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  • Writer's pictureDebra Pauli

Graceful Perseverance: A Cross at the side of the Road - 07/23/23

Welcome back to this week’s blog! This week is a traditional blog I post each year at this time. Yes, the anniversary date has rolled around once again. This week is referring to the cross at the side of the road, where a mother loses her son long before his time.

Yes, for those of you who know me on a personal level, this past week Friday, July 21, 2021 is the 18th year anniversary of Bryce Lee, my third son’s spirit returned to Heaven to be with the Lord. And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:43 (ESV).

Eighteen years has passed since I had written my third book in the memory of Bryce Lee to help grieving parents and families cope with the many levels of pain that death’s suffering leaves behind for all of us to pick up the pieces and try and make some sense from. “And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:26 (ESV).

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” – John 14:1-4 (ESV).

Why we Cry for a Soul set Free is the story of how I dealt with the passing of my third child, one of the most traumatic experiences a parent can go through. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4 (ESV).

Bryce Lee Haugen was the third of our four sons and the bravest human being I’ve ever known. Bryce was my special needs child; he had been diagnosed with epilepsy and mild mental retardation (MMR) at a very young age. With his flesh limitations, his life was a challenging one, but despite the treatment he received from those who were unable to accept him or understand him, yet his spirit always looked beyond that and looked at life in a very uplifting way. Bryce knew how to love people unconditionally.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” – Revelation 14:13 (ESV).

Aside from the book I wrote in 2005, there has been tremendous healing and transformation that has taken place in our family since that day. In this blog I am not going to write about the powerful message you get from my book because each of you can read the book and gain your own perspective. But what I did want to emphasize in this week’s blog is the common practice of “no helmet, no protection” while riding four wheelers, motorcycles, dirt bikes, scooters, mopeds, any motorized vehicle and the important message I have for all of you, whether you are the driver or the passenger in any of these situations. Truthfully, Bryce was not wearing a helmet when riding his four-wheeler, but if he had, I know without a doubt that he would still be with us today.

In this world there is such a heavy emphasis on “status symbols.” What I mean by this is just this, we as humans consciously believe that the home we live in, the vehicles we drive, our job title, not the richness of our soul, but the richness of our bank account, the clothes we wear and who are social circle happens to be are all “status symbols” that we use to compare ourselves to others, to judge each other, and what we see as “important stuff” rather than “unimportant stuff.” Actually, because we get so fixated on the status symbols of this world our souls shrink and life becomes this big masquerade, and all of us are simply “actors on stage” worrying about what our outside looks like, without concentrating on fixing the inside. Here’s what God has to say about “being in the world as opposed to being of this world. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33 (ESV).

I’ve seen this too many times…if not most of the time. Bikers on Harley’s who are pimped out in leather chaps, biker’s gear that makes them look “cool” on their bikes – and every time it’s without a helmet. Helmets don’t fit into the dress code when riding a motorcycle because helmets don’t make us look cool on our bike…am I wrong? This is a prime example of “status symbols” where we worry more about what we look like on the outside, rather than what we look like on the inside. And as a result of concentrating only on our outward appearance, we jeopardize our physical safety so we look good and impress others. And then when a tragic accident occurs such as Bryce’s or on a motorcycle due to the fact that they weren’t wearing helmets, everybody scratches their heads in awe and wonders how in the world something like this could happen.

Yes, my son was in a tragic four-wheeler accident, along with two other vehicles on a major highway without a wearing a helmet. And the crazy part of that is everyone walked away without a scratch except for Bryce. Did he own a helmet? Yes, years prior to his accident I bought him one and insisted that he wear it. Did he wear it consistently when he rode his four-wheeler? No. And the reason was because he was teased and made fun of by others when he did put it on. So again, my son was vulnerable to what society considers important – status symbols and not looking like a “dork” while doing it. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26 (ESV).

As a result of falling victim to the weight of the world, my son’s life ended before his time. But God often reminds me, For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. – Romans 14:8 (ESV). He died twelve hours later at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota from a very horrific highway accident due to the simple fact that he was not wearing his helmet. And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:43 (ESV).

When the phone rang that July evening to tell me my twenty-one-year-old son was fighting for his life, my heart was shattered into a million pieces within seconds. While the rest of the world was sleeping peacefully, Bryce was fighting for his life. Despite twelve hours of intense medical attention by a staff at the Mayo Clinic and St. Mary’s Hospital professionals, Bryce died from “cerebral edema with herniation” on July 21, 2005 at 6:30 p.m., a time that will be forever instilled in my heart and memories, and the heart and memories of family and friends that knew Bryce Lee. We lost a son, a brother, a friend, a loved one. And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. - Ecclesiastes 12:7 (ESV).

Today I’ve shared with you a very powerful life experience that has impacted my life forever. As a mother who has lost her child long before his time, if you get nothing else out of my blog this week…please, I pray that all of you will take the initiative and enforce a helmet anytime you have the influence or authority with your own children, as well as other family members, friends and even strangers.

“Trust me, you do not want to visit a cross on the side of a road or a cemetery in order to express your love to your child or someone close to you who has lost their life long before their time.” After going through this catastrophic, heartbreaking experience, my family still is healing today, even 16 years later. Please listen to my words and the pain of my heart to please wear helmets or protective gear before riding…it’s a choice that each of us has, and it will not only preserve lives, but will allow loved ones to remain here on earth without being forced to leave long before their time because of a careless and senseless decision. “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;” - Luke 2:29 (ESV).

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli Unstoppable Believer

Scripture Quotes: Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV) / New King James (NKJ), and English Standard Version (ESV)

Digital Assets: U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index, Section 107

Copyright © 2023 by Debra M. Pauli @ Pauli Publishing House (PPH) disclaimer: All rights reserved. No part of these writings may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission from the author.



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