The days that followed our July 4th, 2012 were nothing but a blur for me. Noah's room was carefully packed up and stored away for me to go through when I was ready. That time still hasn't fully come for me but I think it will. Someone had the forethought to put some of his most used and important items in a box and stored it in my attic for more immediate access. His glasses, his toothbrush, legos and bracelets were a few of the things put in this box and one of his most treasured recently acquired items. A fire starter kit.
Noah was all boy. He loved rough housing, could live outdoors if I let him and would have probably never took a shower unless I made him and…he embraced the idea of learning to navigate the great outdoors even if it was just his own backyard.
So when Pastor Tim, our children's pastor, told the boys at church their reward for working their way through their AWANA book was a boys' campout AND a fire starter kit Noah was bound and determined to learn that last verse (even if he was still trying to memorize and recite verses on the way to the campout.)
Well he earned it and everyday I would look out and he was trying to start a fire. I quickly learned what a big deal this was to a 10 year old boy. Every time I did a load of clothes he had me saving lint from the dryer. According to Noah the lint made the fire easier to start. I wondered where he got that idea but discovered he was actually right. (Many times I wanted to ask him where the lint would come from if he found himself trying to survive in the middle of the wilderness but I decided not to spoil his fun.) He loved it so much we even built him a fire pit so he could start fires a little more safely and I wouldn't fear my house would be object of his new found skill.
So last fall when I came across the fire starter kit it had been suggested to me to give it back to Pastor Tim because of how very special it was to Noah and it was because of him that Noah got to feel like he was a true survivor man. Fire starter kit and all.
Well time passed and the fire starter kit set. I walked past it many times and thought next week I would give it to Pastor Tim. But I couldn't figure out how I wanted to give to him. What I wanted to put it in. Did I want to write a long letter thanking him for being the only children's pastor my kids knew. The one who led their father and me in baby dedications, the one who baptized them.
I just wanted it to be the right time and in the right way with the right words. Besides family and my best friend Tim is the only person who can say they came to the hospital the day Noah entered this world and...came to the hospital the day Noah left this world.
So we thought and thought…and decided simplicity was the best.
We engraved the box with Noah's initials and wrapped it in one of his drawings, framed my favorite two picture of the two of them and adorned it with an ornament with one of Tim's and Noah's
"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Noah wrote that verse in full just a few weeks before he died.
Thank you, Pastor Tim, for leading him to believing in this verse. And behind him so many serve to help make our preschool and children's ministry what it is. I am beyond humbled at the numerous volunteers that are constantly and consistently giving of their time. I know it gets tiring. I know it seems thankless. I know it can seem tedious.
But trust me. It's not in vain.
It helps this mom sleep at night.
So. What did Pastor Tim think of this gift you ask?
It was no doubt special to him and we exchanged stories of Noah. Like the time Noah threw a piece of ice and hit Tim square in the forehead (picture the most dramatic David and Goliath moment.) As Tim rose up with blood on his face Noah turned around and looked at me like, "I've killed Pastor Tim!" Or the time Noah was much younger and ran up and hugged him and told him he loved him. And who could forget about the day of his baptism and him asking Pastor Tim if, instead of walking down into the water, he could "do a cannonball" into the water. Pastor Tim also clarified with me it was him who told him about the lint. No wonder Noah was so adamant about using lint. It came with the highest of recommendations - Pastor Tim's.
Special moments, special friends and, oh, so special memories.
Death can not take that away from us.