Monday, January 30, 2012

The portrait...

I can see you fly.
You are an angel with wings,
high above the ground.

(traditional haiku)

Recently, I’ve had this self-portrait Sara did in college sitting out where I can see it every day. It’s been on display in my dining room, where I get to look at it several times each day. I found it while sorting through some of her things a few months ago. My first thought was that it was “so Sara.” Most people would look at it and immediately think, or notice, that it’s just “not done.” The parts that are “finished” showcase her exceptional eye for, and use of, color and her attention to detail. It also showcases Sara’s penchant for starting projects…then letting them sit, unfinished, until she was ready to see them finished.

Thematically, it would be easy to say this self-portrait is the perfect analogy of Sara and Miranda’s lives – unfinished portraits, lives cut too short. However, I find I’ve been trying to focus on the portrait as a statement of life from the perspective of my faith. In Psalm 139:16, the Psalmist declares, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (NIV) In the book Through A Season of Grief, Dr. Louis Palau shares, "The Bible clearly teaches that a brief life is not an incomplete life. We have our ideas of how long we should live, but the Bible says that every one of our days was written in God's book before they even happened.” You and I may look at Sara and Miranda’s lives as incomplete portraits…but in God’s eyes, they are exactly as He knew they would be. To be clear, I don’t believe this means their lives were as He planned them to be; only that they were as He knew they would be. To some of you, that may not sound like much of a difference, while to others it may sound like a huge difference; I find myself having to believe that God’s knowledge of their days, and deaths, doesn’t have to align with His plan for their lives. I believe that God planned on Sara and Miranda living full and complete lives. It was the chaos of sin and death that interrupted His plan, stealing them from this earth, and allowing them to enter into His Glory, albeit prematurely. I understand I’m treading in some deep theological waters here, and it’s highly likely that I’m floundering and simply in desperate need of someone to toss me a spiritual life preserver; however, I have to believe…I choose to believe…that the portrait of their lives is “complete.” The painting may appear unfinished, or incomplete, but I feel privileged to have been included in the brush strokes.


  1. Chad, your grasp of the nature of reality as i see it is perfect ... and while it may very well go much deeper, i am actually quite sure it does ... we first must see with clear eye :)

    I am always humbled by this passage from Hebrews 11 verse 1 which says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

    I am equally humbled by your outpouring of love, which is what in my humble opinion, it is all about.

  2. Chad...I side with you in that their lives were complete and meaningful. Only a Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ fully gets that. Ever since my precious Ethan passed away tragically, my walk with the Lord has strengthened in ways I never thought possible. Even though my son was only 7.5 when he left earth to meet Jesus, he impacted more lives than could be thought possible. ALL tragedies are for His glory; it's when we pause and ponder and analyze what has happened, and the goodness that can come from it all...that we can see it. And even so, from what we can see (the good), it's only a tiddle of what God sees. Your Sara and Miranda have impacted many, including myself, and will continue...for His glory! God bless you as you approach the one year of their passing. Chad, I also wanted to give you a compliment and say that I am proud of you, and how far you have come in your grief journey! What you have written is encouraging, and I can just tell that you are healing. Not that you are "over" the grief, because you will never be as long as you are here on earth. But I just get this feeling that you are doing well, and the Lord is so gracious and merciful! Take care.

  3. Amen! Very well-said, Chad.....

  4. You are privileged, indeed, to have been included in the brush strokes! And I would add that you are continuing to paint a beautiful mural for the rest of us to see. Blessings...

  5. Your thoughts are always so inspiring. I think you are right on when you say that it was not in God's plan, but he knew. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  6. My thoughts and prayers have been with you for the past almost 12 months. I can only imagine the pain and loss you feel.

    Looking at the picture Sara drew and painted, i believe it was finished to the point it was suppose to be finished Our lord now has added the final touches to complete the portrait. I am so so sorry for the loss of your beloved Sara and your daughter. I pray that you find peace in your life and know that you have many people who are praying for you across the country.

  7. Hugs!

    Love and prayers,
    Today and always
    Dawn and Crew

  8. Chad~ I believe that God has a design...a specific plan, for each of us. As the day approaches...the one year passing of Sara and Miranda, may you feel {God's Peace}. The Artist is holding your dear one's close. Imagine what He has designed for them and each of us, in Heaven...♥

  9. What a breath-taking portrait and what talent Sara had. Thank you for sharing. I have never commented before but have been very moved by such a healthy level of grief as I have read your blog over the past year. So many times it is easier to hide from it to lessen the pain, but expression of grief, while incredibly difficult, is so healthy and inspiring to others that it's okay to hurt and grieve. Thank you for sharing and my prayers go out to you as the anniversary approaches.

  10. I love all the unfinished lets us peek inside her brain and see a bit of all that was swirling around. She was perhaps the most artistic and creative person that I have ever met. Ever since her funeral, I've been noticing color combinations in God's creation that I would have never seen before :)

    I love your perspective and I respect you so much!!!

  11. I have been thinking about you a lot lately Chad, just knowing that the one-year mark is coming up. You, Sara and Miranda have touched so many people with your writing and their lives. I have read that when you first heard or saw an event in your life take place, if you can remember exactly what you were doing, then it has impacted you and your life forever. I can remember exactly what I was doing when I first heard of the accident and I'm sure many other people can too. Sara, Miranda and you have made a big impact on many people. God Bless you...


  12. Chad- You are still in my thoughts and prayers. I am praying for you this weekend. I know it will be a difficult one for you. Thank you for sharing your heart and your story with us.


  13. This is beautifully written and lifted my spirits as I can grasp onto your words for comfort in my own situation. Thank you. God bless.


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