My Jessie Journal:: Hi Sweet Pea, it’s daddy! Love you so much and miss your face so much!!! It’s been a crazy week of some incredible encounters that REALLY made me miss you and feel so proud of you.
The first happened last Friday when we were stuffing JoyJars with this amazing company. After the first shift, I man come up to me and said, “I prayed everyday for Jessie to be healed. I’m so sorry for your loss.” It was clear the man had attended Saddleback Church and just wanted to offer me some level of encouragement. As we parted ways he said, “I’m now praying for you.” I gave him a “fist-bump” and went on to the next shift. When the day wrapped up, I got to my car and picked up my phone to look some pictures of you. This picture was the first one that came up…It was the night Saddleback held a prayer service for you and thousands prayed for you. I decided to find some worship music and play it as I stared at pictures of you. I’m so thankful that man is praying for me. Jess, please thank the Big Guy for sending that man into my life.
The next encounter was Monday afternoon while I was standing in line to get on a rental car bus in Seattle, Washington. The team and I had landed late due to some weather delays and still had a long drive ahead of us so when we walked outside we were discouraged by the length of the line just waiting to get on the bus. There were so many people. So we finally made it to the back of the line and this guy came up to me and asked if I was “Jessie’s daddy”…as he was asking my mind raced through thousands of Facebook photos in nanoseconds and I said, “Yes…and you are Hollis’ daddy.” There we were in the middle of a sea of people hugging and meeting each other for the first time. His daddy and I had connected via email a few times but had never met. So to think we would meet in a rental car line was super cool.
We finally made it to the bus and boarded. I felt I was on a New York subway…standing up surrounded by people all wanting to get their rental car. Thankfully it didn’t allow two dads with broken hearts and souls to talk, hug and cry. We ended up swapping bracelets…my NEGU on for his Hope For Hollis one. It’s was a cool moments I will never forget.
Once we arrived the team I was with and Hollis’ daddy circled up on the patio of this rental car terminal and chatted for a few minutes. As we chatted, God used his daddy to give me a much needed boost of encouragement. He went on and on talking about how Hollis and his brother loved receiving JoyJars and the other boosts. He said, “I’m sure you all don’t hear this enough but that “jar” is way more than a “jar”…it’s a chance for a child to smile, siblings to play and parents to feel loved.” WOW…my eyes dripped hearing this broken daddy share how your love Jess impacted him and his family.
Sometimes it’s very lonely in my shoes. I’m not throwing a pity party…this is the road I’m on so I have to find peace with it, but sometimes I just want to hang with a dad like Hollis’ who is in this crappy club and get’s why I don’t want to say much or why I want to talk about you until I can’t cry anymore. It’s also super hard to keep hearing people say “no, thank you” vs “love to” when it comes to raising money for your foundation. It’s no longer just about JoyJars…families are depending on us so we have to find ways to serve and support them. So thankful I got the honor of connecting with Hollis’ daddy and now have a life-line anytime I need it. I wish we could work together…I think we would be a great team and make you and Hollis proud of our efforts!!! All of this happened because of you Jess=))).
Yesterday I had two encounters that drew me back to you and when you were here. The first was having this guy show up at the JoyFactory and ask for me. One of our team members came up to my office and said, “Scott Arthur” is here to see you. It had been years and I wasn’t expecting him. I came down to see him and we embraced. Jess, you swam for years with his daughter Grace. We talked and talked about life and as he left he said…”Jess is so proud of you, Erik.” I really needed that!!! It wasn’t planned…but it sure came at the perfect time.
The last encounter I had was last night here at home. Mommy and Shaya had just returned from deliver JoyJars with Sam Darnold in New Jersey so we decided to order pizza. So we tried z-pizza. It had been a few years since we ate z-pizza so we thought let’s give it a try. Once the pizza arrived, this young girl handed it to me at the door and said…“I went to school with Jessie.” So I asked, “Were you both in 6th grade together? She said, “No, I was in 5th grade but I knew her. She was super kind to me.” I thanked her for the pizza and closed the door.
There I was, holding pizza with two hands and trying to get tears from stopping. I thought to myself, “Wonder how you look now that you are 19?” I also smiled and thanked God for giving you a compassionate and kind heart that a 5th grader noticed years ago and thousands of others have been impacted by it today.
Jess, now you can see why I miss you so much and at the same time so proud of you!
Please do me a big favor, please give Hollis a big squeeze and lots of love from his daddy, mommy and little brother. I’m sure they would all love that.
See you in a wink Sweet Pea…I promise!