“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1
There are a lot of stories surrounding the death of our daughter. One of them is that during the last week of her life, I thought I had been given a glimpse that I was going to die. I felt it, and I prepared for it. I was honestly at peace with it. I spent much of that week telling my family everything you would want to say to them if you were on the way out of this life, although I said to none of them why I was doing it. It turns out I misinterpreted God. One of us was leaving, and I wish it had been me instead of her.
Looking back now, however, it has given me peace. I know when Jordyn died, she knew how I felt. That was due to a well-developed relationship before that week, but I am thankful I said it out loud. On my heart this week is the question – does my wife now know how I feel? Do my kids know how amazing I think they are? I tell them I love them, and I believe that I show them. Is it working? Do they know? I hope they know how much I love them.
I think that men get into the thought process that if we do enough things, they will know. Acts of service may be the primary way I speak to them, but what is the primary way they perceive that they are loved? Nothing I do or say means anything unless the love is felt. I would be a clanging gong. Think of that image – loud, annoying, meaningless, and frustrating. I do not want that.
I see my wife. Every day I look at her and study. Pain in her hip? Watch her face when she stands up. Tired because Korbin didn’t sleep last night? Rub her feet. Is she standing in that spot in the kitchen? If so, she is thinking, but what’s on her mind? Is the light on in her eyes, or has something shaded it out today? She is beautiful. I think that more now than I did the day we met. I appreciate her. I do not have a word large enough to tell her that every day since that day in 1988, she is the best thing in my life. Everything relevant or meaningful has been since she walked in.
Then she one-upped me. She made me a father. Three times. The joy, the laughter, the dancing, the noise, and all those words have filled our house. And all of the silence. I have seen Jordyn feel like she could take over the world, and as far as her world, she did. I have witnessed Korbin interpret the world like no one else. He is a rare human being. I have seen Aly take in both, catch her breath and spin out a work of art that I could not have fathomed. I have seen many people give up over far less than what she has experienced. She has gone past all levels of joy I ever thought existed.
I am a Claiborn, so I may not always look happy. Party face, sad face – same thing. But I am a blessed man. The lens through which I look at life goes right through them. I go to work, but it’s because I want to provide, not conquer. I want to be an excellent spiritual head. I want to aim straight at Jesus so I can love in a way that points to Him. Thank you for making my life beautiful.
Author: Rick Claiborn