There is one thing I have begged God not to ask of me, a life heartbreak I have never felt capable of handling: that is to bury a child. The day I laid eyes on my firstborn my love was instantaneous, and I realized that I would do anything in my power to care for, nurture and protect this human God had placed in my life. Losing her was unfathomable to me. When my youngest was born, my emotions were equally as strong. To this day I am truly thankful He has not placed me in that heartbreaking place.
Yet someone whom I walked a significant season of life with, Toby McKeehan, and his wife, Amanda, have found themselves facing the very thing I have always dreaded. When they were dating, I served as his personal manager. We were in the studio recording dc Talk albums, and Toby would be on the phone chatting with Amanda—who was home in Jamaica or her school in the states—when he should have been working on his music.
On music video sets it was always the same. He would be in a corner of the room talking to the girl he was crazy about, pondering his future. It was obvious they were very much in love and destined to have a life together. He created a home for them, a place to eventually bring his bride. Thrusting Amanda into the crazy life that a musician leads: weeks at home, weeks on the road. Late nights recording, producing, starting a record company of his own and building a career he was passionate about.
Hopes and Dreams Never Include Heartbreak
Through the years, children were added to their lives. Some through birth, others through adoption. They were building a strong family, living passionately committed to their purpose. Their firstborn was Truett. A beautiful boy full of life; also the one they suddenly lost.
I don’t think the death of any child would be less than a heart-wrenching experience. But to lose one unexpectedly, at merely 21 years of age, who was beginning a music career he was passionate about would add another layer of heartbreak.
I know on the early telephone calls or the beginning of their life together this road would not have been one they could have imagined. The hopes and dreams of a young married couple would not include a heartbreak this difficult. Years of life may not have prepared them for this day, but what I know is that those years have solidified their faith, a trust in God no matter what this life holds. I’m quite sure the pain is not diminished nor the void any less real. But life’s passion and purpose can rise in the midst of the pain.
Healing Through Music
That music that has filled the life of TobyMac and burned in the heart of his son, Truett, is one of the richest expressions this life offers. The movement of a melody, the lyrics that speak words we often search for but cannot find. Songs bring us to our knees, offer us hope and inspire us to be more.
It is music that will carry forward the life and legacy of this young man and the passion of a family experiencing a loss I pray few of us will ever know. The Truett Foster Foundation was formed by Toby, Amanda and their family to give others an opportunity to pursue a passion or a dream when the opportunity may not exist to do so. In the midst of their pain, they have sought and found an incredible purpose.
“Truett Foster Mckeehan had an untamable grand personality and dreams to match. Since the age of 12, he knew he wanted to make music. Dreams are so important to kids growing up. Too many kids do not have the financial ability to pursue their dreams. We want to use this fund to help kids do just that. Get an education, to pursue music, to get the chance to live their dream. Truett would have loved that.”
This life will bring every one of us joys and heartaches we won’t anticipate. As we travel the journey set before us, we too may be faced with seemingly insurmountable pain. Our hearts may be shattered by circumstances outside our control. But that does not mean there is no longer hope. Nor should we believe that treasure won’t arise from the ashes of grief.
Each of us in those circumstances may find a purpose we are astounded by. Something we never dreamed of or sought out. One that comes out of pain we never anticipated, but one that is bigger and broader than the heartbreak of the day.
The musicians who will receive the scholarships, that pen the songs of tomorrow, will be able to do so because of one family that turned their grief into hope for others. Those who will write the melody and create the lyrics to inspire a heart will do it because a young man was passionate about setting that life to a song.
Feature image from TobyMac’s twitter account.
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