Wednesday, July 11, 2012

{Thank You, Brett}

"So . . . Maizy's been shedding a lot." We had just gotten home from our trip to Montana and were welcomed by Jamie's friend and co-worker, Brett, who had been house sitting for us. I saw that the vacuum cleaner was out and heard the hum of the dishwasher. A stack of towels was neatly folded on the ottoman. I was amazed at this young man for taking such good care of our home (and the hairy dog it contained).

He sauntered toward the kitchen and took a deep breath. "So . . . I accidentally broke a plate . . ." And he gestured toward the wall where I had had three plates on display. "It was so crazy. I just went like this, and it broke!" He wildly reenacted the whole thing, much to our amusement. I assured him that it was not a valuable or treasured plate. I now have two plates on display.

Brett continued to recount the events of his week with animation and enthusiasm. He said he had a great time and we knew we had a treasure in this man. As he hopped onto his motorcycle he was still talking. This time, his enthusiasm was for the high school camp he would be attending the next day. He had written a song for the students and was heading home to finish it up.

As Brett rode away, I told Jamie that we needed to do something for Brett. I wasn't sure what, but I wanted to let him know how grateful we were. Grateful for his time, his energy and his joy in serving. Grateful for him.

Three days later we heard of an accident at a nearby high school Bible camp. Our stomachs knotted as we wondered if we had any connection with the camp. A phone call that afternoon revealed that we did. A student had slipped near a waterfall, and a youth leader jumped in to save him. Both were pulled under and drowned. The student's name was Caleb. The leader was Brett.

Our family grieved deeply like we've never grieved before. We couldn't even begin to imagine the ache that their families were experiencing. We clung to each other, held our stricken children, and prayed and thanked God for his goodness. And we thanked God for Brett.

Jamie drove down to the camp to be with the students and staff this afternoon. It was a poignant reunion. He called later to let me know that they were handling the loss with a peace that only Christ can give. I heard the peace in his voice.

He paused and then continued. "I got a text tonight. From Brett's phone." My body shook and my stomach dropped. Impossible. Jamie went on, "The text just said 'Ahhh'."

I was still shaking, unsure of what to make of it. Was Brett really sending my husband a message? I still don't know how to answer for it. I don't know what it means and I can't explain it. But I do know that my husband is at peace. And I know that our God is able to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."

I also know that Brett and Caleb are experiencing a peace and joy that we can hardly fathom. They are in the Lord's presence, praising and worshiping their God.

Brett left his mark on our family and in our home. I found a mismatched pair of socks in the dryer. I had set them aside to return to him. Today I retrieved the pieces of broken plate from the recycling bin. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I wanted to continue to remember that look on Brett's face when he reenacted the moment. The way he reenacted every moment: with joy.

We didn't get to do the something for Brett that we wanted to do. Instead he did something amazing for us. He loved us, he cared for us and he gave us a glimpse into eternity that we will never forget. In his passion for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he did the same for countless others.

Because of that we can rest in the Lord's peace. Ahhh.


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  1. Thankful for the hope of those who knew him that they will see him again. My heart goes out to the parents...they are in my prayers.

  2. Oh... so sorry for the loss of your friend and co-worker. He sounds like a great guy. I hope his death makes a lasting impact on the kids he was shepherding at his church.

  3. This is just beautiful Julianna and such a treasured story of our beloved Brett!

  4. I was a camper there. I knew Caleb better than I knew Brett but I know they were amazing, crazy people who love Jesus with everything. I can't wait to see them again, and I was blessed by them. I saw them last right before they headed up to the falls while I was at the water below.

  5. "I also know that Brett and Caleb are experiencing a peace and joy that we can hardly fathom."

    Amen. Thank you.


  6. Thank you for sharing this. So many people have been impacted by their lives. I want to know Christ better because of all that's happened. I imagine Brett's memorial next weekend will be packed.

  7. Thank you for your comments, dear ones. To have these glimpses into your hearts is humbling and powerful. I pray that, as Erin has said, each one who reads this story will "want to know Christ better." Which is precisely how Brett would script it! Thank you again, and may the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.



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