A few weeks ago, the unimaginable happened. On a day that started like any other, I got a phone call – Dawson’s missing. The words brought me to my knees as I cried, prayed, and begged God for him to be okay. All I could think was “Not Dawson. It can’t be him. Anyone but him.”
The minutes turned to hours and that dreadful day that I wish would turn into a blur in the back of my mind was engrained into my memory forever. After hours of searching, praying and hoping, the tragic news came in, tearing so many hearts to pieces.
The person who was my whole world, my other half, and my absolute best friend for so long was suddenly gone and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or hardly breathe as I tried to fathom the reality in front of me. And somehow, someway, amongst all of the tears and heartache, I felt peace.
I have always been a Christian. I grew up going to church – I actually met and came to know Dawson through our church’s youth group. But like so many others, I had doubts. I had trouble giving God everything. But on that day, I realized that God already had everything – He had the person I loved the most in the world. It’s hard to explain, but all of a sudden, there was a moment where I had this overwhelming, undeniable assurance that Dawson was with God. Then, I could just imagine Dawson in heaven, basking in the joy and peace that we sometimes question, begging me to let go of all of my doubts because God and heaven are so real and more than we can ever wrap our earthly brains around. It was like He wiped every doubt I ever had from my heart and filled it with this supernatural faith.
In the moment where I felt like I had nothing, like everything was ripped out from under me, I realized I still had God and that I would be with Dawson again one day. Suddenly, that was enough.
This whole experience has drastically changed my life in so many ways, but one change that is so profound is the way I view the world. This world is so meaningless (in the best way possible). We put so much emphasis on our time here on earth – our majors, jobs, money, etc. – when, in the end, none of that matters. Literally the only thing that matters, what people will remember you by, is the impact you have on others. The relationships you build and the love that you show. People who show others this type of love so well throughout their life are even able to continue spreading that love once they’re gone – just like Dawson.
You never know when you’re going to die and that used to scare me. If you know me, you know that I’m terrified of airplanes. I would literally get chest pains from the anxiety and thought of crashing (dramatic, I know – but sadly true). But, I’m going to Ireland next week and I can honestly say I’m not afraid; death has no hold on me anymore. If God wants to take me, I’ll be with Him and I’ll be with Dawson again – and I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me. But until that time comes, I’ll live how I’m supposed to here on earth with the absolute best angel watching over me.
And don’t get me wrong, there are moments when I am stronger than others. Each day is an emotional roller coaster from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep. Sometimes I can look through pictures, read letters, and listen to voicemails and they bring a smile to my face, while other times they make me sick to my stomach. Sometimes I even feel angry. Knowing that I’ll never be able to hear Dawson’s contagious laugh, be engulfed in one of his tall hugs, look down at my phone to see his weirdly funny snapchats, or even call him to tell him about the most insignificant parts of my day is so unbelievably hard. He brought complete joy into my life I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to get through my time here on earth without him but God knows, He’s faithful, and He will get me through. By knowing that, I know that I’m going to be okay.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” and the past few weeks have been such a testimony of that. This is by far the hardest thing I’ll ever have to experience in my entire life and yet I’m still able to find peace – a perfect example of Gods miraculous love.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Losing Dawson was sudden, tragic, and heartbreaking – but God is making it beautiful. #LoveLikeDawson is showing so many, myself included, how to live in a way that’s meaningful and memorable. It’s also helping to spread love to children living in poverty all around the world. The non-profit organization, found at www.LoveLikeDawson.net, is collecting donations and all proceeds go towards Water of Life’s Global Outreach teams, where so much love will be spread across the nations.
With all that being said, life’s hard. I never knew just how hard it can get until recently, but God’s love is unfailing in this world full of suffering. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss Dawson and I don’t think that will ever change. But, there’s a grace and peace that’s so much greater than all of this pain. I hope everyone will come to know that kind of peace and choose to love others the day that Dawson did so well each and every day. #LoveLikeDawson