Saturday was a magical day. Jonathan and Ashley exchanged wedding vows and started their new life together as husband a wife. The venue was spectacular. Set outdoors, with all of falls glorious colors on display. The groom was so handsome and anxious to have this beautiful woman as his bride. And Ashley. Ashley absolutely radiated emotion and happiness. So good and pure is her heart. The love they share for one another was evident to a blind man. I’m so very proud of both of them.
But even as we celebrated this happy event, there was an empty spot at our table. Push the thought under the tablecloth all you want, it demands attention. The white elephant in the room burst through my heart and into my world on Monday with a vengeance. Not to be ignored this time. Oh no. I grieved openly for Jillian all day Monday. I spent the day remembering, crying, smiling, cursing and laughing.
And then I got busy. I had a speech to write for our trip to Lansing on Tuesday. Josh and I were scheduled to testify before the House Regulatory Reform Committee in support of the House Bill, 4405 which would ban minors from using tanning beds. The experience itself was an eye opener. I wasn’t expecting a hot debate, but that’s how the show went.
There was only one testimony opposed to the bill, Joseph Levy, executive director of the International Smart Tan Network, representing the tanning industry. Right about here is when I began to see red. Misleading information blurred my vision. Jenni and Joshua and I kept exchanging glances, stunned by the testimony. Sitting next to my 20 year old daughter as tears streamed down her face in grief, fueled my fire. Red. Livid. PISSED OFF MAMA BEAR!
I settled down a little bit after West Bloomfield dermatologistDr. Kay Watnick told the committee bluntly: “I can’t even begin to refute what you just heard.” By the time all other supporting testimony was heard, we were short on time. Josh and I had our turn to speak, and I’m hoping we made a difference. The bill has a long, difficult journey before it becomes law. In any case, this is just the beginning as we build momentum and strength for the upcoming battles.
As I process the last few days, I think about our sermon a few weeks ago. Our pastor assigned us with a task. He asked each of us to take a walk in nature and find a rock and bring it home. Hold the rock in your hand and say these words:
Here I am
Here you are
Here we are together
I found my rock when my dear friend Sheryl and I were in the UP, visiting Pictured Rocks earlier this month. I’ve always felt most connected to God when I’m outside enjoying nature. He talks to me then. But I was reminded again on Tuesday, that I don’t need to be outside to hear Him speak. I brought my Rock with me to Lansing. In my purse, heavy with His promise.
I’m arming myself for the next roller coaster go round’. Because there will always be one. And I’ve got my Rock.