Wednesday, May 30, 2012

While it is yet today

Tomorrow is always tomorrow
The past is always gone
Today is all we'll ever have
It goes on and on and on

We wish for brighter shores
We strive for bigger dreams
We put off till tomorrow
It's never as close as it seems

We hold the past against us
It's claws digging deep
Unforgiving unforgotten
It stacks up at our feet

Today is the new start
Of something beautiful and true
If we could only live it
We really could be made new

Today is a beginning
Tomorrow never comes
It stays always a day away
A reality it never becomes

Today is the moment
the time we have right now
to do what must be done
Despite the where or how

Today if we are faithful
To do what God asks
There will be a brighter tomorrow
and a reason for the past

Today my friends join me
To glorify Jesus Christ the Son
To be found a faithful servant
For in Him the victory is won

May 5th

May 1st - 
Me: 11:26 AM  Hi
11:27 AM Did you here about Saturday?
11:30 AM Joshua: No, I did not HEAR about Saturday
11:45 AM 
me: Ron, Leanne, Ariel, me, Stephen, Darla and her brother are hiking rainy falls. You and Caleb are invited. We are going to meet at Stroms at 12.
Joshua: Wow, okay, that makes me very excited!  I'll see if I can come:  I'd love to!  I love hiking.  :D
Thank you for the invitation!

~Joshua S. Eddy

May 5th...........A day I shall never forget. Josh was the first one to the trail head. He was pacing back and forth waiting for us all to be ready to go and so ready to be on the move. We had loaded his back pack with so many snacks, water bottles, and miscellaneous items and he was glad of it. So ready to be on the trail for the first time since Alert. We all reached the trail and we were off. Mr Strom I believe was put in the lead and Stephen took the end making us girls feel safe and protected. Ariel was anxious to start up a wonderful conversation, but was stating how sad it was that we could only walk the trail single file therefore not all being in the conversation at the same time. I strained to listen for a while and then let myself drift back a little and take in the amazingness of God's creation. There were so many flowers, so many shades of green, the sound of the river was so refreshing, the streams looked so clear and pure, and the voices of friends in happy conversation drifting passed my ears as we walked. I breathed and let myself relax. From time to time I would catch parts of the conversation about Free will as Ariel, Josh, and Caleb debated among themselves. I wish I could have caught all of Josh's perspective, but there was one particular point where he made a statement for his view and Ariel told him to prove it. Without hesitation he brought up a verse in scripture...I am trying and trying to remember which one it is. I will ask Ariel and post it as soon as I find it. I am not sure he ever mentioned which verse just that he quoted it, but then with him in front talking it was hard to hear everything he said. All I truly remember is, the verse completed his presentation on free will and Ariel conceded that he had a valid point that was worth her looking into further. I smiled because I was discovering that Josh and I seemed to be on the same page and we both had big smiles on our faces. We proceeded down the trail and stopped at a few small stream/waterfalls for Leanne to take pictures. They really were beautiful. I was desperate to get my camera out, but I didn't want to miss anything and figured I could take my time on the way out to snap all the beauty through the lens. We passed a huge cement wall/structure sitting by the water and it left us wondering about the history and story behind it and what it was for. We finally came to the biggest stream on our hike and all stopped to have a picture taken. Josh instantly tried climbing up as far as he could into the waterfall and up some rocks to stand. I ended up just a bit higher than him as it seemed the only place to get us all balanced into the photo without standing right in the water was up. So up I went. People laughed that Josh wasn't at the top part anymore and I felt a bit bad for my choice of climbing up so high, but we all laughed and were having a good time. We were almost to Rainy Falls. Just around a few more corners and there were were. I was so shocked to see the water so high. The lovely sandy beach spots I had remembered as a young girl were nothing but water. The trail ended completely at the falls. There were several other people down at the falls and a bunch of rafters who had a special permit to float down that dangerous part of the river. Everybody kinda spread out at that point captured by different aspects of our location. Ariel sat on a rock near the falls, I believe at that point the first thing Josh did was put down his pack and bound over to where two rafters with newer canon cameras were standing and taking pictures. I am so thankful my friend Darla was sitting near and heard the conversation. Josh was asking about the cameras they were using and one was the 7D which I had just purchased and a new Mark something camera that had only been out for about 2 weeks. Josh told me after his conversation with them how exciting it was to talk with them. Darla told me later that they asked Josh what camera he was using and if he had brought it with him. He answered and said he didn't bring it because "he was accident prone". I decided I could not wait another moment to get my camera out and start taking pictures of the beauty before us. I started to play with settings to get it just right and then ever one started trying to get my attention as there was a rafter getting ready to come down and through the falls. I got the camera ready and snapped the pictures as the rafter came down and then appeared to be completely swallowed up by the water only to rise again and surge through the falls.  It was frightening and amazing all at the same time. So much power and strength. The rafters finally moved on and I proceeded to snap shots of our happy little group. Ariel overlooking the water, Leanne getting out snacks and making sure everyone was taken care of, Ron sitting behind me on another rock making a fabulous Ron face, I shot a picture of Stephen as he came over to sit down next to where I was at, I grabbed a shot of Josh making a fun Josh face (after Josh came over and asked me if I would take a picture of him if he jumped in. I grabbed his shirt collar and told him to never even think of it and told him such a picture would never take place), and then Caleb sat near us. I adjusted my settings as I took a few pictures and got a picture that lightly revealed the surging river behind him and where the blue in his shirt made his eyes just shine (I couldn't wait to show Josh and see what he thought), then I turned at looked the river again. Josh came up just a few minutes later and asked if he could use the camera promising that he would take extra good care of it and be very safe. I looked at him very seriously and told him that I trusted him completely. I did...I had learned and chosen to trust Josh to be the man that he desired to be in God. Trustworthy, reliable, sincere, honest, and someone I could be a real friend to because he was a real friend to me. I knew he would be careful and considerate. I chose to turn away and look down river as he adjusted camera settings. I didn't want him to think I was watching his every move and making sure he was truly being safe with the camera. I trust him.  He came over to me and asked me if I had a wider lens. I did not. I had only brought a 28-55mm and a 50mm. I didn't think anything else of it, but he hoped over rocks to get up stream to get the shot he was visualizing. I can only imagine the beautiful shot he framed because Josh was so gifted. Done with his photo he jumped back rock to rock to reach where we all sat. He never made it. I never saw his face again. The parts after this you can read in my previous blog. As hard as I am trying I can't even accurately describe the day. There was so much. We were just enjoying God's beauty. We were enjoying godly fellowship. A beautiful day. It was a really beautiful day. I thought I would never pick up a camera again. I had no desire to do it. It was too painful to think about. I had to go to Texas two weeks after and photograph a graduation ceremony along with family portraits. It was so painful and every shot and every setting reminded me of Josh. I asked myself what would Josh do in this position and I used the settings he had encouraged me to use. I shot in RAW format because Josh had told me to so long ago. The pictures turned out amazing by God's grace and Josh's passionate encouragement. The loss of a camera is nothing. I don't miss the camera. I miss the freedom of grabbing a beautiful shot or view when I am inspired by God's handy work. My friend Hannah lent me her camera for my Texas trip. What a blessing she is. Things are so not important. Life and success are not valued by the things we have. It is people and what we do with things that really matter. I am told I shouldn't think this way, but I hope and pray Josh knows that I valued him more than a mere thing and that I still trust him. God called him home. Giving up a thing to the purpose of God is a blessing. I must admit giving up a person is much more difficult. I am struggling with letting go. I have to fight the what if thoughts and trust God's sovereignty. I am so thankful for the short time I knew Josh. He touched my life and changed it forever. God, Thank You. I don't know how long it will take the pain to ease, but I will always be thankful to have known Josh and had that last day with him.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Run the Race

When I wrote almost two months ago I thought I had changed a lot. I did, but the change wasn't over, and I have had to face some of the hardest challenges in my life. There is so much going through my mind right now. I changed the name of my blog. I love how Josh had his "the Bright and Hopeful Unknown". I kinda wish I could barrow it, but it is his. I have named mine Grace for Today - Hope for Tomorrow. It seems that is all I can do right now. Live by God's grace today and hope tomorrow will be just a little bit better than the day before. I should live like this every day, but it is times like these that make me realize how much I can't live without it. God's grace today one day at a time. I lost someone I counted as a true and reliable friend. Someone I looked forward to knowing for years. Someone whose future I couldn't wait to watch unfold. Someone I knew was honest and would communicate with me. Someone that would encourage me to have a closer relationship with the Lord. and just a moment he was gone. I couldn't believe it at first. He slipped into the water. They must be imagining things. He must be within grasp. I must find him and pull him to safety. I searched frantically for just a glimpse of Josh. It was hitting me. I kept repeating "this is not good". I started to shake and tremble and felt as if I would collapse to the ground unable to stand. Then I saw Ariel's face. "Anne, you need to pray"! I took a deep breath and pleaded with God not to take him. To let us see him and rescue him. To look back and someday laugh about how he lived on the edge and always made it. I kept looking and then I saw him. I ran. Over rocks overgrown with bushes. I almost fell. I didn't look where I was going. All I could think was that I must get to Josh before it was too late. I finally realized I had to stop and look for a path as I kept missing, falling through cracks, and was risking a broken leg in the panic. I looked back to where I had seen Josh. He was gone. I looked around and continues my frantic race to where he had been. I looked in the water trying to see him. I could not. Again, I started to shake and felt as if I would collapse again. Ariel grabbed me and started praying. Again I pleaded with God not to take him. I was in shock, numb, this must just be a bad dream. Things like this don't happen to me. Leanne caught up with, a backpack on her shoulder with supplies and moving past where I felt my eyes glued to the river. Ariel, said she needed to keep going. I wanted to keep going. Searching. Then I heard that no one knew for sure if someone was trying to call for help. I had left my cell phone in my pocket the entire hike. I almost left it in the car, but felt the need to keep it. I called 911. My phone vibrated and vibrated trying to connect the call. Nothing. I asked Leanne who had car keys and thank the Lord she did. Stephen, Caleb, Ron, and Darla were out of sight. She gave me the keys and I started the hick our of the falls praying for reception and help. I got to the falls looked at the trail and started to run. All the while thinking, there must be someone that can do this better than I. I had wondered if I could make the hike in and out with a leisure pace. How could I ever make it out quickly. I ran for a bit and started to get winded. Knowing that I had eaten little and drank no water all day I slowed to a fast walk. I thought of Josh. All of his stories of Alert training. The hike where they didn't know the time, how long, or when or if they would rest. Endurance. Physically I was challenged but even more so mentally. What if they found him. What if they didn't. What if he wasn't breathing and needed a hospital. What if his life was hanging by a thread and I couldn't be fast enough to get help. My mouth was dry and my head was spinning. I should have drank water earlier when told to. I had to fight every second to keep my thoughts captive. I wanted to fall down in tears afraid of defeat. Every step in front of the other was one step closer to help. I couldn't stop. Every second was precious. I talked to myself out loud every step. Keep going. Don't give up. Josh needs you. Josh would do this for you. Don't let him down. God is with you. The path started it's sharp incline up. I let my pace slow a bit, but I could not stop. "God, I can't do this alone. Please carry me." He must have because I kept going. My mouth was so dry it was hard to talk. "Lord, I am sorry I didn't drink water. Please, can you give me water?" He did. Within a few minutes I came across a stream we had passed on the way down and I had remarked it looked clear enough to drink. I reached in for three quick handfuls and kept going. It was just enough. My head started to clear and my mouth no longer dry. I came to the second incline of the trail. Going up I would go slow and going down I would quicken the pace. I grabbed the side of the hill and stopped. 10 seconds and then I could move again. I counted quickly to 9 and moved. There wasn't time to waist. I kept trying to get reception. A few times the phone would ring and I would hear "911 what is your emergency?' They couldn't hear me. The connection was lost. Again and again I tried. Nothing. I was so afraid. So scared. Vulnerable. Alone. But I wasn't alone. God was there. His voice of truth calling me onward. Josh's face in my mind pushing me forward. Hebrews 12:1 " let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I was clinging to God's word, His truth, slamming the door of doubt, fear, and despair. There must be a chance. There is still hope. I kept waiting to hear a familiar voice behind me yelling that they got him and that he was okay. It didn't come. I had a race to run. I had to keep going. I had to throw away everything that hinders. Only by God's grace. This was my race to run. I had to do it. There may have been someone better at it than me. I was so out of shape. Yet, God had given me this task. I have heard this verse so many times. I never ever even began to understand. Others depended on me finishing the race. I had to persevere. It wasn't just me on the line. It was those I cared about and others I didn't know. It could be Josh's life. I saw the bridge. Finally...I was almost there. The connection kept taunting me as it would connect enough to hear a voice and then be lost before they could hear me. I unlocked the car. Got in. Looked for emergency lights and then realized time was wasting. I was off. Driving quickly and then aware of the dangers of the corners. I couldn't risk others for my goal. I drove as quickly as I could while trying to be wise and safe. Looking for reception. Looking for a person at a home who might have a phone. Nothing. It seemed forever and then I saw it. The gal running the ranger station walking into the building. I left the car parked in a place that was not a parking spot and ran. She called 911 and they told me they had gotten my calls and were trying to find me through my cell phone. They asked me many questions. I needed help now. The gal brought me a chair and I sat. Answering questions, giving details. Telling our story. I needed to let people know what was happening. The Eddy's. How as I going to tell them? What was I going to tell them? What if in driving away I had missed our group catching up and telling me Josh was okay. The 911 gal told me to wait. We needed more details and facts she said. We needed prayer. Who could I ask. I was alone. John Sleadd. He would no what to do. I didn't think I had his number. Aaron. Maybe he was with his dad. I needed help. I called...Aaron's happy chipper voice answered. He had tried calling me on our way to the entrance to the falls and I had lost reception. I tried to hold myself together while telling him that we needed prayer for Josh. I wish now I wasn't afraid of asking for help. Help for others I could ask for. Help for me. That was another story. He told me he would pray and the call was ended. I was going to call Stephen's dad, my parents, but the police man came and I had to get back to action. I tried to stand and grabbed the counter. My legs could hardly hold me up. I must move. I needed to move the car to be out of peoples way and couldn't find reverse from neutral. Finally the car was moved and the police man gave me a ride to the boat ramp. They were going to send people down to help. Then I had to wait. Be still. There was nothing I could do. I still had no cell reception. My part of the race had been run. Had I failed. Was I not good enough. There is more to this day, but this part has me thinking. What is my race? What is my goal? I thought that was my race. Getting help for Josh and those I loved. It was only a small part of the race that God has set before me. How many times have I stopped running the race to look back at the past, to consider a future without moving forward, to look at the present and think I could take a breather because how much could it really hurt to stop for just a bit. Every second counts. Every breath. Sometimes I moved fast, I ran, I speed walked, and sometimes I could barely put one foot in front of the other. Yet, I kept going. I stopped for 9 seconds. Should I have? I don't know. I did. Should I do it again? I don't know. It gives me something to think about. To ponder. I have a race set before me to serve my all mighty God and to bring glory to His name. Will I run it? Will I persevere? Will I cast off what hinders? If I do anything short of running the race to the end I am not running a race at all, just fooling myself. If I run the race set before me will I end well? Josh died well. Can I? To run a race takes perseverance, discipline, self control, a plan, pacing yourself, the grace of God. The pace will change based on the terrain. If I always sprint how can I finish? If I always walk can I reach the end? Will I take up the race God has set before me? Will I cast off the old self and all that hinders?  Will I take thoughts captive? Will I believe God? Will I be willing to run the race alone? Will I believe that God is always with me and working through others around me therefor I am never alone? Will God be the highest priority and calling in my life? Has He been? I am ashamed to say no. I have far to often put things off and justified my lack of perseverance. The truth is, I am without excuse. I have no answer to bring before my Lord as I reflect on how I have not run the race. God forgive me! I have sinned. I want to say for Josh, but I know rather for the Lord's sake, I want to run the race set before me. Josh was an example as he persevered through trials of life to strive for excellence in God. Lord, for you I was to strive for excellence with all of my being. To truly live for you. For, to not truly live for you is no life at all. Wow....When I started at the beginning of this I had no idea I would end here. God...Thank you for Josh, thank you for taking him home, thank you for letting me know him, and thank you for letting me live through this to see my need for you, and Lord, please let my old self die and today, may I start my life of living fully for you.