Reading Isaac’s journal was a sacred experience. I could only read an entry or two per day, as that was as much as I could handle. This was not just because I grieved the loss of my son, but because of the weight of his words. They are dense words of Christian devotion, and I could only absorb a little at a time.
I thought I was a relatively mature Christian until I read Isaac’s words and realized that, compared to him, I felt like a novice. I hadn’t taken nearly as seriously the call to holiness.
In three years or so before Isaac’s death, I’ve often marveled at Isaac’s holiness, because it had surpassed any example that I could give him. Then, when I opened Isaac’s prayer journal after his death, I found out where his holiness came from: he fought for it every day in prayer, and I saw much of that struggle on those pages.
One area that I have not come close to imitating is Isaac’s buoyant presence. He was almost never downcast. But in reading his journal, I was shocked by how much he suffered. He was grieved by a fallen world and constantly longed for his heavenly home. Yet, he was committed to give all he had to an example of Christ to others while he was here.
I know that Isaac didn’t stuff his sadness when he was around others, as you can tell when someone is doing that–it eventually comes up in other ways. Instead, it’s clear from his journal that Isaac dealt with his grief in prayer so that he could dedicate his entire energy around others towards being a light.
I raised my son, but in recent years, he has raised me up by the example of his life. May we all be likewise up be lifted up by his words at prayer.