Monday, October 15, 2007

ELI FLORENCE: REST IN GOD'S LOVE

I returned home from my daughter’s softball tournament on Sunday to find my son distraught over hearing that his classmate, Eli Florence, had passed away at his home earlier in the day. Eli had suffered from Leukemia for the past five years and finally lost his battle with the disease.

Sunday’s tournament had begun at 1:00 pm in the warm glow of sunshine on an otherwise crisp autumn day. About two hours later the sky became cloudy and rain fell shortly after 3:00 for the duration. When I got home, I learned why the weather had taken such a cold, sad turn. Seems the sky was weeping for our friend Eli.

I am having a hard time digesting the sad truth of what transpired over the weekend. Eli had been crowned homecoming king at his Lake Fenton High School little more than a week before. Five students sidestepped their own chances to give Eli the honor. He was a sophomore. Eli was scheduled to be hosted at the University of Michigan’s homecoming game on Saturday including a visit on the sidelines with coach Lloyd Carr. He was too sick to attend.

I can’t for the life of me understand where the love of God is when a 15 year old young man is called to heaven. I don’t understand where a parent finds the faith to endure such a loss. I couldn’t sleep Sunday night with Eli’s loving family on my mind. Wondering over and over again how they manage to keep their sanity.

My personal doctor is an oncologist and I had to ask him on Monday; how does one reconcile the tragic, untimely loss of a 15 year old boy to cancer. He told me simply, “you don’t.” He had no other comfort, shared no other wisdom, as if to make a point that you don’t try to soften such a hard blow. I got the message. Some things should be hard. Some things shouldn’t make sense. And some things we should carry, under their entire weight.

I have been uncharacteristically numbed by the story of Eli. I’ve prayed for him every day for years on end. I registered as a potential bone marrow donor to no avail. This young man has been on my mind since I first heard of him shortly after moving to our community. I have been emotionally moved into submission.

I am not related to his family and our families were not acquainted. But I feel a kinship to all children, especially children who hurt. Injured children are what I understand best, they make the best human beings. And it is impossible to fully process the loss of any child; particularly a child who doesn’t live long enough to learn that adolescence were the hardest years of their lives.

It is my belief that no one can truly comprehend how much love a person of Eli’s caliber brings to us and our world…it is simply too abundant and rich to grasp. The innocent are truly Angels.

God rain comfort -- the little comfort that can be absorbed -- onto Eli’s family.

Thank you, Eli, for awakening me with your sleep. You live on in our hearts and you are truly a gift.

JD.

3 comments:

BunnyDesigns said...

I always love reading the articles you write. You have a way of stating the facts in a way that makes sense and cuts through all the bull. Thank you for spending your own time to enrich the lives of others, and myself.

Thank You,
Bunny

JD's Page said...

Thank YOU, Bunny! JD.

FOREVER Eli's mom said...

Hello, I am Eli's mother. Although I appreciate your sharing of the impact my son's story made in your life, I can't help but feel that some of your ocmments actually go against his greatest wishes. Throughout his entire journey with AML Leukemia he wanted nothing more than others people to somehow come to know the Lord. The night of his original diagnosis, Aug. 20th, 2003, he said to me, "Mom, I have something to tell you and I hope you understand. You know when I went to church camp a few weeks ago? Well, other than the girls, there was some other cool stuff that happened. Me and God mom...we had a talk. I went down to the alter one day and TOLD GOD I WAS AVAILABLE FOR WHATEVER HE NEEDED.

So, mom, I believe God needs me to be sick. He didnn't make me sick, but he needs me to be sick and when he is done working in other poeples lives...HE WILL MAKE ME BETTER."

Then Eli proceeded to pray for three people in his life who he knew NEEDED THE LORD. He prayed that they would get Saved and to of them have. We are still praying for the one who remains.

I share this story with you in an effort to honor my son's faith, hope and perseverance. You see, GOD DID MAKE ELI BETTER. And only 33hrs before he died in my arms at our home that Oct. 14th day in 2007, he had told me this, in with complete acceptance. "Mom, God MUST JUST KNOW that MORE people will get Saved by taking me HOME at 15 than if I got to stay here longer with you like me and you want."

Therefore, on the days that I hurt the most and I'm finding it difficult to breath...I see his calm, peaceful face and here his words of wisdom and CHILD LIKE FAITH and I resolve to leave this right where Eli had it all along...IN GOD'S HANDS. When things were getting tough and it seemed that all hope was gone, Eli would pipe up and say, "Mom, HE knows what He's doing," EVERYTIME.

So, though I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND your pain and lack of reason in all of this. I must ask you to look deeper into Eli's journey. LOOK WHERE HE HOPED YOU WOULD when things get difficult and it seems there is no hope. Look to Jesus. Eli did. And He's spending eternity with him thanking him for HIS LOVE and HIS SACRIFICE.

As Eli's mother, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and I pray you too will know the gift of complete healing. One of the things Eli and I prayed, knowing that he would be healed, was that IT WOULD BE HERE. The fact that he was not healed where we had hoped is something we will have to continue to ask for Gods grace and help in accepting each and every day that goes by without him physically here to share with...But, HE WAS HEALED and that is WHAT WE PRAYED FOR.

If you want to learn how Eli's wishes of helping others are being fulfilled, please visit www.theelifoundation.com. I hope you are blessed@!

Thank you again!

Trina King
(FOREVER Eli's mom)