Vanishing Point

“After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

Acts 1:9-11 (NLT)

It took only 40 days after Jesus resurrection for Him to reach the vanishing point in the eyes of His disciples. If you aren’t sure what the vanishing point is it’s when the object you are looking at reaches a distance where you can no longer see it with the naked eye even though it’s still there. Looking across the horizon the average person can see about 3 miles. Obviously that distant changes based on your vantage point which for the disciples watching Jesus ascend back into heaven was much further as they were looking up so it’s no wonder that Jesus always calls His disciples to look up and not down. Looking up always puts things into their proper perspective. Especially in the moments of life when you are saying goodbye to someone you love. One thing is for sure, you never truly know how much you love someone until they are gone.

Today our daughter Bree’s best childhood friend, Danielle Marie Gould would be celebrating her 36th birthday. Born April 12, 1987 she left for heaven on August 20, 2004 at just 17 years of age, days before what would have been her senior year of high school. It’s hard to imagine that she has been gone from us longer than she was here with us and yet if I close my eyes I can still see her. Unfortunately for today the pain of no more will momentarily out weigh the gratitude of once was. It’s why the Lord always brings me back to this scene in Acts 1 of Jesus going back up to heaven and then ahead to the one in Revelation 19 where Jesus comes back to earth on horseback followed by the bride who wore white. I love imagining that particular scene knowing that before she left Danielle had begun her own search for her Mr. Right committing herself to living a life of purity so its easy to envision her today all dressed in white.

Knowing she is in the presence of Jesus today, fully alive makes my heart happy and is reason in itself to celebrate her any day but on this, her 36 birthday I wish if only for today that she was still here with us, to see her face and to hear her laugh just once more. Life wasn’t just different with Danielle, in good ways we were all different too and thats proof her life made a difference. Strange as it may sound, she is still making a difference. Though our memories do fade with each year our hopes and dreams become much more clear. People ask me if any good has come from her death and the answer is absolutely. When Danielle died all hope was not lost. In reality, her death deepened our hope proving once again that hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things!

So today we get to celebrate Danielle’s life thinking about her, talking about her and enjoying things she loved to do. I’ll probably wear Kelly Green (her last favorite color) and still mine, drive with the windows down and with the stereo up singing as loud as I possibly can (especially at stop lights no matter who is watching). Maybe I will eat Mexican food or stop by Country Boy Drive In for those French fries with seasoning salt on them? For sure I’ll finish the day with mint and chip ice cream with milk on it and imagine her burping when she was done. Then before closing my eyes I’ll gaze up into the heavens at her star and recall a conversation I had with her mom the day Danielle died. Sherrill with tears streaming down her face looked at me and said, “people will forget her” to which I replied, “not in a million years”.  With her and those we truly love there is no vanishing point because, “A true legacy is not what you leave behind for others to carry on but rather the part of you that lives on in those you leave behind.”

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory”

Colossians 3:4


Michael Osthimer





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