Doin’ it for Derek

Stars in the Night Sky

Stars in the Night Sky

“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Our Father, Who art in heaven…
I heard you escorted nine-year old Derek Lendosky home, protecting him in your loving arms.  It was a warm summer day – August 4th, 2013 – when Derek fell from a UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) and was tragically killed.  He was a fourth grader from Fennimore, WI who loved numbers and had a heart of gold.  He also loved baseball and was a fan of Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays.  Thank you, Lord for Bautista’s act of kindness when he dedicated a game to Derek.  It brought some needed simple joy to so many – especially when Bautista hit a home run!

I know Derek best through pictures only – the family gathering for the Christmas photo that portrays grandparents, parents and children – the ones that your love overflows with emotion.  I could always see that uncanny family resemblance of one another and the glow in their faces of the togetherness – a cohesiveness that does not need words.  Derek’s grandmother is a very good friend of mine… and Lord, I cannot know another’s pain but, truly, my heart aches for her and her family in a way words cannot express.

Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
It is so hard for so many to understand why he is no longer with us here in our world.

On Earth, as it is in Heaven.
We can only imagine him with his ancestors who came before him, surrounded in love.  We can see that sparkle in his eye and that broad and gentle, caring smile on his face.   Like so many voices echo, we know “He is in a happy place” with you, Lord.  It sounds so trite, Lord.  It holds such little meaning.  It seems, in our hearts, that he would be happy here with us.  You gave him to us for such a short time.

Give us this day our daily bread,
But, oh, Lord, the emptiness and ache it leaves behind.  His family will need your strength and your love forever at their side.  They will need so much more than just “daily bread!”  We all know that you give us trials and struggles.  We know we have lessons to learn.  Please remember that our strength goes only so far. Don’t overvalue the human capability. Lord; be close to the family with your protecting hand when it becomes too much for them.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Forgive me Lord, for I am writing this on thisoldheartblog – a blog about heart disease – and I need to tie this in somehow.  I know.  I know.  I am awkward and I do not have the smoothness of a polished writer.  I just have all of these words and emotions pouring out of my heart.  It is that human imperfection you put in me.  (Why did you do that, anyway, Lord!?)

A heart can only be healthy when there is forgiveness as the “Our Father” states.  Anger leads to stress and stress leads to heart disease.  Peace, love and harmony must live in the heart.  Heart health is so much more than diet and exercise.  I believe it is about the love of the Lord reigning in our lives that releases so much of our stress.  We surrender.  We trust.

The relationship between stress and heart disease has been recognized since time immemorial. The occurrence of a heart attack and sudden death have been shown to increase significantly following the stress of natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes and deaths.  The effect of ongoing stress on one’s mind, body and heart are detrimental.  We all know of healthy ways of managing stress.  The  American Heart Association has one of the best sites available on stress.  I know, Lord… We will all click on the link and use the site wisely.  Thank you.  And, yes, I know, prayer too is a big stress reliever.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
With all of this in the forefront of our minds and with our hearts filled with grief, we pick up the pieces, heading not into temptation or anger but we deliver goodness and kindness and present them to You.  Derek’s light lives on in the form of act of human kindness everywhere and anywhere.  Derek’s life has had so much meaning for so many.

The Dali Lama once said:  “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”

Lord, I am delighted to say that many have found their inner strength and are filled with hope.  Take a look at Actsofkindnessforderek on Facebook!

I would like to highlight one of the “acts of kindness” that stands foremost in my mind and touches my heart deeply.  A fifth grade teacher in Wittenberg, WI named Theresa Shankland began a PAY IT FORWARD act of kindness campaign with her fifth grade class.  She posted  signs that read:

Derek

Derek

About Derek

About Derek

They built a giving tree that needed “leaves of kindness” in honor of their new friend, Derek.

Derek's Giving Tree

Derek’s Giving Tree

The students understood.  The students related.  The students began doing so much good!  The tree filled with leaves of kindness that listed each act they accomplished. The tree sprouted so many leaves of color and richness!  And it does not just end with the autumn leaves.  There are plans for gifts of kindness at Thanksgiving and presents at Christmas and snowflake gifts in January.  So many students have learned so much.  Amen, Lord.

Amen.
Yes, Amen, Lord.  Amen with a wrap-around-tight hug and an “I love you” to Derek sent from his family and friends.

Derek’s light grows stronger and stronger.  You send us comfort.  You soothe our hearts.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and forever.

For we will always trust in the Lord with all our heart. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Let all of us continue to honor Derek’s life and make his star shine even brighter!  What will you do for Derek and his family?

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10 Comments on “Doin’ it for Derek

  1. Doin’ it for Derek…we continue to di it to honor his life and his family! What an honor this blog it to the family! Thank you, Sharon, for the beautiful writing and uplifting words. Love, Theresa

    • Yes, Doin’ it for Derek and his beautiful family… may they find some peace and comfort from all the kindness being spread worldwide. Thank you, Theresa for all the love you have created and continue to spread… Blessings to all.

  2. That was very beautiful. I hope you don’t mind Sharon, but I shared this with the community. Thank you for your beautiful writing.

  3. It is amazing how a child put on this earth for such a short time had touched and changed so many. I lost my niece in a tragic car accident Nov 21 2012, she was only 15 and left a mark on our community that is only 11 miles from Fennimore. Your writing was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jean, Thank you for reading and sharing my exact sentiment. It is amazing to see and feel the impact of all this goodness come from the depths of such sadness. My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your niece. I wish you all peace and comfort. Sharon

    • Thank you Kris. Your words ring so true and are deeply felt. Thank you. “Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones to shine down to let us know they are happy.”

  4. God has a way of helping others through people like you. It was a beautiful tribute. Thanks

    • Thank you for your beautiful words. What a wonderful feeling to know God is working through me. Blessings and comfort to you and your family.

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