I am writing this story of Lucas in a notebook someone recently gave me, it is beautiful, turqoise leather bound book and it has the words on the cover “you must be the change you want to see in the world.”
I don’t think it could be more fitting to write about Lucas in this book.
I have the privilege of telling you about my son because he had far too little time to change the world. Fifteen years is not enough. Yet that was the time he was allotted and I think he used it well.
I always knew Lucas was different. Not only was he a head taller physically but he was taller in maturity too. He was always looking out for the smaller kids. The weaker. Those who needed help. His “someone might need me” radar was always on.
Once when he was about 3 we were at a park and he started poking at a frog with a stick and made it bleed. I knelt down beside him and said, “Lucas did you know that frog has feelings? It hurts just like you do. It feels pain too.” Suddenly he seemed to get it. The tears started flowing. From when he was a little boy he internalized other’s pain.
His favorite thing to do as a little boy was not to play legos or trucks. Instead it was fixing things. He always had a screwdriver in hand ready to help mommy and daddy “fix things.” If nothing was broken, he would just take something apart and put it back together.
Then he would grab a spray bottle in hand to help me clean. His favorite toy was a vaccum cleaner. I always thought, what a strange little boy I have, yet now it makes perfect sense.
As the years went by he gained a sister, then another, then another. Then finally at age 12 a baby brother. As a mother of five, Lucas was simply a godsend. He treated his siblings with utmost in care and protection. The moment one of them cried, he was there before I was. He knew his role. He wore “big brother” like a badge of honor. No matter how important his current activity seemed to be, he always took time to read one of them a book or push them on the swing. He taught Brooklyn how to pitch a ball and drive a tractor. He welcomed them when they flocked to him after a baseball game or a concert.
I always joked with him as he held Brady who is only 2, that he better get some good bonding time with him before he went off to college. Little did I know how fleeting that time would be.
One of the most important parts of his story is that he survived a near lethal brain infection when he was 10 years old. No one knew what caused it. A very dangerous virus overtook his entire body and damaged his heart as well as formed a large clot in his brain. They removed it in emergency surgery along with a sizable piece of his skull. His body fought off the infection and he was left barely able to walk or even see.
That was when we saw the potent healing power of a mighty God. Lucas was in rehabilitation for literally a weekend and left walking, seeing, talking, and just as smart as ever. It was nothing short of a miracle. Lucas’ drive and determination during that time just to get better was simply extraordinary. The therapists came to visit at our house and literally their jaws dropped as he passed every test with flying colors.
By the grace of God he was able to attend Goodwillie environmental school as he has planned; something we would have never thought possible three months before. He not only did well there he thrived. Goodwillie was such a tremendous blessing in his life because he could concentrate on the pure beauty of God’s nature. Something he loved passionately. Never once did he complain about not being able to sled, skate, or even saw logs for a log cabin because of his remaining physical difficulties.. He was simply happy to be there. I know if he could, Lucas would still be there- building canoes, frogging, identifying trees, trail guiding, and eating lunch in the snow.
I can’t talk about Lucas without bringing up baseball. It just wouldn’t seem right to leave that out. When he started hitting balls pitched to him at age three we knew that it would be a talent of his. Baseball owned a piece of his heart. He played at TVBL and in travel teams through fourth grade until he got sick. Then taking three years off because he didn’t have a normal skull was a great hardship for him. That was one of the few times I saw him very discouraged. Then by 7th and 8th grade he was slowly able to get back into it and was training for the freshman baseball team.
Now when I say train…that’s just another whole lucas thing. When I say he put his all into something, he was all in. Once again his fierce determination came out and that boy trained. He lifted. He was going to be strong, he was going to be big, and that was it. End of story. I can’t tell you how much protein powder, eggs, almonds, tuna and spinach we went through. He was a machine. I can tell you I did not love bringing him to the gym almost every day. Yet he was gaining so much confidence. So much discipline. I was secretly as proud of his muscles at he was- because I knew the strength of character it took to do what he did.
Even with the confidence the gym gave him, High school didn’t always feel like happy comfortable place for him- and I know that he was not the first teenager to feel that way. High school can be a hellish place. He didn’t feel like he had a lot of friends. He didn’t feel like he knew how to talk to people. He was insecure about people liking him.
Right now if you look at Lucas’instagram account he has 500 comments by students on his most recent picture telling him how much they loved him and miss him. How his smile made their day and how he inspired him.
This begs my question. To myself and others-
Who haven’t you told that you appreciate their friendship?
Who have you walked by every day and never said hi to?
Who has been sitting behind you in English for a half a year and you still barely know their name?
Lucas, I can say pretty confidently, because I’m his mom and knew his heart, would have been friends with anyone. He treated everyone well. He would say, “Mom I said “Hi” to so and so and they ignored me. I ask them a question and they look the other way.”
People are too preoccupied with their own lives sometimes to even return a Hello.
If Lucas could stand here today he would say,
SHOW FRIENDSHIP to PEOPLE WHILE THEY ARE STILL HERE.
Reach Out. Get out of your comfort zone and your own little clique. Be on the lookout every day for someone who is needing a friend.
I found a quote by Albert Einstein that I think pretty much sums up Lucas’ life. “life isn’t worth living unless it is lived for someone else.”
For Lucas that someone was Jesus Christ.
His instagram profile reads: Jesus- pitching-hunting- gym addict-fhc freshman-aspiring physician- 15-6’4”
Ahead of everything else….Jesus.
That is why he was kind.\
That is why he was loving
That is why he was compassionate.
That is why he had determination and courage-
Because God was on his side.
He knew that if he lived for Jesus his life was not his own but he belonged body and soul to his savior- who would love him unconditionally. Who would walk with him step by step through the trials of high school life .who loved him enough to die for his sins. So that he could go to heaven.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. So that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Lucas’ physical life ended on January 16 but his eternal life only began.
All these reasons to live like lucas-
To show kindness and love and compassion, courage, to go all in- point undeniably and irrefutably to his faith.
Whatever reason you choose to wear the wristband, do it because life isn’t worth living unless it is lived for someone else.