*With our friends, The Howards, who live in Houston. Their mom bought the boys matching ties. Oh how I love these boys.
Yesterday was our last day of church together. Tomorrow morning Jake, Jacob, and I will head to Utah and Wednesday at 12:45pm we’ll drop Jacob off at the Missionary Training Center.
The last few days I’ve been focusing on filling my heart with joy and gratitude. I will miss Jacob and there will be an ache in my heart to accompany the hole for the next 25 months. But I can’t let that overshadow the joy that I feel that he is on The Lord’s errand.
Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting. In our church, one Sunday a month is set aside for the purpose of fasting as well as the bearing of testimonies during our Sacrament meeting. Members of the congregation are invited to come up to the pulpit and share their testimonies with each other.
Since Jacob was 3 year old, he’s been making the trek to the front of the chapel, climbing the steps to at the front, positioning himself in front of the podium, and sharing his most meaningful thoughts. When it was little it sounded a lot like, “I’d like to bear my testimony, I know the church is true, I love my mom and my dad. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” As he’s grown older, his testimony has strengthened and grown as he has continued to share it.
It’s not an easy thing to stand up in front of hundreds of people and speak from your heart. Not everyone does it. But there is something wonderful about bearing witness and reaffirming even the very basics of what you believe. We have a loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers our prayers. Jesus IS the Christ. He died for our sins and there is a path by which we can be reunited with our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ again. We have a living prophet on the earth today, who leads and guides our church. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Simple, every day truths.
Over the years Jacob has grown in spirit as well as stature, and now we’ve reached this place and he is ready to share with the world his beliefs and bring others unto Christ. Yesterday I was just returning to the chapel after taking Miss B potty when Jacob stood up and walked to the front of the church and shared his sweet, simple testimony. I stood in the back of the chapel, with Miss B on my hip and listened to his words and my heart was full. My son is a man and he’s ready to go.
It was a beautiful meeting and many lovely thoughts were shared. Just as the meeting was going to close, Mr. Sam-a-lam (who had been sitting next to his dad) quietly stood up and walked to the front of the chapel. Jake and I exchanged surprised looks. While Jacob has regularly been bearing his testimony since he was small, Sam has not. Sam is more quiet and reserved and gets nervous in new situations. He’s shared his testimony once before during a testimony meeting.
He walked sure-footedly up the few stairs and stood squarely in front of the pulpit. His hands clenching the side, the only indication that he was nervous. His sweet voice rang out as he began to speak. “Hi, my name is Sam Earle and I’m Jacob’s younger brother.” Tears streamed down my face as I listened to his short, but touching testimony of a living prophet and eternal families. His eyes met mine and he gave me a small smile before returning to his seat.
After the meeting Jacob walked straight to Sam and embraced him. Those two have had their ups and downs as all brothers do. But that moment was a view of true love. Both with their faces wet with tears, holding each other, knowing that the time to say goodbye was swiftly approaching.
I was reminded that I am not the only one who will feel Jacob’s absence. These boys of mine. Oh, these boys of mine who have spent their lives with each other will feel the loss of one. They who have spent all day, every day for their entire lives together. If there is one thing that we have been gifted with over the years, it is time with each other. Years of homeschooling, adventures, and moving – all have tied us together into an undeniably strong unit. And those boys – oh they will miss each other.
*A group selfie to remember the moment.