3/24/2013

Jakob's Time to be Heard

He walked to the front of the church. He stepped on the altar with slow deliberate steps. Just a lone young man, dressed in black, from head to foot, distinguished, good looking with a solemn look on his face which conveyed much more maturity than a teenager should have.  As he approached the podium where the microphone stood, all eyes in the congregation focused on him and he confidently approached the Bible that lay open to the passage he would read aloud to all present.

He leaned forward and began speaking softly at first and then picking up intensity with each word:
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and time to dance;A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embraces, and a time to refrain from embracing;A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;A time to rend, and a time to sow; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 

With every few lines, he viewed his audience, as if willing everyone present to pay heed to God’s word. He seemed to avoid looking at the coffin laying right within his eyesight, almost within an arm’s grasp, perhaps to not let a tear escape his eye.  Those present knew he had a special bond with his grandmother. It was important to this young man, Jakob Coad, his grandmother, Clarice Coad Memorial Mass touch all those present.  They were to be forever changed as her live had forever changed him.

His story was in sharp contrast to his grandmother’s.  Jakob was born in the picturesque  
captivating islands of Hawaii.  Jakob’s parents met, fell in love in a place that is easy to fall
in love and quickly get married on the beach.   Family lived far away so the wedding was small, quaint.   Both parents were from cold climates, his father from Buffalo, NY and his mother from Norway.  Kevin, papa and Mom, Camilla’s live was forever changed on October 22. 1997.  Jakob was to be front and center in both of their lives forever more.

It did not take long, after his birth for both of his parents to feel a sense of longing to be near family so as to share their dear son with kin.  Hence, in 2000, their family of three up and moved to Buffalo, leaving sun and waves for snow and frigid temperatures to be closer to family.   

Jakob never forgot his love of the ocean, the love of
being in  the water in any capacity.   He has taken that love to spending summers fishing and boating in Kokelv,Norway on summer breaks with his maternal grandfather every summer.  He spends this special time with his entire mother's family in Norway in the town she grew up in.  He is multicultural speaking both languages fluently.  This is a special time to bond and acclimate to a completely different culture, a part of his mother’s history. This is important because this is part of who Jakob is.  

What makes this young man unique is his ability to be passive in one sense, quiet and then, when enthralled with something, put everything he has into it. When he took up skate boarding, he is not like most boys, taking up a slight fancy to it. Not Jakob, he put many hours into the sport, trying to be the best he can, and becoming a champion at it.   If he enjoys something, there is nothing that will stop him from pushing himself to the limit.  That trait is admirable and that confidence is what helps make him unique. 

When his parents divorced, he became one of the millions of children that gets transitioned from one home to another.  However, he even seemed to handle this with ease. There was no real conflict in his mind or attitude.  He loves them both  and simply said, enjoys the relationship and the bonding experience with them each individually.  It is almost as if he is mature beyond his years. Yes, it seems as if he always has been, as far back as I can remember. 

He seems to have this innate way of adjusting to both parenting styles with ease.   He draws strength from both parent’s strengths. He tells me he hopes to one day to make something of himself that will make both of his parents proud. I have no doubt that he will succeed in this mission, if his heart is set on it.  He can do the unthinkable if his heart is set on it.  He is just at the age where he is trying still to figure out what that is!  

Summers are spent outdoors in Norway.  Fishing, camping, and enjoying a lifestyle with grandparents that farm is part of the joy of summers spent there. They make a living raising goats and other things different from the culture here in sharp contrast to his grandma in Buffalo that has a career at the University of Buffalo Medical Center. Both exposures are showing him diversities of opportunities in life.   Thus life is full of options.   He is well equipped to know he has choices. 

His grandmother in Norway describes Jakob as kind, caring, funny and helpful.  In a household where she raised nothing but girls, she is touched to find her grandson so
compassionate about other people, interested, and easy going.  He has a natural way and love of animals.  His other grandmother says he is spirited when it comes to sports, fearless and is a great athlete, very determined young man. 

Jakob’s sport of choice right now is wrestling.  His quiet nature and ability to be self-contained and stay focused lends itself to this sport. His outstanding physique is an asset as well.  Intensity on the mat makes him a worthy opponent for anyone. I doubt he is obsessed with always winning. I think Jakob understands more the importance, at the end of the day, of training, physical fitness, and how you play the game.  He admires worthy athletes, the kind that train hard, play fair and have outstanding skill sets.   He is a true sportsman with a fantastic attitude.  Somehow he seems to have had this instilled in his being from a very small age.  

A day before his grandmother died, Jakob came to visit her.  I know it must have been extremely had to stand there and hold himself together. He had spent many days and nights with her at her house while she had been watching him. Many times, she babysat him growing up when his father had him.   Over the years, they had shared so many memories.  Now he stood at the foot of a bed at the hospital, not knowing if she was coming home, probably unsure what to say.  

Being the strong silent type, he did, rise to the challenge and make us all proud.  Beaming from ear to ear as if he had no cares in the world, he gave her his biggest smile and practically shouted "Hello Grandma!"  He told her he missed her and asked how she was.  Yes, he was so friendly, at ease and charming. Bear in mind how hard this was for a young man his age, knowing the state she was in.  How many boys at his age could pull this off?   I think he may possibly be in a class by himself.   She gleamed.   Here was the boy she watched grow up. I recall her looking at him and saying outloud what a good looking boy he was and how proud she was of him.  She smiled so large her eyes literally twinkled. Jakob made her light up.  He has that effect on you when he smiles at you. He is a special person indeed.   

He stayed for awhile with his girlfriend there and we all chatted. I know he didn't want to leave somehow sensing it might be a final good bye but yet knowing it must be done. She needed his rest and he must move on with his life.  Yet, somehow I think he wanted to prolong the visit.  But even Jakob knows all good things some times have to come to an end. But I do believe he knows good things follow also.   And he had given her what she needed, the peace of knowing he was happy and his love.   To her, that was priceless!   She will be on her perch in heaven smiling down on Jakob, I have no doubt, till he joins her one day.   

And Jakob, his future I am joyful to see it unfold over the upcoming years.  It is in his hands.  He is the only thing that will hold himself back. We are all watching, and cheering Jakob on. As they say in wrestling, win the match Jakob, we know  you can.  For truly,  “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Your time, Jakob, is now. Make the most of it!  The rest of us will be watching, cheering you on. including your Great Grandmother Clarice.