Monday, October 20, 2008

Every Hill Has a Bottom

Greetings to all! This past weekend we had a great family weekend! Friday night Ali and I got to go on a date night and then Saturday we participated in “Family Adventure Day” to raise money for the Healing House, which is the place that we asked people to donate instead of sending flowers to Cate’s funeral, there are pictures of the day at www.flickr.com/photos/cantrellkids . Friday was the first date night since the huge falling out that Ali and I had two weeks ago. I gave my spiritual director this analogy today over lunch to describe the time that our family finds itself in right now. Have you ever watched little kids run down a steep hill? It’s funny because at first they are in control but the further they get down the hill and the more they pick up speed the more they loose all control of their little bodies. They eventually can no longer maintain their balance and what do they do? Fall, and then they continue to roll down the hill until they reach the bottom. Well, I believe this is exactly what has happened to our little family over the past four months. After Cate died we started running down this hill of grief and at first we could “control” it, but the further and further we got down the hill and the more and more speed we picked up and the more out of control we got until eventually, we fell. It was probably about three to four weeks ago that we fell and two weeks ago that we reached the bottom of the hill. Now for the past two weeks I truly feel like we have begun the ascent uphill and we are doing it together, all of us even the kids. They have been putting into words their feelings about their sister in ways that they have not over the past four months. Are we out of the woods, no not in the least bit, but I do feel like we have at least started walking back up the hill and we both know that it is because there are a lot a prayers heading our way from all of you faithful sojourners on this road in which we travel.

Now on to the reason I blog tonight. This weekend I did what any good South Louisiana native does in the fall, watched the LSU Fighting Tigers football game. Saturday afternoon a friend of mine called and said that he was going over to another buddy of ours to watch the game and wanted to see if I wanted to join them. The friend that we were going to watch the game at just had his first child a few months back, a beautiful baby girl. Long before Cate went to have her surgery Ali offered his wife all of Cate’s clothes that she did not fit into anymore. His wife was so delighted and I remember that she washed, folded, and had them all put away months before their daughter was born. We were glad that the clothes were going to be put to good use and that the person who got them was so very grateful for them. Well, after Cate died there was one particular night gown that Ali wanted to keep, so she called his wife and asked if she would mind giving that one night gown back, of course she completely understood and offered everything back. Ali insisted that she keep the rest, it was just this one little night gown of Cate’s that was very sentimental to her.

The other night before I left to watch the game Ali asked me if I would not mind picking the nightgown up while I was there. When I got over to their house I asked him if he knew where that nightgown was because Ali had asked me to pick it up. He called his wife and found out where it was, but did not bring it outside right away. We then proceeded to hoop and holar as we watched the Tigers play ball and after the game when the night was winding down he brought out a plastic grocery bag and gave it to me. Not remembering that I had asked him for the nightgown earlier in the night I opened the bag and saw my little girls clothes in it and it tugged hard at my heart. If you remember from the last blog, it is the “missing” that can sneak up on you. In that moment I realized that I had no one to bring those clothes home to that would wear them. I said to my friends, “wow, that’s kind of weird you know, those are Cate’s clothes, but I don’t have Cate to wear them. His eyes welled with tears and he quickly turned his back and looked at the sky, the field, whatever he could to not make eye contact with me. I said, hey bro, what’s up, are you ok? At first he would not turn around so, I said it again, hey man, what’s going on? He said, “I realized that as I handed you that bag, that you don’t have a daughter to take those home to. He went on to apologize for crying and said that he has never wanted to breakdown in front of me, that I had enough to deal with and that I did not need him crying in front of me adding to what I was already feeling.

He is a former football jock and was quite the head cracker in his high school football days. I asked him, “When you played ball in high school did you have one guy that you loved playing football with?” He responded yes with a smile and named his teammate by name. I said those plays when he got hurt were you worried about him, was there a part of you that hurt cause he was not out there playing with you? He responded with a smile, yeah. How do you think that made him feel, that you loved playing with him that much and that you cared about him that much? I said, I bet it made him feel pretty dang special to you. Well, brother your tears don’t add to my grief they lighten it in some way, because they show me that you love me, my family, and my daughter. I don’t want you to feel like you have to hold them back anymore around me.

As I sat on my back steps tonight reflecting on that conversation the scripture that came to my heart was Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who Rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” This in a nutshell is what it means to be a community, this is what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ. There are times that we will all rejoice together, and there are times that we will all weep together. Ever noticed that kids often run down hills with other kids? When one of them falls it is like dominos, they just start taking each other out, rolling down the hill together. When they get to the bottom, they ALL get back up and starting running back up the hill to do it all over again. We have some amazing brothers and sisters in our life who have run down this hill with us and are going to run back up with us and for that we are eternally grateful! Thank you, to all of you who are still with us and as we hopefully and hope-filled begin the walk back up this hill, hold our hands and laugh with us, hold our hands and cry with us knowing that one day we will all be back on top of the hill! Much Love, The Cantrells

22 comments:

BreezieGirl said...

I haven't commented in awhile, but thought it was important to share that I am thinking of your family and praying for your healing.

Sara Susy Bob said...

so very beautiful Charlie. I love your visual imagery in each of your posts. This morning, tears stream down my face as I rejoice in the gift of community and closely connected souls united with Christ can share so much with one another. We still pray for you guys and I check your blog daily for updates. Thanks for providing inspiration!

Marin said...

What an awesome image---we are still continuing to pray for you guys. Thanks for continuing to write--you are an inspiration to all who read it.
Love, Kyle, Marin and Kaylin

Lila Lambert said...

Sharing this journey of grief with you and your family....listen to you try to live your lives with shattered hearts and broken dreams....just praying for all of you each day and speaking to God and to Cate on your behalf has opened my heart, even more, to the spiritual side of us and the importance of "working out" spiritually. We hear so much about working out at the gym or mentally expanding our knowledge, but the spiritual "work out" is where our eternity counts....Still praying and fusing our spirits to lift us all to Him...

Anonymous said...

Awesome blog.........I miss ya'll :) I love your symbolism; it always opens my mind. Always thinking & praying about ya'll.

Crystal said...

Charlie one day you and your family will look back at that hill and slowly walk back up. Maybe not yet, but you will get there. I hope your heart heals and I will continue to pray.

God Bless
Crystal Judice

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting so soon ~ Hoping that Ali will write soon. Have a blessed week~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that after all this time of reading your blogs you still find a way to make me cry and crack up at the same time! Although my family is in Co. we are right there with you starting the climb up and when you slip we'll be helping you up again in prayer! But the offer is still there that if you need something else, let us know!

Thanks Charlie! I am still so touched by honored to be a part of your journey!
Love in Christ,
Teresa Clark

ali said...

Wow, Charlie. This is beautiful. Praise God for friends and for healing. I am so thankful that you guys are where you are. Thank you for sharing.

Still with ya.

Angela said...

Charlie,
Who knew way back in highschool that you had this gift of writing. I knew that you had a gift to reach people through your humor and personality, but I am truly amazed every time you write a blog. You give me inspiration to be a better mom and wife as well as bring tears to my eyes. Thank you. I am still praying for ya'll and thinking of you and Ali and Cate everytime I see a beautiful butterfly(which I seem to be seeing often these days). I pray for a steady climb up the hill. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers today and everyday. Angela Carroll McDavid

Sharon-shutterbug said...

Well, I'm definitely one of those who is crying with you. especially after reading this beautiful story. May you continue to be surrounded by brothers and sisters in the flesh who will walk that mountain with you, as we your "cyber-family" walk little bits of it with you and pray you up it as we are able.
Pray for us, Saint Cate!

Blanche said...

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you guys!!


**check out cute Ella on my mom's blog!! She is a DOLL!!

volpecircus said...

Charlie. Just wanted to let you know that our family is still here praying every day for you and reading the blog with tears in our eyes. All of the moms in our homeschool group ask me every time we meet how you guys are doing and if there is anything in particular they can pray for. Thank you for continuing to share your path with us. May Our Lord hold all of you in the palm of His hand and pull you ever closer to Him.
In Christ's Love, The Volpes

maureen said...

Wow charlie... this was quite a powerful sharing... thanks so much for continuing to share. we love you and are praying.

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,
I have not blogged in a really long time, but I am still here sharing this journey of grief and hope with you guys....I am still praying everyday and your family remains an inspiration to me...thanks for continuing to open your hearts and minds...your words are beautiful!!!!
Remaining with you....
Love,
Breyan and family

Anonymous said...

What an amazing story. Thank you for continuing to share you journey with us. You journey gives me the constant push I need to be slow down and be more patient with my own children, to foster my relationships with family and friends, and to take time to spend with the Lord. I continue to pray for you and your family and cry tears of sadness with you and also a small bit of joy that you have such amazing family and friends around you during this time.

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,
I know you have not heard from me in awhile. My computer is out of commission. Even though I do not write as often, y'all are still in my thoughts and prayers. Glad to hear that y'all are getting help to deal with the grief. I have prayed for that. I love the way you compare life to just about anything. What an amazing gift. God bless you.
Jolene

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali...I love you both.
Jane

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! I've wrote you several times and I don't know you personally but you have all touched me life. First of all Charlie you are an amazing writer, just the way you describe things is amazing. I just wanted to tell you that after your last blog, I felt really down for you. I cried and just held my boys a little tighter. I just thought of your family and all your trying to go through and it made me really sad all morning. Here it is the middle of October in Colorado and this butterfly lands right in front of me. My husband goes look at that it's like the butterfly was drawn to you. I thought of Cate instantly and then strangely the rest of the day butterflies kept flying right in front of me on our walk in the car. She is with you guys I know it! I have been drawn to this baby and this story from the begining and she has moved my life. And I pray for you and your beautiful family and I feel terrible that you are having to deal with this pain. I am so sorry. You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Julie Martin

Anonymous said...

Ali & Charlie,
I think of you and sweet Cate all the time. I pray for you both and Ella & Dude as well. You all have become so precious to me....I want you to know that you are thought of daily and being prayed for constantly. Love, Stephanie Johnson

chris, mitch, travis, baby cana said...

hi guys. this is my favorite blog so far....i laughed, i cried...it moved me. :)

i am HONORED to now be called "friend." I am humbled and broken and with you on this broken road..this up and down hill we will travel the rest of our lives.

I am thankful. I am so thankful.

missing them with you.
c.

Claire said...

Just want you to know I think of you everyday and pray for you everyday, miss yall everyday and wish i could babysit more!
Though it's only Tuesday this has been a CRAZY week and will only get crazier before it settles down (I'm SURE yall know the feeling)...I was walking to the cafeteria tonight to meet some friends for some (not-so-tasty) dinner and just thinking about how crazy everything has been and how I just felt so unsettled, so behind, so stressed...and all of a sudden matt redman's "Never Let Go" started playing out of nowhere...apparently somewhere in the union there was a little praise and worship session going on and the music was literally flooding the whole building...I just stopped for a minute, sat on a bench and listened to the beautiful music, not even knowing exactly where it was coming from...immediately pictured Cate's sweet little face and thought about her and yall and was immediately filled with the most peaceful feeling I've felt in a long time...I truly felt warmed by both Cate and God's presence. Even the cafeteria food seemed to not taste so bad after that...and that says a lot :-)
Just wanted to share that little story of how Cate is continuing to affect my everyday life...and thank you and Ali again for sharing your daughter, your journey, and your love of God with me...it is truly a blessing.
Love you and hope to see you soon!
Claire