This is not goodbye, Ron!

Last night I took one of my all time favorite photos. It’s this one.

Ron and Preston

Ron and Preston

Sure, these are both handsome fellas. The one on the right is my older son, Preston. The one on the left is, Ron, the youth leader from our church in Bend. He and his family are moving to Portland where they have been given the opportunity to grow and reach more people. They will take their ripples to a larger pond and I know they will build an amazing life there. It does make me sad to see both Ron and his wife, Erin leave our church. Never have I seen two people with easier smiles, open hearts and radical acceptance of everyone. To fully understand the magnitude of the above photo, let me back up.

As some of you may know, if you’d read earlier blog posts, Preston experienced an emotional crisis in October of 2013. He had a major depressive episode with suicidal thoughts. A mix of genetics, environmental and situational pressures are likely what let to him feeling so hopeless. He was hospitalized at our local, small hospital. I winged it. One of the most important things I did during that stay was to call our church and get in touch with Pastor Chris, our main pastor, and Pastor Ron. They are both affable men with different interests and speaking styles. They compliment each other and are incredible people. During Preston’s hospitalization he was on a one-to-one hold in the peds unit. That is, a CNA sat at his door with eyes on him the entire time, unless he had to go to the bathroom. I spent a great deal of time with Preston while he was there. Sleeping at the hospital so he wouldn’t be alone and so I could complete his paperwork if a bed in Portland became available. I was stressed, to say the least. I had chosen to limit Preston’s visitors so that he encountered those who would be supportive and not say the wrong thing. This met his parents and the the pastoral staff who both have experience with depressed people. I’d met Ron before I rallied him to Preston’s cause and thought highly of him. My own social anxiety makes it difficult to initiate relationships with people, even platonic church friendships, so I hadn’t spend much time talking to him. However, I knew he was an answer to my prayers that week. From this man I felt no judgement. He didn’t assume that I had done something to Preston to lead to his hospitalization. After visiting with him in the little lobby on the 5th floor, I knew he was on Preston’s team. I’ve always been cautious about allowing adults direct, unsupervised access to my children. (Yes, I’m paranoid from too many years of TV and books.) I felt completely confident about letting Ron venture into Preston’s room, and sit with him, offer counsel or just hang out. I am proud of Preston for not shutting Ron out. He didn’t pour his heart out to Ron, but over a few rounds of Blokus, a quiet trust began to form. Due to the geographical constraints of where we live, there aren’t nearly as many people in Preston’s village as there could have been. In Ron, quality has made up for quantity. As a mother, to know that Preston has an another God-loving man in his life to lean on, I feel peace. It doesn’t hurt that Ron had ink, great fashion, and loves music. 🙂

We didn’t do a good job of taking advantage of all Ron had to offer while he lived here. Our schedule never quite worked out for the Bend Youth Collective, which I regret. Both Preston and I intend, however, for Preston to get to continue to be mentored by Ron while Ron is living in Portland. Preston spends a fair amount of time there while he visits his dad. None of us are willing to let the distance get in the way of a warm friendship that started in a stark hospital room, in the darkest days of a beautiful life.

As I write this post, I’m listening to my favorite song about goodbye. It’s by the Sidewalk Prophets called “This Is Not Goodbye.” The lyrics are as follows.

I can see it in your eyes that you are restless
The time has come for you to leave
It’s so hard to let you go but in this life I know
You have to be who you were made to be

As you step out on the road I’ll say a prayer
So that in my heart you always will be there

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
So let your life begin
‘Cause this is not goodbye
It’s just “I love you” to take with you
Until you’re home again

The stirring in your soul has left you wondering
Should you stay or turn around
Well, just remember that your dreams they are a promise
That you were made to change the world
So don’t let fear stop you now ‘cause

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
So let your life begin
‘Cause this is not goodbye
It’s just “I love you” to take with you
Until you’re home again

I know the brightest star above
Was created by the One who loved
More than we’ll ever know
To guide you when you’re lost

What started as a still, small voice
Is raging now and your only choice
Is to follow who you are
So follow who you are ‘cause

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
Oh

This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
So let your life begin
‘Cause this is not goodbye
It’s just “I love you” to take with you
Until you’re home again

Dear Lord, Thank you for bringing Ron into our lives at just the right moment. Please remind him of all the amazing work he has done, if he ever has doubts. We will continue to lift him up as he does your work with his hands. Keep him safe. I know that you have plans for him, to prosper and to have a hope and a future. Amen.

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About reinventingrebecca

Human, Christian, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Reunited Adoptee, Sister, Friend. I love all people. I've lived lots in my 35 years and all of it has made me who I am, and who I choose not to be. View all posts by reinventingrebecca

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