Sep 132011

I know that you are worried and that you want to know. But I won’t discuss Jack, Anna’s baby, here. His life and his death are Anna’s stories to tell.

I can only tell you my story- what I saw with my own eyes yesterday.

I went to Jack’s memorial service. It was as brutal and beautiful as you might imagine, times infinity.

There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of guests there. The pastor said that in his thirty year career, he’d never seen the sanctuary so full. Most of the guests – children, adults, teens, elderly- wore teeny Lego cross pins.

And in the middle of the service, we witnessed a miracle.

Anna, Jack’s mother, stood in front of the masses of mourners and delivered a flawless, tearless, divinely inspired tribute to Jack and to the power of faith. I have never seen anything braver or more exceptional in my life.

Please, don’t respond by saying – “Oh my God. I could never do that.”

Because what Anna taught me yesterday is that a mother can do the impossible for her child.

Maybe you could do what Anna did yesterday. Because Anna is just a woman who decided that she would not stop mothering Jack, she would not stop honoring her son just because he left the Earth. And so trusting God to help her, she stood and spoke with power and love and her voice did not quiver, not once. And she honored her boy and proved true his belief that With God, Nothing Is Impossible.

She proved that scripture, her son’s life verse, to be true – in front of hundreds of grieving people. Many of whom, like me, had been experiencing a crisis of faith since hearing the news. Many of whom, like me, had spent some time shaking fists at God and then doubting His very existence. Many of whom, like me, walked into that memorial with less faith than they’d ever had in their lives and walked out full to bursting.

As I watched her, in utter disbelief, I thought-

Anna is a Mother. With a capital M. I am witnessing the essence, the transcendent power of motherhood. It seems, somehow, that Jack’s death did not rob Anna of her role as his mother, but intensified it. Capitalized it.

Anna Mothered all of us yesterday. She comforted us, she strengthened our faith, she ministered to us in her darkest hour. I don’t think she set out to do that. I think she just refused to quit mothering her boy. I think she just wanted to do justice to her son. He was her miracle and so she honored him by performing a miracle of her own. I will never forget it as long as I live. I will never forget her regal posture, her visible resolve, the mixture of tenderness and toughness in her face. Anna, standing on that stage, will forevermore be my mental image of “Mother.”

I have been praying for Anna and her family in a million different ways since I heard the tragic news about precious Jack. And I am still praying. But my prayers have changed since I saw Anna speak yesterday.

Now my prayers sound less like “Help them.” And more like “Help them. And please help me find the strength and faith that they have. Help me Mother like Anna does. Help me believe like she does. Help my son learn what her son knew. Help my daughters trust God like Anna’s daughter does.”

It’s like, this tragedy had me so afraid. So very, very afraid. I was having so many selfish feelings – if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone. It could happen to me, to my son. Terror. How would I survive being separated from my only son?

Anna taught me yesterday to quit being afraid, because nothing can separate us from our children. Not even death. I don’t understand it, I’m just telling you that Anna proved it.

I know that Anna will hate this, but I have to say it anyway.

All of my other heroes have been bumped down a notch or seven. Anna is at the top of my hero list, now, and forever.

Her name is Written In Blue.


If you’d like to leave words for Anna…please head to her blog.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Sep 072011

For I tell you this: At the critical junction in all relationships, there is only one question. What would love do now? – Neale Donald Walsh

Tomorrow is our anniversary. Nine years – Craig and I have been married for nine years. Craig always says – God, it feels like so much longer, but he means it sweetly.

Some of your most frequently asked questions are about my marriage. I get oodles of email about Craig, about how good we are together, about how supportive he is of my wild self, about how lucky we are . . . and the word perfect gets thrown in there every once in awhile. You know I shudder at that word. Scary, icky, meaningless word.

Craig and I are good together. We are lucky. And Craig is ludicrously supportive. Also, let us get it out of the way . . . yes – he is quite hot as well. I personally believe that God made Craig extremely hot so he would not take it personally that his wife is constantly too tired to make out. So that he can look in the mirror and say to his chiseled self, “Clearly- her issue. Everybody else wants to make out with me.” I really do imagine him talking to himself like this in the bathroom after I’ve passed out cold. I’m grateful God thought through this hotness plan. Helps us both out tremendously.

Since I’m always talking about looooove – You will probably be surprised to learn that I am not at all romantic. I don’t even understand what romance is, really. . . the closest definition I can muster up is thoughtful. I am incredibly practical about love. I don’t believe in love at first sight. I believe in “wanna make-out” at first sight, but that’s certainly different than love. I just think that Love is something you do, something you choose . . . I don’t believe in love as magical sensation that comes and goes like the tides.

I definitely, definitely agree with Toni Morrison when she wrote that… physical beauty and romantic love are the two most dangerous ideas introduced by man.

I know, so sorry. Seems kinda harsh. But I do, I believe that to be true.

I don’t believe that God makes one person for each person. I don’t believe in a predestined soul mate for each soul.

I don’t believe that love is Victoria’s Secret and fluffy and stiletto and rosy and soft and destiny and new and steamy and ooooh and aaaaah.

I actually believe that love is hard as nails. I believe that love is strong and calloused and exhausted and ugly and painful sometimes. I believe that love is broken and old and shattered and stand up one more time and one more load of laundry and bite that tongue till it bleeds and


I don’t believe in movie romance. I think it’s fun to watch, but I also think it screws us into believing that love should be easy and pretty and invigorating and so if it’s getting hard and ugly and exhausting, then it must not be love – so we should probably try something else. Someone else. But that’s sort of silly. We don’t think that way about other things. We don’t say to ourselves . . . “Man – this workout is hard so it must not be working!” No, we assume that if it’s hard, it is working. But not so much with love.

Important Disclaimer – Sometimes you just marry a douche bag. It happens. In which case Love tells you to hightail it outta there and then Love teaches you that after a short (long ) bit of hell, you are sassier and more beautiful and stronger and more helpful to the universe than you ever would have been if said douche bag never would have entered your life at all. In this case, Love Wins Still. Ha. You will know if your love is good hard or bad hard. We all know. We pretend we don’t but we do.

My marriage is a holy training ground to me. And Craig is training WITH me. Alongside me. We’ve got the same coach, and our coach is God. (You may substitute Love for God, if you so desire. God must think that substitution is just fine since He, Himself, insists that HE IS LOVE.) Out there, on the training ground called marriage, my job is to allow myself to be healed and transformed into a more loving being. To show up and do the drills and take the hits that this healing and transformation require of me. And that’s Craig’s job too. That’s what we’re here for. That’s why we got married. So we keep showing up. On the same field. Every day. Every freaking day.

But it would be ridiculous to think that Craig is responsible for healing me, for transforming me. Jeez, He’s working as hard as I am on his own self, his eyes aren’t even ON me most of the time. Our eyes are on our Coach. Craig’s taking the hits too, he’s exhausted, too. So we try to encourage each other. When I’m down, he offers a hand and helps me get my footing back. When he’s hurt, I help him to the side line for rest. We refuse to let each other give up.

Sometimes I feel like Craig and I are less committed to each other, personally, and more committed to Love. To the process. To the transformation. We are using each other, really. In the best possible way. As practicing partners. Teammates.

I can almost feel this dynamic when we argue. Neither of us responds, exactly, to what the other is saying. Because we are both idiots, especially when we are mad. So before responding, we each ask Love what the hell we should say next, and then we say whatever Love prompts us to say, because Love can be trusted, while angry, blinded humans cannot. Love always sees clearly.

And so it’s like there is always a buffer between the two of us, and that buffer is Love. It’s why we have a beautiful marriage. We do. But we are not soul mates. Jesus, no. We’re two ordinary foolish broken human beings training hard alongside each other, with our eyes on our couch. I mean coach. Coach. And that’s why our marriage works. We also, as a matter of fact, have our eyes on the couch. Ohhh, sweet couch. God, I love my couch.

Anyway –

That’s why Craig supports me in all my hair brained schemes. Because Love would. That’s why I write so highly of him all the time. Because Love would. That’s why he takes the kids away so I can write, even though I don’t make a dime from it for the family, because Love would. That’s why we are patient with each other. Because Love insists.

We are in love with Love. So we consult her constantly. And we choose our words and make our decisions based on her advice and feelings. Not ours. God no, not ours.

We are careful with each other. Maybe that’s romance. I don’t know.

What I do know is that Craig and I have canyons between us sometimes. Love has, and will continue to be, the bridge that allows us to reach each other. She is our coach. We are the team.

Happy Anniversary, babe.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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