Friday, July 12, 2013

Jonah's Gift

This week I've been thinking a lot about Jonah.  Three years ago this week I was very overdue and anxiously awaiting his arrival.  I spent my days wondering if Jordan and I would ever agree on a name for him.  I spent my nights walking around our neighborhood, eating spicy curry, and turning like an alligator in a death roll instead of sleeping.  I imagined that Jonah's birth would change me.  But I could not possibly comprehend how his life would shape mine.   

I am so grateful to Jonah for helping me understand what it means to be a child of God.  His life helped me learn to love with my whole heart.  His challenges helped me grasp the beauty of an imperfect life.  His laugh made me laugh.  His smile made me smile.  Serving him helped me redefine exhaustion. Losing him taught me that pain is inevitably linked with love. 

Tonight as I sit in a dimly lit motel room in Rangely, Colorado I feel disoriented by the divergent paths our lives have taken.  I feel like I should be in the midst of potty-training and preschool preparation.  My heart still aches, and my arms long to hold him.  And yet, I have come to accept his absence as time has passed.  I accept it, but I still want to honor his life and celebrate my sweet Jonah on his third birthday. 

This year, like last year, I hope to honor Jonah's life through simple acts of service.  I invite you  to celebrate his life with me by mirroring his generous spirit.  Do something good on Jonah's birthday, July 14.  Be unusually kind.  Pay attention to the people around you.  Hug someone you love.  Call an old friend.  When you see someone in need help them. 

Keep it simple.  Jonah taught me that love is the simplest gift we give.  


P.S. I would love to hear what gifts you give in Jonah's memory this year. 

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.  Maya Angelou

8 comments:

  1. so grateful that you share with us

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    1. I'm so grateful for people like you who have supported and sustained us in our grief. Love your whole family!

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  2. I love this tradition, Julie. I'll be sure to honor Jonah today in small and simple ways.

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    1. Thanks Kathryn! That means a lot to me!

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  3. I already put his birthday on my calendar so that I wouldn't forget to do simple service. Missing you and thinking about you!

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    1. Rachel, you are awesome! I'm so grateful to work with you and to call you my friend.

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  4. Julie,
    I just found your blog off FB and wanted to say thank you for writing about your experiences. I profoundly appreciate your honesty, your testimony, and your putting things into a hopeful perspective despite your grief.

    You may not remember me, but we were in the same freshman ward in 1998-1999.

    I will do an act of service to honor Jonah before I go to bed. I hope today is a day full of sweet memories of him.

    Aimee Sherwood Olsen

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    1. Aimee,
      I do remember you (after some Facebook stalking)! How do you know Cassie Gadd. She and I taught together at Freedom Academy in Provo. Anyway, thank you for reaching out to me and for doing an act of service in Jonah's name. It means a lot to me!

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