My Hopeful Heart

by Dale Jordan Heath

It will soon be seven years since that fateful night in 2009 on March 6th. My life has seemed much longer as I have wished for it to go fast forward as fast as it can. Since I truly believe I will be united with Brandon in Heaven then it is easy to understand my impatience. I wish to be where the sun hangs in the heavens because I know behind its burning light is where my son exists. I wish to be behind the moon that seems like a peep hole in the midnight sky where I know my son dances and sings with angels. The sky is vast and so much brighter after a storm has come and the ones we experienced last night. Today the winds are biting with the last breath of winter and has battered the limbs of the oaks and pecans. The sun has not yet soaked up the chill. These are the last vestiges of a season that will introduce spring.
And so time marches on…. I know that God has planned each season with purpose. I know that poets and writers, philosophers and artists, too, have overused the metaphor of seasons to illustrate change. So much has changed in twenty-eight seasons. I am in my sixty second year..two hundred and forty-eight seasons. I like how that sounds….much older…closer to Heaven.

I have grown tired of life without my son. I seemed to have aged at a very fast pace but at the same time, it seems like it is all in slow motion. Like the seasons, like my face, grief changes in a continual loop. And while I can be assured of what follows winter, I do not know what phase of grief will come next. I have been through all of them in the course of these past seven years. Time has been my friend and time has been my adversary.

While some women my age worry about wrinkles and aging, counterproductive to beauty creams. I pray the serenity prayer, asking God to help me accept those things I cannot change like aging  and death. Jesus asked, “Does worrying add one more day to your life?” And I say, we know it will add more lines.

I look at photos of my son’s beautiful face that was stopped in mid sentence…..without reason…without warning. Never to know a wrinkle or the ravages of time. So much I want him to know. So much I want to ask him. So much he could tell me and he will one day.

My own mother has dementia and has no memory of the last moment. She lives in her own seasonal cycle. Perhaps it’s a blessing that she is not aware of the time that she forgets… that one of her grandchildren has gone on ahead of her to the Heaven she will see one day. She has quit asking about him now. It scares me that I may also forget about my  very own son if I live as long as she has lived.

And this day..this minute reminds me of Jesus’ suffering. His cruel suffering was for the world while mine is a selfish suffering not meant to save anyone. And I have the nerve to ask for it to stop while He selflessly said, “not my will but Thine.”

Hope. It is the Hope that was so graciously given by Jesus Christ on the cross. This is the season of Lent. It is the forty days leading up to the crucifixion and the resurrection. My son died in this season that is all about the Hope of Life eternal. Resurrection. God’s Son died and rose again so I could be with Him and with my family again because we are believers who are forgiven. Anyone can come to Christ and have this very same Hope.

In my garden, Brandon’s Garden, there are Easter lilies already piercing the cold hard ground. The green stalks of foliage have weeks to go before they make their “appointed time of birth” …designed with a purpose by God. They will bloom and thrive for a while and then when it is time they will turn brown and die back until this time next year when the cycle begins again.

I see the pattern of life and death and the suffering in between. I feel the uneasy guilt I have put upon myself for wanting to hurry through to the “finish line.” I want to be transformed. I want to dance and sing with the angels and Jesus like I know so many are doing this minute…this season….like my Brandon.

…..Until my hopeful heart will beat no more, the cycle of grief continues.




      • I am overflowing with emotion. I love this version of the song. It is now my new favorite. This child has an angelic voice with such control for a seven year old. Thank you so much, Paul, for sending this to me today. I send you much love and hugs!!


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