After the loss of Rachel, it was not only tough to function but also trying to get back into the groove of running our family businesses. When you’re the business owner, the business depends on you. Thankfully we have some amazing people who work with us that were able to take over for a few weeks as we pulled ourselves together. I remember the first day back, just sitting there and staring at the computer knowing that I needed to get things done but just couldn’t. My mind was in 20 different directions and as the days dragged on I wondered how long this feeling was going to last.
Since 2007 I had been working on BB and building this path towards what I thought I was suppose to do. But with what happened it completely made me stop and rethink EVERYTHING. I loved what I was doing but it all hit me with the thought, “is this really what I am suppose to be doing with my life?” As I tried to move forward with scheduling interviews, getting outlines ready for the show etc. I started to realize that so many people I was dealing with had that “what’s in it for me” attitude. Well before all of this I didn’t put up with that and now I really didn’t have time for people like that. I really had to step away from everything so I could see things more clear. I’m a firm believer that each thing you do is another stepping stone for what’s to come around the corner or down the road. At this moment I was completely clueless on what anything I had been doing meant or if I was just doing it all because I wanted to.
I watched mom and dad try and get back into the groove of things. They have such an amazing work ethic but you could see their every day struggle. To put it the best way, it was enough to just make it through the day. Before I would have had no problem answering emails in the evening or whatever I needed to get done but now it was like I had to shut off my mind from everything. You would have phone calls come in from customers with the business freaking out about a simple thing and you’re going, “you have not a clue what I’m going through right now and there is a possibility I feel that I could punch you…” No, I didn’t say it on the phone but I came pretty close once or twice.
After I almost lost it on the phone I knew I needed to cool off a little bit so I headed upstairs in the warehouse part of the office. When I got to the top of the stairs, I noticed a box in the corner that had a sticker hanging off of it that said, “Rachel’s stuff.” I went over to it and immediately opened it. As I stood there and looked at the items in the box, I could remember everything in there along with memories that went with them. One thing that stood out to me was an old floral Bible case that I remember her always carrying around back at Bellevue on Sundays. As I picked it up, the tears started to roll as I could remember walking down the halls with her while telling her to “hurry up that we were going to be late for big church.” As I leaned over the box and on my knee, I felt this warmth on my back as if someone was standing behind me with the hand on my shoulder but nobody was there. I opened the Bible (which happened to be a Precious Moments version) and the first page I turned to was this:
Yes, my mouth dropped as well.
I sat there wondering how something like this could be exactly something I would need to hear in this moment that was in her Bible from years ago? And it’s even marked with a torn out piece of paper…
I turned to the front of the Bible and noticed these written out in her young handwriting:
If you have a moment, take a look at these verses because I promise you will want to know each one of them just as I did.
It’s a really funny thing because I would always say, “life is short” but it has a completely different meaning to me now. My perspective has changed on a lot of things and every ounce of fear I ever had is gone (except for the fear of sharks). When I found this Bible, it had only been 2 months since she passed away. I was starting to come out of the fog but I also noticed so many things that others just let slide. I also started to notice how people acted towards me as if they had no clue what to say or do. Which is totally understandable but what I can tell you is don’t back off and tell someone who is in my position to “let them know if you need them.” Go to them, sit beside them and just hold their hand. When going through something like this you can start to pull away from people not meaning to of course but you just are trying to make sense of everything and put one foot in front of the other at this point.
That same day I was driving home and sitting at a stop light I happened to look over to my left to see a woman crying. She put her head in her hands and started sobbing. It was a jolt back to reality. I thought to myself, “What’s going on in her life that is making her shed these tears?” As much pain as I had, I still had to keep reminding myself that pain is all around us in every persons life. I just happen to be more sensitive to it because of what I’ve been through now.
Why am I telling you this? Be more sensitive to those around you. Don’t assume things with people just because of the way they act, there could be something major going on in their life you have not a clue about. If a friend is going through something, don’t distance yourself from them or assume they don’t need you because they most certainly do. Don’t take it personally if that person doesn’t reach out to you because most likely they are trying to just make it through the day. Don’t expect that person to immediately tell you how much they appreciate what you’ve done for them – you shouldn’t expect that, you should do it because you want to and not to get praise. You may be reading this right now and in a week something may happen in your life that completely changes your perspective just as mine has. Nobody knows what each days holds and one of the best things about my sister Rachel is that she would live each day to the absolute fullest. So stop worrying about little things that don’t matter or what kind of car you drive, that’s not what matters in the end. What does matter are the lives you touch and knowing Jesus (aka the ultimate lotto ticket).