For the last few years it has become tradition for our family to spend Easter weekend in PA with Jon and Christie Purifoy at their farmhouse called Maplehurst. They’re friends who’ve known us the longest — since the days when none of us had kids yet.
Every year they host a neighborhood wide, 2000+ Easter egg hunt. It is just as awesome as it sounds.
Our family stays on the third floor of their old farmhouse and usually there are other guests in town too. A couple years ago one of Christie’s sisters, Kelli and her 4 kids shared the third floor with us too. Or maybe it’s better to say we shared the floor with them.
Either way, I remember that weekend vividly. It was unseasonably warm. The tulips and daffodils were already in bloom. And long after everyone had left we all lay out on blankets in the front yard surrounded by a sea of colorful, empty, plastic Easter eggs.
Kelli is a photographer and she captured the moment for us.
But I stole this one photo of her and Christie.
She captured hundreds of beautiful moments that weekend. She was in transition herself getting ready to move to Hawaii where her husband who’s a marine was being stationed. We were all a bit jealous I think. Because Hawaii!
And since her move her Instagram feed has been a constant source of beauty, family, and inspiration from the sand and the sea.
But on Friday I got a text message from Christie that Kelli’s husband, Shawn, was missing. His helicopter and one other had gone down in the night and all 12 Marines on board were still missing. A massive search spanning miles of ocean was launched.
On Sunday I was in a church service about how God can do the impossible.
Faith is so terribly hard, isn’t it? Often mine comes accompanied by a large side of doubt and so many tears. Christie’s brother is about to have a baby any day, her own first book comes out in a week, but today she is headed to Hawaii to sit and wait with her sister and their four kids for news no one wants to hear.
It is likely that many of you will receive my book and begin reading it before I return home to Maplehurst. The only words I would add to the words already written within those pages are these:
The book I wrote is not diminished by this sorrow. It is more true than I knew, and it has become, for me, an anchor outside this grief.
It is, quite literally, the material form of my hope.
If I once thought it was my gift to God then it is a gift he has given back to me. I can hold hope in my hands, even if I fail to see it in these circumstances.
I’ve cried and cleaned toilets since Friday. It seems easier than sitting still. How can one week ago look so different? And I spent several hours surrounded by unexpected family from home yesterday afternoon.
And that’s the rub isn’t it? Amidst all the darkness and the doubt and the crashing waves there is still hope and light and family and new life. It’s almost too hard to bear. All these contradictions that make up this life God has trusted us with.
How do we keep trusting him back?
Maybe we just pray that He gives us eyes to see the rescue when it comes. Especially when it doesn’t look like we expect.
So many are praying for Christie today as she flies with her oldest daughter to go and be with her sister. Because that’s what Christ has taught us isn’t it? When things become too unbearable, when there are no words, we offer ourselves. Our presence. Like He taught us.
God with us. With you and with me and with Christie and with Kelli and with Shawn.
Join me and so many others in praying for Christie and her family over here?