Finishing

I started this post six times now. I can’t ever seem to finish it.

Two days after Travis passed…as I was keeping an eye on Carrie as she rested, waiting for her to wake up because I wanted her to know she was not alone…I wrote…

and I couldn’t finish it.

After the amazing funeral which felt more like a party then a funeral…

I wrote…and I couldn’t finish it.

One week after his death…to the day…

I wrote…and I couldn’t finish it.

And then two weeks…

and I couldn’t finish it.

And then Fourth of July came, which I had been dreading since the day he died because that was our annual tradition our families spent together.

I wrote…and I couldn’t finish it.

Three days later… It was the one month anniversary…

One month…really?!?

And I just. Couldn’t. Finish. It.

I have so much to say. So much to write.

To talk about his final hours…to describe his funeral to those who could not attend…

But I just can’t seem to finish it…

And then today I realized, while watching the video, that once again Trav managed to beat me at something.

He was able to finish.

Trav’s faith journey over the past year was not smooth sailing. While faith in Jesus came easy to Travis the day-to-day journey of walking out that faith did not.

Some people are blessed to have a blind faith…a childlike faith. A faith that allows them to accept things simply because the Bible instructs them to or they feel God has told them too.

Travis was not that person.

He challenged things. He never accepted things at face value. He questioned everything. He had a philosophical mind that allowed him to always see both sides.

It’s simply who he was.

But he never wanted that to be a burden to others. He fought through it with a few friends and mentors asking as many questions as he could and pouring over the Scriptures but never let on to others..  He wondered if it was “too late” for him. Had he been given too many chances and simply “missed the boat”?  He wondered if he was really saved. With all the mistakes he had made despite being taught the truth his whole life…could it be as simple as turning from that?

And yet…all the while…he showed no external signs of this internal struggle to others.  He encouraged them in their faith.  He invited them to church.  He pushed them to find their way back to God…

Many feel blindsided by Travis’ death. Count me among them. Just slightly over a month ago, I thought for sure we would spend our annual Fourth of July trip at the NIH in Washington D.C.

Instead we were, once again, at the lake.  But this time…it was without Travis.

How could this be? I knew he would beat this cancer. I just knew it. After all. This sickness was not unto death.

This is the part where I am supposed to back pedal. I am supposed to explain God and what He really meant when we received the messages from Him that I wrote about in the Black Angel post. I’m supposed to give you the “Christian” explanation that “Travis really isn’t dead” and “because he knows Jesus this sickness was not unto death because there is no eternal death for him.”

But I won’t.

Travis never made excuses and so, to honor him, I won’t either.

The truth is…I thought with every ounce of my being that Travis would be healed in this life. Not because he deserved it. Not because he believed in God. But because I truly felt that God sent us a message, on two separate occasions, that he would be healed…in this lifetime.

I have no excuses or reasons or wonderful “Christian” things to say to explain why he wasn’t healed now that things did not turn out as I so desperately believed, and wrote in the blog, they would.

This is the point where I expected my faith to fall apart.

But I have a problem. On the Fourth of July last year Travis looked me in the eye and said, “don’t you dare. If I die don’t you dare have a crisis of faith.”

And so I can’t.

I still don’t understand and, to be honest, I get pretty angry about it at times. But I have figured something out. Something Travis apparently figured out months before me.

This is hard. Watching Carrie and seeing her anguish is hard, gut wrenching, and knocks the wind out of you.

But I can’t imagine how much worse it would be without Jesus.

In the last few months of his fight Travis stopped fighting his journey.

He rested in knowing that he simply could not know everything.  He accepted that God was bigger than him and he couldn’t have all the answers in this life.

He finished his journey.

And so a challenge.

If you don’t know God personally…seek Him out.

I’m not saying give up everything you do or don’t believe today because Trav would want you to.

He wasn’t that way.

He had a way of understanding others and their struggle to truly believe.  I guess because he had been in that position for so long.

But he would want you to seek.

Open your bible. Show up at church next weekend. Ask tough questions.

Just don’t ignore that quiet nagging.

In his last 48 hours I had the opportunity to ask Travis a question…

“Are you scared?”

Through labored breaths he smiled, shook his head no, and managed to say

No…Want to know a secret?”  “I’m kind of excited.” 

Don’t get me wrong…I wish I could stay…I’m sad…but now that I know that isn’t possible…I’m excited…”

So…

Can you say the same?  Will your words be similar?  Will you have the same excitement and anticipation…

When you finally…finish?

 

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11 responses to “Finishing

  • Kimberly

    So true. Thank you for sharing the truth. It’s ok to ask tough questions. I don’t think that makes people non believers. We are seeking to find more. We want more 🙂 Travis now has more. We should all be excited for our finish. Beautiful words. Thank you. Love and prayers continually for you, Carrie and the babies!!!

  • Kay Pigg

    well said…I hope to meet you at the service for Travis. You have a gift for writing. May God continue to work thru you and bless you and Travis’s friends and family. He certainly was loved by many

  • Morning Reads: 14 July 2014 — Peach Pundit

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  • frank

    In response to your following question:

    “So…

    Can you say the same? Will your words be similar? Will you have the same excitement and anticipation…

    When you finally…finish?”

    Until I walk the last mile I cannot predict what I will say or feel—but this I know…I will finish with God as my eternal hope & promise. He has forgiven me, walks with me daily, and will be with me when I…finish.

    I am 75 years old, blessed with great health…today…but I know that the average lifetime for someone like me is only months away. Maybe I will live an “average” lifetime—maybe I will live another 20 years as my father did…only God knows. But this I know, He will never leave me… He will help me finish.

    Thank you for sharing Travis’s journey with so many of us; you did a wonderful job! Through all of your writings you never failed to put God first…. thank you.

    If there is someone reading this note doesn’t know God, my prayer is that you will give your life to him quickly…life can change suddenly as it did with Travis, and as my father used to tell me,”it won’t always be the other person”.

    Putting God first in your life will transform your life and give you what you need to live in peace daily…and someone to be with you as you… finish.

  • Lynnette

    I’m so sorry for your loss & have been praying for Travis’ family since I learned about him. I didn’t have the privilege of meeting Travis, though my husband was fortunate to have worked with him at Emory & Collier Hills. My husband & I watched Travis’ interviews & they were pretty awesome. Your July 9th post was so sincere, genuine & beautifully written. Thank you for being so honest, I very much enjoyed reading it.

  • Elizabeth R.

    I’ve never met any of you, but I heard your story through others in the East Cobb Community. Ever since I first heard the story, I have shed so many tears to God about how he could let something like this transpire. How he could let such a bright light extinguish, and leave those sweet children fatherless. This post is so amazing. Thank You for writing it and encouraging all those who read to not give up, and to not get caught up in the whys, but to push forward in faith to finish the race.

  • Anonymous

    ….. I think that faith isn’t necessarily believing He WILL…. but simply knowing He CAN. I think, many times, we don’t give ourselves enough credit….. we’re more faithful than we realize….

  • Darlene Cokley

    Wow those words really touch my life. We never know when, where, why or how but we do know someday we must leave here. The thing about that is I believe up there with God there’s no more stuffing. God has a plan for all our life, it’s up to us how we proceed with it. Travis is doing great. Even though we miss him here with us. Carrie and the family will be fine. I’m sure Travis has an army of angels watching over all of us. If you’re unsure about doing something ask yourself if you really knew Travis, what will he do? To Carrie and the family thank you for allowing us to share your life with Travis…….Kiss the children and remember when times get hard look up and know he’s watching over you and the children. To the little ones: Your father Travis Roberts was a GREAT MAN, who loved everybody and care about you all dearly.

  • stephanieyax

    This is beautifully written, Christina. Thank you for all your hard work & vulnerability in recording Travis’ & Carrie’s journey. Thank you for being that kind of friend to them. God bless you!

    I’m praying for you & the kids, Carrie!

  • Anonymous

    Carrie, I wanted to let you know that we still are praying for you and your family. I knew Travis professionally for 10 years and he inspired me in many ways. His legacy live on through everyone he came in contact with and with YOU and you CHILDREN. His light shines through your family each day. Just wanted you to know even though most peoples lives have gone back to “normal” over the last few months, however, we still remember and honor Travis’ journey, faith and love for you, your children, and to the Almighty!

    Smile!

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