Kirsten took this photo May 21, 2010 of Jackson, Jonathan, and Jonathan's brother at the 1st Annual Boss Your Heart Memorial Benefit, in memory of Chrissie. Jackson is on the left, Jonathan (Jackson's best friend) is in the middle, and Jonathan's brother is on the right. Please keep praying for Jackson's family and friends, as well as Jonathan and his family. Thank you!
By Kirsten Walkup
Jackson Norris was someone I considered to be a friend of mine. Even though I was more than twice his age and was his Sunday school teacher, I always found him to be an amiable kid that loved life and had an infectious smile. As a teacher, one of things that irks me is when someone gives me a pre-packaged churchy answer to an honest question just because that’s what they think they’re supposed to say. One need not spend more than five minutes in one of my classes to realize that answers without honest intellectual scrutiny don’t really fly with me. With Jackson, I never had to worry about him giving me one of those irksome answers; if he had something on his mind, he was going to say it. Among other things, I always appreciated the fact that he told me what he really thought. He usually wasn’t among the first to answer questions I threw out, but on those occasions he did hazard his opinion, I could see a real spiritual depth that lived just beneath the shaggy-blonde surface. He will be sorely missed.
Saying goodbye to someone you care about is one of the most difficult things we experience in this life. In the past I’ve written about the fact that some tragedies we suffer and are witnesses to defy explanation and do not seem to make sense. Losing Jackson falls firmly into this category and I’ll not attempt to try and clear murky theological waters in this short writing. Our God is mighty to save and He is still on the throne. One day I’ll understand it all but in this life of flesh and blood mortality, understanding why some friends leave us far too soon is something I’m simply not able to do.
What I do understand is that God is full of love and compassion and cares far more about those who have left us than we ever could. While it breaks my heart that I will no longer see Jackson in the classroom, or bouncing around the halls at church, or riding his skateboard through our neighborhood, I firmly believe that what he’s experiencing at this moment in the presence of God is something so incredible it cannot be described by human words. I also believe God has a divine plan and purpose for those of who feel the sharp pain of loss. Where Jackson is at this moment, there is no pain, no sorrow, and no suffering. Where we are, there are plenty of all of those things…and plenty of people who need the kind of love and comfort that only a relationship with Jesus Christ can bring.
At the moment, my heart is very heavy from the weight of loss, yet that weight would be exponentially compounded were I grieving the loss of one of my many unsaved friends. I take comfort in the fact that I will again see Jackson and many other friends and family members who have gone to be with the Lord. I’m also reminded of the sharp and crushing ache that accompanies the knowledge of someone close going into eternity without having known the saving power that Christ offers to all.
Life is short and precious, and we never truly know when the bell will toll for our own lives. It is through moments like these, when the reality of loss sets in, that a thorough examination of our own life is in order. The question that should most immediately be answered is, “do I have a relationship with Jesus Christ?” It is a simple question, but one that sometimes requires the facing of harsh realities. Jackson Norris knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior. His race is finished and now he is Home.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Boss Your Heart!