Jason on the whitewater, Summer 2004
Today is Jason's birthday! He would have been 35. I wonder if turning 35 would have been as weird for him as it was for me. I was born 9 months before he was, and last August, turning 35 was even more challenging for me than turning 30 was! I guess that feeling that I'm now closer to 40 than I am to 30 seems a little unreal! How is it that I'm this old already? Life really does fly by... seemingly faster and faster as I get older! But I heard a quote this past year that really put things into perspective for me: "Do not regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many."
What a powerful reminder of the value of human life, and the profound loss and pain that occurs when someone loses a loved one way too early. There are no guarantees in this life! For the believer and for the non-believer... none of us are immune to pain and to tragedy. I praise God every day that we have the great HOPE that He offers through Jesus Christ! Because death is no longer as scary when one's eternity is secured in heaven. That doesn't mean it isn't devastating though when a friend or family member, or anyone you love and care about, dies young.
The crazy thing is... I never actually set out to write this memorial blog. It just sort of happened. Oddly enough, only a month before Jason & Lindsay died, I started my own personal blog because it was a new fad at the time. Some of my co-workers & friends had just started their own blogs too so I was just writing things that only they would read, because no one else knew about it. Everything I wrote about was just silly stuff that I wrote for fun and didn't matter at all in the great scheme of things.
But then, only a month later, my life turned completely upside down when Jason & Lindsay were murdered. I was in total shock and so devastated by it that I couldn't think of anything else to write about... nothing else mattered! So I began to write about them, which became almost therapeutic. I would post every article I could find because I wanted to keep track of anything and everything that had to do with the case. And then, I realized that my blog was no longer my personal blog... it was exclusively about Jason & Lindsay and it became my personal passion to share their story and give glory to God for the way He was working through this tragedy! So, basically, I deleted all of the silly nonsense I had posted prior to their deaths, and I turned my blog into a memorial blog, with permission from Jason & Lindsay's families. So... that's how this website was "born."
With that said, I want to honor Jason's memory today by cherishing every memory I have of the childhood we spent together. There are far too many memories to list here... but one of my favorites was how we used to climb the red maple tree in his front yard. I know I have mentioned this before several times. We would sit at the "tippy top" (his name for it) and talk and giggle. We would try to find bugs and the biggest leaves. We would marvel if there were any birds nests in the tree. When that tree was full of leaves, it was a great hiding place! I loved it! Just recently, the couple who now live in that house cut down that tree. It was still a beautiful tree but they thought it was too close to the house. It broke my heart but I knew there was nothing I could do to save it because it wasn't mine to save. So our beloved tree now exists only in my memory, just as most of the rest of my "Jason memories" do. There aren't many tangible pieces of evidence left of our childhood anymore... at least in terms of things that are the same as they were back then. Time changes everything. But one thing that remains is the truth that I will get to spend eternity in the same place that he and Lindsay are now! Praise God for giving us such a priceless gift! A gift that none of us deserve but that He offers to us anyway... to those who choose to receive that gift and follow Him! To God be the GLORY!
On another note, I would like to ask for your prayers for several people I know, including my own mom, who are fighting cancer or other life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Pray for miraculous healing but also for God's will to be done! He sees the "big picture" that we cannot see. In His infinite wisdom, sometimes He allows things we do not understand. He can bring profound beauty from profound loss. I've seen it happen over and over again! I wish that He would spare us all from such loss and suffering... but in this life, there is no guarantee of that. This world is a very fallen place and we are all affected by it in one way or another. But in the end, GOD WINS. And in every heartache, we should be reminded of the things that truly matter!
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Where is your heart? Is it chasing after dreams that will vanish in an instant when you die? Or are you investing in God, your loved ones, and others? What are you doing in your life that will matter for eternity? Because, just like your life here on earth, this fallen world will pass away one day. But what you do to honor and serve God, your loved ones, and other people will matter for eternity. ( 2 Peter 3 )
Jason & Lindsay both lived an exemplary life of faith in Jesus Christ. They fully understood the concept of "storing up for yourselves treasures in heaven" instead of treasures on earth. Honestly... I can't think of anyone else I've ever known who lived that concept more than they did! In their short lives, they were so wise and discerning regarding obedience to God and understanding His nature. And God has honored (and continues to honor) the way they lived their lives for Him by having that become their legacy. Theirs is a legacy of faith. I am honored that I knew Jason for a season of my life and that I still know and love his family. What a priceless blessing!
Happy 35th Birthday Jason! One day we will see you again & your beloved Lindsay! Until then, we all treasure and honor our memories of you.
Me & Jason at 2 years old in 1980.
From Jason's parents:
It is a beautiful day in May. The sun is shining on the tulips, the dogwood trees are in full bloom, and the birds are singing their song of spring, just as they were on May 16, 1978. God gave us such a blessing that day when He gave us Jason.
In those short 26 years Jason taught us many things, the first of which was patience. :-) He was adventuresome, daring, independent, and willing to try anything once, and he enjoyed every minute of it! He taught us, that no matter how difficult the path, to pursue your dreams. He taught us the importance of a sense of humor. Most importantly, by example, he taught us to stay true to the calling of the Lord. He claimed Philippians 4:13 as his life verse. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." He knew, apart from God's enabling grace, he could not accomplish what he was called to do. God used all of Jason, his strengths and his weaknesses, to bring the good news to youth in a camp ministry. We are proud to have called him son.
Happy 35th birthday! We love you and miss you. Until then......
Mom and Dad