Here are just a few of the reasons why I know Rowan was there:
1. The last motorcycle in the picture above, and it's two riders, showed up minutes before we left Helotes for Kerrville. They asked "Is this the group riding to the winery?" See, there had been another group of motorcycles that had gathered in the same spot and left maybe 30 minutes before. We told them no, that they had just missed their group but that they were welcome to join our ride to Kerrville. They said sure, in an instant, and they didn't just ride out to Kerrville. They joined in the tribute to Rowan in the parking lot, and the prayer before we walked up the hill. They walked around the grounds with us all, and they joined in the group photos, with their fists held high...just like Rowan. Before they left (after more than 2-3 hours with our group) they stopped Brian and I to let us know that they had to leave, but thanked us for allowing them to join in. We told them how happy we were that they did. Arturo and his wife told us, "Everything happens for a reason. We were supposed to be late today, so we missed our group, and came here instead. We needed this. We needed to be here." Isn't that just so Rowan? Complete strangers spent the day with us, drove 62 miles with us, prayed with us, and left prayer rocks at the foot of a 77 ft cross in the Texas hill country with us. Thank you Rowan;)
2. On the way to Kerrville, one rider lost control on the highway and his bike went off the road right in front of our car, going over 70 miles per hour. I avoided hitting him. We all pulled over immediately, jumped out of our vehicles and ran to the scene...both the rider and the bike were unscathed. He had miraculously flipped off the bike as it hit the ground in the median. He hopped to his feet and was fine! I couldn't believe it at first, but then I imagined Rowan's angel, grabbing his shoulders and pulling him to safety as his bike went down. The rider was able to restart the bike and continue the rest of the ride. We were all so relieved and thankful, praising God for that protection, so that each and every rider arrived safely at the cross.
4. After our time at the cross, I was telling several of the GOC that I wish we had known about this place before, so we could have brought Rowan to see it. Just as I said, "He would have loved it here." A huge, bright yellow Monarch Butterfly, didn't just fly by us, it flew through us...weaving it's way through our crowd. Again, Briana and I looked at each other, smiled and said, "Rowan". He was showing us that he was indeed there.
We didn't walk straight up to the top right away though. First, all the bike and car riders gathered in the parking lot. The artist who created the cross had heard that we were all coming, so he was there to explain the purpose of the cross, and the prayer garden all around it. He asked me more about Rowan's story, everyone prayed over Brian and I, the Guardians of the Children, and then for the staff and the work being done there at the Empty Cross.
It was so emotional to walk around reading them.
There were tears, of course, because we miss our son so very much every minute of every day...but we felt his presence, urging us all onward, reminding us "Love your Life", "Make the Good", "Hope".
The fellowship with this amazing group of people, the Guardians of the Children...was priceless. It is so evident, the love they have for Rowan, and our entire family, and how much they have kept "Hope" in their hearts and minds.
A beautiful day to sit outside, eat, drink and share our memories of Rowan. We laughed, and we cried...but we truly enjoyed the day together with each other, and with "Hope" in our hearts.