I love math.
I took every mathematics class possible in high school and then again in college.
And when I decided to become a teacher,
I chose to get my Masters in Middle School Math and English.
I think the thing I love most about math is that formulas never change.
Filled with constants and variables,
the power to change the answer is in the hands of the person “plugging in” the different numbers.
Constants hold their value with consistency and reliability.
Yesterday, this planet lost a constant.
Yesterday, the community I love with all my heart and soul lost a man who would do anything for anyone and do it all with a smile.
From helping put together a trampoline for a circle of excited boys
to leading mission trip after mission trip to Mexico in vans filled with teenagers
to riding all the way to Columbus, Ohio, to sit with our family during Nick’s multiple brain surgeries
to being a dorm dad and team leader and counselor at church camp,
Ron was a constant.
You never had to fear the mood he was in.
You never had to wonder how he felt about God and eternity.
You never had to question his commitment to his family or his church.
Ron was all in.
Even when the variables in his own life changed drastically and he became dependent upon a prosthetic foot,
Ron remained the same.
He was truly the fruit of the spirit in human form,
and yesterday our tree of life lost more than it seems possible to bear.
What would Ron want us to do today?
That’s the question that keeps running through my mind.
I’m too far away to hug his wife and daughters and grandsons.
I know he would want any one who is near them to hold them close.
So if you are, please hug them for me.
I love you, Anita and Tiffany and Kristy.
So so much.
I will come as soon as I can.
“But Ron, what do you want me to do today? Right here where I am? I was just one of thousands who adored you to the moon and back. You were a second dad to my boys in many ways. They loved you so much. I loved you too and always will. You were always able to make me laugh, even on the days when I thought I’d never stop crying. So what should I do? What should we all do? I’m listening, and I’m so sorry I never made it out to your beautiful cabin with Tim to sit with you and Anita and watch the sunset. It was on our list, and we failed.“
As I sit here in Louisville listening to David Nevue’s song The Gift, tears running down my face, I know the answer.
I know what you want us all to do.
You want us to follow bravely in your footsteps.
And be constants in a world longing for something that doesn’t change its value.
I think that’s it.
You want us to be constants in the ever-changing equation of life.
Ron, I promise I will try to be just that.
But as I type those words, I can almost hear you laughing and saying,
“Now Tammy, you know it wasn’t me that was a constant. It was Him. He was the unchanging One and I just held on to Him so tight, you might have thought it was me from time to time. But it wasn’t. It was Him. So hold on tight, Sissy. Hold on tight to Him. And the world will never, ever be able to separate you from the One who loves you most.”
And then, with some type of funny grandeur, Ron would wave his hand in the air and be on his way.
Because there was always someone else who needed his presence too.
When you’re a constant,
life’s just like that.
So Ron, as painful as it is to think of life without you in it,
I know God must have needed your presence more than we did
So live big in Heaven.
Hug my children for me.
I can perfectly imagine Nick’s grin as you walked through the gate!
I’ll be watching for signs that all is well above.
I received my first one last night when I sat in a chair I had recently moved in our basement
for the very first time
the wood grain in our tv stand.
As I photographed the almost perfect 7-11 that had never before caught my eye or Tim’s,
a heart also took shape in the background as light peeked between our table and chair.
I knew in that moment Nick and Adrienne both wanted me to know
you are there with them
and all is well in Heaven.
I felt as if I could almost hear Nick saying,
“Mom, you’ve got to keep looking at life from a different angle.
Heaven is real and we’re all doing great here!”
Thank you, Lord, for being a constant in all of our lives
so we have the strength to face the days that change our world forever.
Yesterday was one of them.
And I know You were there.
Just like You are today.
And will be tomorrow.