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Tearing down the bed

Discussion in 'Testimonial Forum' started by Frank Lee, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Frank Lee

    Frank Lee Well-Known Member

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    By Frank Lee Jennings
    Written in 2007

    When we came into the hospital room where she was lying on the gurney, I found a wash cloth, wet it and washed her pretty little face, and kissed those pretty little rosebud lips for the last time. Laura and Nathan wept as they stood embracing their mother, all with tears streaming down. I couldn't and didn't cry then, I was totally numb. As I stood there I said, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. I then walked over to the corner and sat down on the floor. When Joanna, who has turned fifteen was killed, the four of us came home from the hospital as if in a horrible dream. We were in shock. How life had changed in the blink of an eye. Just a few hours before I had been conversing with my beautiful daughter.

    That first night Nathan slept in his bed, while I slept, if you could call it that, on one of the couches. Martha slept on another with Laura. For a period of weeks it was like a nightmare, only we didn't have the relief of waking up. I don't know how many times I was awakened that first night to the heart ripping sounds of Laura sobbing from the bottom of her heart. At all hours this was going on. She was voicing how all of us felt.

    I wished that I could have been anyone else, anywhere else doing anything else. No matter what, it would have been easy. How often I have wanted to be a mouse or other small creature that could disappear down a hole when horrible things come to pass. It never does happen though. I am always forced to face whatever it is. I did Joanna's chapel service, and God told me exactly what to share. There was standing room only, and one person remarked that it was the most spiritual meeting they had ever attended. I was carried through it, as we all were, as if we were in a never ending bad dream. The Holy Spirit carried us.

    Laura refused to sleep in the room that she and Joanna had shared. They had laughed and played in that room and gotten whacked by me in that room. Laughed and cryed and played there. We had taken pictures in that room. Nathan and Joanna had sung together and squabbled there, and held little skits and plays. I was faced with the task of redecorating and repainting the entire room before Laura would sleep in there again. I understood. She didn't even want to go into their closet to get clothes.

    Laura was nine then and she is thirty now, but the pain is always fresh for all of us, always present. It's always just as if it were only five seconds ago. Aside from the love of my family and friends, the things of this world have no hold on me whatsoever. Someone told me that it would get easier. Maybe it has, I don't cry quite as much as I did, but that large hollow feeling never leaves. It's true that the human heart is just like a big hotel with a special room for everyone you've ever known.

    Some occupy little out of the way rooms, and others have large rooms that take up an entire floor. Once someone checks out in death, that room is still theirs. It can never be occupied by another. The fact that their room is empty is always in the back of your mind, no matter how busy you get. It is locked, but from time to time you go in and look around. The scent of them, their laugh, their expressions, the sweet ring of their voice are just as they left them. Cast permanently in place.

    When I started to work in their room it was the hardest thing that I have ever undertaken. No work I've ever done has been so difficult. It was as if I was wearing a lead suit and dragging a ship's anchor chains around. The smallest thing took me forever. I was doing it for love of my children and that's all that kept me moving. It seemed that I could hardly lift my feet for their terrible weight.

    The hardest part was beginning. Joanna's bed was still made up. She had made it up with own little sweet hands. She always had such pretty hands. I would walk into that room time and again and look at that bed and tell myself that I needed to get started so that Laura would sleep there again. I would walk in there look at the bed, and walk out again. Then I would do it all over.

    By tearing down that bed I was admitting that Joanna was never coming back, and that was very hard for me to do. Finally I did, and after about a week or so it was done and Laura would sleep there since it looked entirely different. While painting trim, I found a note that God had Joanna to write to us. I t was on the ceiling in pencil and it said "Hi, love ya! Joanna" and was dated. I did not paint that over, and it's still there. I wept for a good while when I found it. God had her write it.

    Joanna was the sweetest little five year old thing that said "I know why God made the devil." We were shocked and looked at her as she finished "So he could see who we would follow." Most certainly she was wise beyond her years. Reading before five the King James Bible was no challenge.

    She would always leave the back door light on for me. I would come home and see that light, and no matter how hard the day had been, it was as if someone had built a fire in the fire place of my heart. Anytime I had to go out of town on business, there would always be a note with the kid's prayers for me on the seat of my truck. She started this when she was only seven or so. They all signed it but she was always the one that started it. The first time I came home to the darkened back door, I sat in my truck with my head on the steering wheel and cried for fifteen minutes.

    Who can make me afraid now? What man is there or institution or government agency that can cause me to bow down after facing that? I don't fear anything of man's anymore after going through one of the ultimate experiences. We love and have loved our children fiercely. Dying for them would be nothing, if it saved them. We were married for fourteen years before God sent Nathan. Martha was allergic to my sperm and her body killed it on contact. Medical science was helpless. But all of that is a book in itself, and I won't get into those years.

    There are many hard things I have had to do in my life, but tearing down my little girl's bed for the last time is up near the top of the I don't know if I can do this or not list. I would like to chase down and reprimand, maybe hit, the person that coined the word "closure". What is closure when your heart has been ripped out by its roots? Ten years or ten milliseconds it makes no difference at all. Closure is a cyberspace word, not really real, like Atlantis. Another carrot on a string suspended beyond your grasp. I have had Thyohoid fever, pneumonia, broken legs, severed arteries, amputated two fingers but no pain can equal the death of your beloved child. Closure is one of those "I hope so" words. Like it would really happen but we can't lie to our heart.

    For years after her death I was convinced that God had deceived me. That he wasn't who he claimed to be at all. It must have taken nearly twenty years to begin to believe that his taking her was best.

    Isaiah 57:1 KJVS
    The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come .

    Without God it is impossible to go ahead with life. The time to get closer to him is now. Trust me on this subject. The world is a different place for us now. No more illusions, well not as many. Do not brag about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day will bring forth the proverb says. I've found this to be perfectly true of course. Nathan is 38 now and as straight as an arrow, no drugs, no alcohol, no sex....ever. Same for Laura. I prophesied to Laura that the annointing that God gave to Joanna would be added to her own. He told me she would have a double portion of anointing. We've seen that in her life. Graduating Summa Cum Laude with a double major she is now in a Master's program for environmental studies with the University of Idaho.

    We are still believers, and like Peter, "Where else could we go Lord, you have the words of eternal life". I have seen life and death, blessing and cursing, what I believe is settled.

    A fool's eyes are in the ends of the earth but wisdom is right in front of the one that understands.

    The common ordinary everyday things are the treasures of life. A simple meal with loved ones. A shared prayer or memory. Doing a simple task together. Make the most of your time together. Life is swift and the bird is on the wing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  2. VictoryinJesus

    VictoryinJesus Well-Known Member

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    I don’t know what to say. Nothing seems appropriate. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I will remember your words and to always thank God for precious moments.
     
  3. Frank Lee

    Frank Lee Well-Known Member

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    2017-07-15_05-02-35.jpg

    Joanna's last Christmas. December 25,1997.

    Born March 16,1982
    Died June 30,1997

    She wrote her own epitaph at age 12.


    Reflections of the passing seasons
    by Joanna Lee Jennings, age 12

    A frigid winter gale will blow
    across a plain of grey
    reminding of a perfect time
    a sunny, amber day

    The snow will blow across the hills
    once cloaked in spring's sweet haze
    In winter we'll remember these
    the happy springtime days

    The trees are bare, they wave their limbs
    across a wintry sky
    and we'll recall on winters' nights
    the golden fall gone by

    Our time here is very short. Let us shower the people we love with love.
     
  4. Heart2Soul

    Heart2Soul Well-Known Member

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    This is a sad but beautiful testimony of God's Mercy and Grace to carry us through such difficult times. Hugs, Frank.
     
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