Do you remember the parable in the Bible about faith and the mustard seed? My faith story is about wild flower seeds.
When Tristan left for Heaven several friends arrived to help with the details which I am forever grateful for. Your mind shatters when you lose a child. Literally it seems. Into a gazillion tiny fragments. And trying to plan their funeral, well it is almost impossible to even comprehend much less have to do. One friend, Allison, arrived to help with the take-away, like a party favor, for the guests. I must have wanted them to have something of Tristan to take with them, to help carry his story and keep his memory alive. I chose wildflowers. Why? I don't truly remember but possibly because they bring the butterflies. On the third day that he was gone, standing out of our deck, a beautiful blue butterfly stayed with me, and swirled above my head for the longest time. We have some of it on video but it was like a magical moment out of a movie. So I must have wanted to give our friends something that would bring back the butterflies. I vaguely recall that Allison spent a good deal of time locating sunflower seeds but there must have a been a lot more to task as we ended up with small packets of seeds that included a label about Tristan. After it was all over I found extra packets and a large bag of seeds as well as these Subaru packets containing seeds. To this day I still don't know how all these items came to be but they have been a cherished lasting gift to me.
One of the synergies to this story is that Tristan, in the last year of his life, wanted a Subaru Outback. He begged, repeatedly, for us to let him sell his car and get a Subaru. At the time, he was living in Seattle and it was the popular car to be driving for all of the great outdoor adventures in that part of the country. But I didn't know anything about Subaru's back then and only wondered why he wanted to drive something that looked like a station wagon from back in the day! He and I even test drove a shiny red Subaru eight months before he left. But as he was spiraling in addiction, getting a new vehicle was not an option but this was an ongoing conversation for almost a year as something he really wanted. The spring after he left when I looked at all these seed packets I realized they were sponsored by....yep, Subaru! And there is even a butterfly on the package! So back to the seeds and faith. Now I realize that some of our neighbors might have been unhappy about this, but a very kind man who tends the flowerbeds at the entry to our neighborhood, offered to plant these left-over wildflower seeds in one of the beds. And they are really beautiful when they first bloom! And I was so happy to see them that first spring and grateful for his kindness to honor Tristan. Of course, as is the nature of wildflowers, they tend to get unruly, and the deer love to trample them and eat at them, so it is hard to keep that bed looking fresh as the summer wears on. And then winter comes, the flowers disappear and the bed goes dormant. It's just a brown plot of earth with no vibrancy, no sign of life. And every winter I look at that plot and think about Tristan and how there is no longer that life, that vibrancy here in this world. He is gone just like the flowers are gone. But then it occurs to me, the flowers aren't truly gone, they are there and I just cannot see them. And it reminds me, Tristan isn't truly gone, he is there and I just cannot see him. A soul doesn't just disappear when the earthly body ceases to exist. God promised us life eternal in His heavenly kingdom and I have to remember my faith in Him and take comfort in the knowing that Tristan is there and that just because I cannot see him now doesn't mean that I won't ever see him again. Every time I look at that plot of earth where the wildflowers grow my faith is renewed, whether it is spring and they are raised up in vibrant, glorious colors or it is winter and there is no sign that they exist. These wildflowers sustain me and I am forever grateful, for Allison for getting them for us and to Mark for planting them. Sometimes it really does only take something the size of a tiny seed to plant BIG, LIFE CHANGING FAITH that can sustain and transform us. The butterflies, the Subaru and the wildflowers. As the saying goes, time to 'have a little faith' and carry on in the knowing that one day all will be restored.