Today we were given two beautiful gifts. I needed them. This morning as we drove to church Jordan and I both felt lazy and tired. Although our church is a beautiful place, full of people who love us and have supported us, it is also a place where we are constantly in conversation about ourselves. Kind, and charitable people want to know how we are doing, and sometimes there is little more to say than "we're okay." It feels unnatural to have so much attention upon us, especially for Jordan. So as we drove to church, in our malaise, I prayed that we would have an experience today that would lift us, and we did.
The second gift came just after we arrived home from church. The doorbell rang as I was making meatloaf. Hands filthy, I quickly washed them and rushed to the door, not sure who to expect. I opened the door to unfamiliar faces, a mother, a father and a son. The mother said, with tears in her eyes, that they heard about Jonah's passing and had a gift for us. On the porch was an adorable Thomas the Train Christmas tree from the Festival of Trees. This was no ordinary tree. This amazing tree was decorated by a family who lost one of their twin boys shortly after he was born. The card that came with the tree read:
This tree is a tribute to the love that a little boy has for his precious twin brother. Joshua and Caleb were born 5 years ago. Joshua stayed 5 weeks in the NICU and came home to his family just in time for Christmas. Caleb's stay in the NICU was for 3 short days before he returned to another home. As Joshua has grown, he has developed an awareness of Caleb and a desire to share the things he loves most with his buddy. Joshua loves trains and has donated his favorite Thomas to this tree. Caleb's other brothers and sister have also placed a train on this tree for Caleb.
Sometimes the emotion I feel seems too much for my body. I was so moved. The tree was purchased for us by the Live W/Elle Foundation, a foundation that was started after the tragic death of a beautiful 15 month old baby girl. It was brought to us by this kind and humble family.
I have truly been blessed with many gifts in the past 2 months. It is a gift to recognize that sorrow and heartache come to so many lives, that although my loss is unique my sorrow is not. It is a gift to know that I am not alone. It is a gift to be the recipient of Christ-like love and service from friends and neighbors, as well as total strangers. It is a gift to receive service that is given without the expectation of recognition, or reward. It is a gift to find connection with other mothers and fathers and families who have lost loved ones. It is a gift to feel true love poured out upon me. These are gifts given to me by my Heavenly Father, who loves me, and knows me. They come to me through His children, who know Him and love Him. I am so grateful.