Where is Will?

Where is Will?  Not as in, “Is he in heaven?,” “Is he standing before Jesus?,” “Is he in Paradise?,” “Is he nowhere?,” or “Is he just in the ground?”

But that’s not my question anyways.  My question comes from everyday as in when I was at home for Christmas… Where is Will?…  When I need advice on relationships… Where is Will… When I’m starting a new venture and need his input and creativity… Where is Will?… When I want to talk to someone who I know will understand and listen….. Where is Will?… When something exciting happens and I want to share it with someone I know who has been through the same trials… Where is Will?

Where is he?  Seriously.  Where?  Why?  Why did God decide to take him?

Not to put a play on words, but it has caused me in some ways to lose my will.  To lose the hope I once saw with.  The joy I would find in this life.  I see with new eyes.  And they lack the hope they once had.  They lack the joy they once had.  They see disease.  They see heartache.  They see pain.  They see families dreading the holiday season.  Dreading Christmas, dreading birthdays.  And they wonder why the world is filled with so much pain.

I see people fighting to survive, fighting to stay here on the earth longer and I go… “Why?” “What are you trying to live for?”  It pains me to see others go through so much pain to try to survive… and for what?  I’ve seen the fight first hand.  And it was brutal.  And it won.  And since the cancer won, it took more than Will from us, it took much of our own resolve, our joy, our hope for beauty in the here and now.  And it causes me to question why others fight to have a few more years on this earth.  Because to me, the earth lost its joy.  But for many there is plenty to fight for….  There are spouses, children, families and loved ones.

It’s so strange feeling this way when – I mean, no one maybe in the history of life fought harder for life than Will did.  And he did so for you.  For Angie, for his loved ones, for those God had put in his path to bring hope to.

But now that we’ve lost Will, rather than it being inspiring it makes life seem not that important.

I’m reminded of when Jesus died.  The disciples simply went back to fishing.  And then Jesus comes back and they start the greatest revolution ever known to man.  That’s really cool.  And I’m really glad Jesus came back to give us a little more direction and a lot more hope.  Sadly, Will’s not coming back.  And with so many questions, there’s only one guy I want to find so I can ask him, so… “Where’s Will?”

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My Process: Part II

I didn’t realize what happened when Will passed.  I’m not sure if it was because I had been living close to his death for so long or what…

But those times of us fighting for Will’s life were sweet.  Meeting new people, making new friends.  Crying out to God, trusting Him from the depths of my soul.  Cherishing moments, every moment, with Will, with Angie, with family and friends.

When Will passed, some of those moments were still there.  The community was there.  The family was there.  Will’s music and testimony were there.

Will’s legacy and creativity created a longing in me to never lose a moment, to create all that I could.

And the result of all of those feelings has led to…

…just about nothing.

Instead of being inspired, I have in turn, lost all motivation.

I discipline myself to get through life.

When Will passed, I listened to his music everyday, all day.  Now, I can’t listen to his music anymore, it hurts too much.

Even after he passed, I would make sure to read at least a chapter of my Bible daily.  Now, I am lucky to get through a few verses each day.

And it’s not even because I don’t want to.  It’s because I don’t care.

For a moment, I was inspired to dream.  Now, my dreams are waning.

One thing that it has created is that it has given me a greater compassion for others.  Others who are hurting.  Others who have lost.

I don’t help others when they are in pain anymore.

I join them in their pain.

I still go to church but I’m pretty neutral towards it.  Worship is often the hardest.  Recently, I really just didn’t want to be there, so I stepped outside and started walking.  I decided to walk to Target, why not.  I found a homeless lady outside.  “What’s your name?” I said.  I let her know I would be back later that evening and every week after.  “What could you use?”  “I have peanut butter, I could use some jelly… and some dog food for Angel.”

I used to look down on people with nothing who used resources for pets.  But Angel was her best friend.  Angel stands by her, stands with her.  Something I’ve never done.

I was leaving Fred Meyer when a disheveled man came racing to my car.  He rambled a bit and asked for money for a bus ride.  “Do you just want a ride?” I said.  Some people think scary people like that should be avoided – maybe they will shoot you or steal your car but… I don’t really care anymore, I’d rather just have compassion for him.  He did indeed just want money though.  So I gave him all the money I had in my wallet.  “Hold on, I have some change in the car, you can have that too.”  I mean seriously, I don’t care.  He might buy alcohol or something, but at least that may alleviate some pain in his life rather than dollar bills burning a hole in my pocket.

I went back to my car and started to take off when I saw a man going through the garbage looking for bottles.  I turned around and dropped my bottles in his cart.

I’d still say I’m mad at God.  I don’t care to spend much time with Him.  My motivation for life is sincerely lacking.  But, I can definitely join others in their pain now rather than handing out Bible verses.

I see people hurting everywhere now.  Maybe I just couldn’t see before.  Or maybe I actually respond to those I see now.

I’ve lost a lot of hope in this world and what it has to offer.

And that sucks.  I want to have hope in this world.  I want to believe I can accomplish things here.  But everything seems so insignificant.  I want to dream.  To pursue relationships.  A family.  A career…. But I just don’t know anymore…

I’ve certainly lost hope in this world.  But maybe that’s a good thing.

Love, like, really really Love

I haven’t written for awhile because sometimes in life, nothing else matters.

I’ve written a couple of times about my sister and brother-in-law (Valentine’s Lovers) (Real Life Superheroes) and although it’s been a reality this whole time, you never expect it to come to this – desperate, literally, desperate for a miracle.  Will was given 1-3 weeks to live but he’s made it 6 weeks now.  Each day he is with us is a miracle and we pray for many more.

I have continued to be amazed by watching Will and Angie (Pray for Will & Angie – incredible video).  There is something so powerful about two people who love each other.  Like, really really love.  Like, not the movie-type or what you read in novels or what maybe you have when everything’s clicking and she’s cute and he’s hot and… no, not like that but like love.  Like in sickness and in health.  Like for better and for worse.  Like for richer and for poorer.  Like when part of one’s face is removed and their frame has gone frail and they can’t get out of bed.  Like when someone has cancer throughout their body and can’t eat and can barely speak or stay awake.  Like when one has lost their hair and is in constant pain.  From this day forward till death do us part.  Yeah, that kind.  …and what is so special about this love is that it is not love because “we made a vow.”  It’s love because, in Angie’s words, “I just love him so much.”  In one of her blogs (Living Each Day), she writes,“ Can I go to sleep, or should I stay up to watch him?  Will he wake up in the morning?  And every morning, from the moment my eyes open, I hold my breath until I see him take one.” To see one sacrifice her own life, to lay it down not just in words but in sleeping next to him for 5 months whether that be in a small hospital bed, on the corner of his bed at home, in an L shape or U shape at his feet– wherever she fits.  “I just want to be close to him if anything happens.”

You know, those kind of vows.  The kind of love people give up on when things get tough.  That kind of love.  The kind that isn’t in movies or in a book because it simply can’t be manufactured.  It’s powerful.  It’s beautiful.

I’ve never seen someone endure the kind of pain that Will endures each day.  Cancer in the lungs.  A tumor on his spine.  Cancer in his bones.  Cancer in his pelvis.  Cancer in his lymphs.  Tumor on his sternum.  G-tube in his stomach.  Eye removed.  Part of jaw removed.  Discolored skin.  Hopeful to get out of bed once a day.  Albeit in pain and with 3 people helping him to stand so he can get his bed sores cleaned.  And so much more that we simply don’t know because he can’t express it and we can’t see it.

And yet, not once have I heard a stern word towards Angie.  Not once have I heard him complain.  Not once have I heard him make any demands.  Because he doesn’t find his love in comforts but in being comforted by the one he loves.

I know that I want that same love.  I want to love a girl like Will loves Angie and be loved like Angie loves Will.  But I also know that this takes time, oh yes, it took them lots of time to get here.  Lots of time, lots of moments.  Moments that almost broke their marriage, times when they didn’t know they would make it…or if they wanted to make it.  It’s an honest and true love.  Not one that has been dependent on emotions but one that has faced emotions and the not richer, but poorer, and a little health but much sickness, and some better but a lot of worse and here they are.  Loving each other in a way that seems unfathomable.  A way that doesn’t make sense.  Yet, is what we all yearn for.

They weren’t always in love.  They didn’t always know they would be together.  One would chase one while one wasn’t sure.  Then they would exchange roles.  With the other chasing and the other not sure.  It was that kind of love.  Not a fairytale.  Simply love.

I’ve read what love is before but I think I’ve learned what love really is through witnessing Will and Angie’s towards each other.

Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It does not envy.  It does not boast.  It is not proud.  It is not rude.  It is not self-seeking.  It is not easily angered.  It keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil.  Love rejoices in the truth.  It always protects.  It always trusts.  It always hopes.  It always perseveres.

Love never fails.

#goteamgray

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What Love between Real Life Superheroes looks like

I was 17 years old and on the search for a college.  My first official visit – Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.  Both of my sisters went or were attending there so I decided to visit as well.  There was a talent show that night at the school and I heard that a really cool band was playing.  Turns out they were more than cool, they were the most amazing crew I had ever heard and instantly were my favorite band.  One of the guys was tall, played basketball, was the epitome of cool and could beatbox and rap like none other – I told my sister Angie I wanted to meet him so we could be friends.  She said she couldn’t introduce me because she didn’t know him.  I told her to do so anyways.  She refused.

12 years later, that guy is one of my best friends.  And not only that, he’s my brother-in-law.  Will and Angie started dating a year after my failed attempt at being his friend.  I looked up to Will.  He was a role model, a best friend, and a mentor, wrapped up into one person.

Me and my other sister Kelli would get together and figure out how we were going to secure Will as part of our family.  Obviously, we wanted him to marry our sister but we said regardless, we are finding a way for him to be our brother.

A couple of years later, he was our brother.  And the 3 of us siblings became 4.  We live in 3 corners of the states (Oregon, LA, and DC) but we see each other as much as we can.  We aren’t only family.  We are best friends.

Angie and Will’s 8th anniversary is next week on November 27th.  Their marriage is one to admire.  One of extreme faithfulness, commitment, support, and encouragement through incredible highs and lows.  Not only do I love being around them, I learn what a marriage should look like.  I ask Will questions and he answers with wisdom, grace, openness, and experience.

Sometimes, after getting to know someone, the admiration can wear off, the holding someone in high esteem can fade.  But to me, Will hasn’t become less of a role model, he’s become a superhero.  He has his flaws, sure, but if you knew him, I think you’d agree.

Last year at this time, I was in LA to celebrate Thanksgiving with Will and Angie.  Today, I am in LA to see Will and Angie as well.  Unfortunately it’s not under the circumstances I would want.  Will is fighting an aggressive cancer and next week on November 27th, he will be having surgery to remove a rapidly growing tumor.  I thought I would be visiting to spend time with, encourage, talk, and play games with Will and Angie but instead I have come to watch Will live in excruciating pain, observe him as he sits and sleeps in the same chair for 24 hours, and watch my sister cry unanswered prayers as we wonder what the purpose of this is and what the outcome will be.

It’s not a beautiful thing to witness.  But sometimes true beauty can only be seen through the lens of pain.  And the faithfulness, support, encouragement, and undying, self-sacrificing love given by spouse to spouse is something so very painfully beautiful.

We search for a lot of things in a spouse.  A lot of things that come and go.  But in the end, in the times things are difficult, the thing each of us will want most is someone who is still next to them.

Go Team Gray!  I love you.  www.goteamgray.com/about-the-story/