My dad would always say this as we were growing up, “A hearse doesn’t carry a luggage rack.” Something like that makes sense and is such a good point but it really resonates with you when you experience it.
Many may think that the hardest part would be the funeral but to be truthful with you, the toughest part was hands down going through all of Rachel’s things that were left behind. Mom and Aunt Cindy made a trip up to her house to pack up a few things to bring back home. I’ll never forget when they pulled up in my truck and as I opened the door where her clothes sat, it all smelled just like Rachel. As we started to bring in the stuff from the car, Leah and I laid her clothes on the bed and then stood there staring at all of it.
There’s this moment where you realize that everything really did happen, I don’t want to do this but I know I have to and where do you even start with this? Leah and I stood there going through her things, deciding what we would keep or give away and then it hit us – You literally don’t take a thing with you when you’re gone. So all of these things we have here on earth will be left behind. It gave a whole new meaning to how unimportant material things are in this world. — We work and work to have things in our lives that we think make us happy when in all truth it’s a distraction to what we’re really here to do.
On a humorous note as we went through the clothes, Leah and I found things that were actually ours and we had been looking for at some point. Rachel always liked to borrow things and you would notice one day something was missing from your closet… That was her, I miss it and it absolutely makes me laugh now (hey, you find humor wherever you can in the midst of terrible pain).
Another thing that we got back of her stuff was her phone. She had it on her that night. I’ll never forget dad handing it to me and as I stared at it in my hand, I noticed the cracks on it and immediately relived everything knowing that it was on her in that last moment. I wanted to make sure we got everything off of her phone before we had to make that phone call to the cell phone company. I turned it on and started downloading everything and then came across her songs she had listed on the phone. There was a playlist called “Hope.” I clicked on it and these were the songs on the playlist:
- Praise You In This Storm – Casting Crowns
- Where I Belong – Building 429
- Hope Now – Addison Road
- Made For You – Building 429
- Great Light of the World – Bebo Norman
- I Need You to Love Me – Barlow Girl
- (SMS) Shine – David Crowder Band
- Here I Am – Shawn McDonald
- Take This Life – Shawn McDonald
- All Fall Down – Mercy Me
- Show Me Your Glory – Third Day
- Move – Mercy Me
- Before the Throne – Shane & Shane
- How Great is Your Love – Mercy Me
- Dare You to Move – Switchfoot
- Never Alone – BarlowGirl
- This is Your Life – Switchfoot
- Hold Fast – Mercy Me
- Mine to Love – Dave Barnes
- Let Me Feel Your Shine – David Crowder Band
As I sat there listening to the songs, tears rolled down my face. Half of these songs were ones we listened to while on a mission trip we took to Peru with each other. There is so much comfort in these songs and the words are unreal but there are moments where listening to any Christian music is so hard. It breaks your soul but the pain can overcome you in an instant. The song “Where I Belong” talks about how we’re here on earth but this isn’t our true home and where we belong as we are just citizens here on earth for a short time. It just made the situation of her being gone that much more real.
There are many photos I will share with you that were on her phone and I truly know that she left behind for a reason but this was the first photo on her phone, pretty perfect if you ask me….
I know I keep saying this over and over about how we know that the Lord has a plan with everything. But it’s even more true when we find things that Rachel left behind and the timing that we’ve found them. Don’t get caught in worldly things around you or materials because not only will they fade, you can’t take it with you. I’m guilty of it so I’m pointing a finger right back at myself too. One thing that mom kept of hers was her class ring. She wore it every day even though it was too big for her finger. It kept slipping off and she knew she needed to get it re-sized soon. That Wednesday night at church she went to the bathroom and as she went to flush the toilet, the ring fell off into the bowl. Before she could reach down, it flushed and the ring was gone. When she told me what happened my mouth dropped and I felt so bad but she says to me, “I think it was the Lord’s way of saying to let go and trust him. You don’t need these things, find comfort in me.” Such truth as hard as it was to swallow…
Two verses that I wrote down that week that made me stop in my tracks and reminded me to just believe:
Mountains won’t be an issue. Faith means if the mountain doesn’t fall into the sea, He’ll show us a way around it. -Matthew 21:21,22
The secret to pleasing God: just believe. -Mark 5:34