turned out very different than I thought it would. 

Pretty typical for a Wednesday – went to the gym, visited with the guy who mows my lawn, went to a meeting, worked on projects, returned emails, made phone calls. 

And ate leftovers for supper with a dear old friend who just moved back to town. 

Afterward we went over to this small church in the middle of town.  A church where people aren’t so consumed with what they own, like I am sometimes.  Where pride is left at the front door and no one cares what they sound like singing.  Or what they dress like.  Or what kind of car they left in the parking lot.  

Like I do far too often. 

The tears came watching people who have obviously known a lot of loss in their lives, yet they couldn’t remain seated when we began to sing, “Lord, I’m amazed by you, how you love me.”

And neither could I.


16 Comments Add yours

  1. Melinda says:

    Sally, I had this same experience today as I was standing in a souvenir shop in Jerusalem and came across a page of Israeli stamps. Images of my dad sitting at his desk early in the morning working on his stamp collection came pouring back. It was all I could do to hold back the tears so I wouldn’t have to explain to everyone why all of a sudden I was so emotional. Missing you lots.

    1. sallygary says:

      Wow. It really does hit you just out of the blue, doesn’t it? You don’t ever have to hold back the tears with me. Miss you, too – Melinda, come home!

  2. Millissa Coffey says:

    God is our redeemer. He redeems our hardest days, it may not be that day, it may be days, months or years. Our God is faithful.

    1. sallygary says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for taking the time to share that truth with us.

  3. Zack Smith says:

    I am sure there was a sweet teenage girl who loved her cousin very much singing right along with you…

    1. sallygary says:

      Yes, and a five year old who remembers holding him as a baby. A ten year old riding the log ride with him at Six Flags. A fifteen year old taking him to buy jeans for summer camp. And adult Sally can still hear him laughing. So thankful for so many sweet memories. And the assurance that we’ll all be together again. Thanks for remembering my girls, Zack – we love you!

  4. Kelvin says:

    With the death’s of both my mother and father, I can empathize with your loss. God’s love, prayer, time and the support of friends and family are what gets us through these tough periods. One really never knows what will trigger a moment of sadness. Shortly before Dad died, he asked about you. Hope all is going well.

    1. sallygary says:

      Fond memories of your mom and dad and grandmother. I think the corn starch story was my favorite of Don’s stories. I can still hear him laughing telling that! I know they are missed – won’t it be sweet to see them again? And tell more stories about Hamilton County.

  5. Lisa says:

    Sweet story, Sal. That song gives me chills. And now I’ll never hear it again without thinking about you and this story. His love IS amazing. He grieves with us. Thank you God.

    1. sallygary says:

      Oh yes, Lisa, thanks for reminding me that He grieves with us. He knows better than anyone what it feels like to give up a sweet boy. For all of us.

  6. dan gary says:

    What a SAD day for all of us, especially you Sally. What a sweet story you wrote about Joe Rex! The picture says a lot about HIM also.

    1. sallygary says:

      That’s a great picture of Joe & the boys, isn’t it? I think you’re right, Daddy – it does say a lot about him.

  7. Sally,

    God amazes us in moments we most need it. He is watching your time here on earth and is putting your tears in the bottle. You are precious to Him and He supplies these moments that change our thoughts ever so quickly. I’m so glad you were able to see, sense, feel, enjoy His Presence, which He tells us is fullness of JOY!
    Ps. 16:11

    1. sallygary says:

      Oh yes, Cathie. And I haven’t forgotten your sweet presence in that moment of the phone call. Your prayers were answered – thank you, my friend.

  8. Dusty Austin says:

    What a precious memory to share with us! I remember sitting in the auditorium at his service getting goose bumps from all the fond memories shared. I love Sally ever so much! Can’t wait to see you in just a month!

    Blessings and Peace!


    1. sallygary says:

      And I will never forget how sweet it was to look out in that sea of people and see the faces of my Edmond friends who drove a long way to be there just for me. Meant the world to me. I love Dusty ever so much, too, and I can’t wait to see you either!

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