I was struck by how much love this young boy elicited from those who knew him. He does not fit society’s classic view of a “successful person” yet he managed to bring out more humanity, compassion and generosity in people than many of the world’s most accomplished leaders.
On our way home from the service we drove past some vineyards. As it is near the end of winter here, the vines were mostly bare – not a leaf in sight. I wondered if that was how Nathan’s parents were feeling now – empty, vulnerable, exposed and sore. I felt God reminding me that these vines will not always stand empty, but in a while when the weather warms they will start getting leaves, first one or two and eventually plenty. And then one day they will bear fruit again. I prayed that for Carina and Richard – that they will know their season of emptiness will not last forever, and though they may not be able to imagine it now, their lives will once again experience warmth, joy, fullness and even abundance. Not that they will forget Nathan and move on, but rather that his memory and spirit will be intertwined into their family’s healing, joy and life.
I have shared previously that I had not met Carina or her family, as we had only been connecting over the internet. On some level I felt so close to her and knew so much about her – well the important stuff - like how she felt when her son died. But on another level I knew so little about her – I had no idea what she looked like or what she did for a living. It was wonderful to finally meet her and Richard with their two sons – although I had pictured meeting them in happier circumstances.
Carina had asked that we all wear red or orange to the service in memory of Nathan as these were the two colours that he could see best. You can imagine that it was a colourful memorial service. Nathan’s dad Richard had brought along Nathan’s favourite toy –