June 2, 2015

by Robyn Bryant

June 2, 2015

The beautiful life of Tristin Gree was celebrated today. I am thankful I was able to attend the Celebration of his Life. There were multiple profound moments for me during the service. 

The first, was driving down McCallie Avenue and seeing all the Fire Trucks lining the streets and the Firemen and women in their dress uniforms...I made my way into Patten Chapel, a truly beautiful place of worship. I found myself wondering about the history of the building as I sat and waited for the service to begin. I was sitting with friends, but I really did not want to talk with anyone. I just needed to be quiet and still and absorb the gift of God’s grace. 

Coty Wamp, Tristin’s cousin was the first speaker. She is a very gifted speaker. I have no idea what she does for a living, she spoke purely from her heart and it was very powerful. The scripture she shared resonated with me, “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55  There were other parts to her message and when she finished, I wanted to stand up and applaud and say AMEN! She delivered a beautiful Eulogy for her amazing cousin. 

Then, one of the Chaplain’s from Children’s Hospital at Erlanger that got to know Tristin and Tristin’s Uncle spoke (Tristin’s Mother’s youngest Brother)...they both were lead to share the same scripture and it describes Tristin.... But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfullness. Galations 5:22 (NIV)

My friend, and a friend extremely close to Tristin and the Greer family,Wendy Ranso, then stood to share her thoughts. For me, her words were the most emotional. Wendy has helped me along the journey of being a parent that has lost a child. Her Beautiful, Emily died over 9 years ago from Neuroblastoma. Christian and I both knew all about Emily, because Christian was a frequent visitor to “The Ranch” at Children’s. Emily’s Power for a Cure donated the amazing CT scanner that serves the children of our region. Today she shared a beautiful story....I literally was totally absorbed....Here is the story.....She changed the words today to The Brave Big Soul, referring to Tristin. 

The Brave Little Soul by John Alessi

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?" God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone." The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied. "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!" God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you". God and the brave soul shared a smile, and then embraced.
In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed." Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys, some regained lost faith - many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

This story gives me more peace in a world where it’s so hard to understand why our children suffer. 

During the service, it was mentioned multiple times that Tristin loved pretty girls...Wendy ended by saying, “I happen to know there are some beautiful girls in heaven.”  I agree with her 100%. 

My heart is broken for Jaso, Bronde and the twins. Tristin was an amazing young man and I am blessed to share some fond memories with him. Tristin, you, like my Christian and Wendy’s Emily and all the brave warriors that have WON their race,  will always be loved and never ever forgotten. And, as always, love deeply, forgive often and find your blessings! - Robyn