A tribute...

I feel as though I've never given an official "in memory of" post to Josh. Hm. Others have done so beautifully. One about the river, one to thank him. One who never met him, one who knew him well. His future sister-in-law.  

They have said it more poetically than I could. So I shall show you a picture.

Yes, it is not good quality. But I love this picture. It shows so much of who Josh was. First of all, look at where he is. The roof. Creative place, is it not? Josh's mind was forever thinking of new ways to do things. But just standing on the roof was ordinary for Josh - because he always thought outside the box.

Next, see that he is barefoot. Josh never let anything get in the way of his feeling life to the fullest. Shoes? Nah. Let me feel the earth with my bare toes, let the hot cement sting me, let the grass tickle me. Unafraid. Bared. Ready.

Lastly, can you tell what he is looking at? Perhaps not; it is a Bible. That is what he was doing on the roof - memorizing James. This, too, so symbolizes Josh. Here he is, in the midst of beautiful scenery, with gorgeous mountains behind him... but he is focused on what matters. His eyes are fixed on the word of his Maker.

That is Josh.

^ this is one of the last "real" pictures taken of him. 

I could say so much more about this young man, but words are not everything. I have learned that in the past weeks. Besides, you can learn most about him by reading his blog. He writes of profound issues on there, with passion and conviction. 

For those of that knew him, his blog writings took on a deeper meaning than those who didn't. Because we saw him live. We saw that he longed for these things, but did not always achieve them. We saw him fail, get up, and try again. No, he did not live out perfectly the things he aspired to do. But he tried so hard. And he was not afraid to write what he wanted to be, even while knowing that he would not live them out perfectly. He was imperfect, but unafraid. That is one of the many things I admire in him.

I am so incredibly thankful for the time I had on Earth with Josh. So thankful. He inspired me, encouraged me, laughed at me, worked with me, even gently rebuked me. It is hard to explain just how much he meant to me. Right now, he's only a memory in my head, but in reality he is more alive than ever. Praise God.

To close, I'll share something I wrote several days after he died.

And Josh, remember our hike to Rainie Falls? I was so lucky to get to talk with you the way there. Of course, it was free will debate. And you laughed at how my Mother was enthralled by every single wildflower. Josh, be proud: my knee didn't bother me one bit. You were worried about it, but it held up.

I remember as we met a couple people walking the opposite way, you (being the awesome extravert you are) asked the man with the fishing rod, “Did you catch any?” He said he hadn't, and as they passed I saw the women behind him had a big net over her shoulder – with a water bottle in it. After they passed, we both mumbled, “Caught a water bottle, though.” Exact words; exact inflection. We did that so often it was scary.

And then, when we got to the falls, it was so beautiful I just stopped and stared. You said, “I can't help it” and ran out to one of the island-type rocks. You looked around and I could just feel that cloud-nine feeling emanating from you. Then you flexed your muscles, feeling like a man, on top of the world. I smiled. Then you came back and I pointed to the falls. “What do I do with that?” I asked. You knew, like you always did, just what I meant. What do I do with such beauty, too wonderful for words? Your answer will stay with me always, as the last thing you said to me on this old Earth.

“I seem to have written a blog post about that recently,” you said, laughing. “You can't take it all in, so you just take in what you can and enjoy it.”

And that I did. I don't know if you saw me, but I sat there, on a rock just over the falls, and stared and stared. Silent, alone. Just taking it in.

That is where I was sitting when Josh was swept away into Heaven.


  1. This post is so beautiful, Ariel. Wow. thank you so much for posting. Love you so much and I'm praying like crazy. <3

  2. I love this. Great job, Dear Sister! I love especially the journaling at the end about your last memories of him. Precious memories. ♥

  3. I very much enjoyed this post and your song also.
    I am still praying for you all.

  4. Thank you, Ariel. It's beautiful.
    I, too, continue to obsess on Josh's life and death. It's okay, I think. I didn't used to think so, but God is changing me, too.

  5. Ariel, this is beautiful! I continue to pray for you and all who are hurting. Love ya <3

  6. Thanks for sharing. I still don't really have words. I hear you, I feel you, and yet I feel so helpless at times. I am praying and I am striving each day to trust God a little bit more than the day before, to love a bit deeper, to reach out to someone I may have not seen or wanted to see before,and yet.....I am so thankful that you are feeling touches of joy and writing again! Tianna said you were singing today. (-: Hold fast to our beautiful Lord as we watch in amazement how He heals and changes us to be His priceless masterpiece. Love you so much!

  7. This is beautiful, Ariel. I am continuing to pray for you all.