My feet propel me on. My ever singing headphones pause for a moment. A good, quiet moment and then a sweet voice fills my heart:
If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song.
The sobs swell in my throat. I choke them back down but loose. It is hard to run and cry…
Nearly two weeks ago, this world was robbed of another young life. It isn’t very often that the cruelty and brokenness of the world touches us in this way. The Charrette family, fellow adventure lovers and bloggers over at Velomom.com lost their two-year old son while in Mexico. It shouldn’t have happened. It was a life stolen.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8
I never met Axel but I see his gleeful smiles in my own two-year old as she scoops up water and the drops cascade down on her smiling face. I’ve never met Jen or her husband, but for months now we’ve joined arms with fellow outdoor bloggers to pursue adventure and family together. I’ve never met them face to face but I’ve shared the same free spirit and love of adventure…and now I feel just a part of the sorrow they are experiencing when it ends as it never should.
The song plays on, my feet pounding out the pavement…
Lord, make me a rainbow,
I’ll shine down on my mother.
She’ll know I’m safe with you
when she stands under my colors
Oh, and life ain’t always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain’t even gray, but she buries her baby…
I get home. I grab each of my kids and hold them tight. I want to box them up, hedge them in, keep they away from the world and all the inherent dangers therein. I wonder if we should give up all this crazy notion of adventure and trips and try to limit our dangers. But I know I cannot.
What can I do? Right now everything is feeling hopeless.
The words of Elizabeth Elliott, twice a widow, echo in my mind,
Do the next right thing.
I guess we do the next right thing. When tragedy hits, the world keeps on spinning. At first it is offensive. Surely everything should stop?! And then it is a blessed distraction from the pain… and in the end it is comforting and healing. We take one small step at a time. And then another. Just as we would to summit an unconquerable mountain in front of us. And the burn in our lungs, the occasional tear in our eyes, the muscle ache, the crisp wind, the blue skies and star-filled nights, they bring a measure of healing. I pray they bring a measure of peace for the Charrette family, and bring them a step closer to the God who holds all their tears in a bottle, and will one day wipe them all away.
Original song and lyrics from “If I die young”, The Band Perry. Performed on video and used with permission, by Mary Sue and Sadie Thompson.
The memorial for Axel is today, March 12, 2013. If you’d like to contribute, they have set up an Axel Memorial Fund: Alpine Bank (970-626-4100) and reference the Axel Charrette fund. Checks can be made out to Axel Charrette Fund, c/o Alpine Bank, 119 Liddell Drive, Ridgway, CO 81432.The Charrette family will be using the money to share Axel’s love of biking in conjunction with Strider Bikes to reach out to kids who might never have the opportunity to pursue the sport. More details to be shared at a later date.