Ending the first night without Jay seemed impossible to do. My daughter Danielle had crawled into bed with me, lying on her dad's side, and her fiance Adam sat on a foot stool beside us. We were all so tired but nobody wanted to close their eyes and end the day. We knew that falling asleep meant waking up to the same reality and we were all still hoping that somehow it wasn't true.
My son Ryan came into the room and asked us if we had seen a picture that his dad (Jay) had posted on Instagram the night before. We didn't know anything about it; none of us had even seen it until this moment. What Jay had posted was a picture he'd taken of the sunset as he drove to his hotel room the night he passed away. This would be his last sunset. He loved sunsets and clouds. They were peaceful to him and he often took pictures of both, but this sunset was more special than any other he had taken before. I believe this was a special gift from God to Jay, and to us all.
What he had posted on Instagram- this beautiful sunset- had the appearance of a bird with it's wings spread out, and along with the picture Jay posted the words, 'Phoenix rising as the sun sets in South Texas'. As quickly as Ryan showed us the Instagram, Adam googled the meaning of the Phoenix and read it to us: "In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of it's predecessor. The phoenix was subsequently adopted as a symbol in Early Christianity".
This Instagram was a golden nugget. It was a moment of peace in the midst of our agony. This picture along with the words Jay had written, had meaning and purpose. I had been feeling so guilty that Jay was alone, out of town, and without me by his side when he passed away. But when I saw that sunset I knew he wasn't alone at all. God was with him, and He was calling his boy home.
I held onto this nugget knowing that it would give me the courage to close my eyes, sleep, and wake up to a new day, but before I fell asleep I spoke to God and asked Him for a dream. A chance to see Jay again--just one more time to say good-bye.
The next morning when I woke up I felt the immediate sting and reality that Jay was truly gone, but what was also on my mind was that nugget God had given us the night before. I thought about Jay's Instagram--that beautiful sunset and the words that he wrote. I was happy for him. I didn't get my dream, but in the midst of my agony I had peace.
"Thank you God for my beautiful nugget that pulled me through the worst day of my life. For your faithfulness, and to your glory, I praise you".
God is good...