Monday, December 16, 2013

with us

You will be experienced as a blessing - to the extent you have first experienced yourself as blessed.

When you set feet on holy ground the words don't come easy.  


For two weeks I have been sitting on a story that seems more like a work of art than a series of events.  It's hard to paint that kind of picture with paltry words.  
Today I finally decided it's better to tell a good story inadequately than to never tell it at all...

We were at my in-laws lake house when I got the text.

I read the words once...twice...and still the disbelief remained.  I spoke them aloud to Joey making the situation slightly clearer in my mind.

Before Lucy was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes I did not know a single T1D child.  Almost exactly one month after we were discharged from the hospital I found it so hard to believe that our little world suddenly included one more.

My friend Amy was on the other end of that text.  Just a couple of weeks before, her family had been at my house...had seen our new life of blood sugar checks and insulin shots.  I had detailed for her all of Lucy's symptoms and the series of events that led us to the hospital. 

On this post-thanksgiving day, all of that information suddenly came in very handy for Amy.

Her sister, Anne, was in town visiting from DC for the holiday.  Anne and her husband have three children.  The youngest is five...just like Lucy.  His name is Ford and, according to the text, they had just taken him to urgent care with the same symptoms Lucy had displayed a month earlier.  Hours later he would be officially diagnosed - Type 1 Diabetes.

It was late but I called anyway.
When I heard Amy's voice on the line the tears pushed their way up.  I listened to her relay the story of her nephew and every bit of what we'd just climbed out from under fell heavy on me again.
I could hardly believe that I had already found myself on the other side.
Already looking at another family's grief and seeing my own.

Just like that.

Sometimes the biggest gift we are given in our grief is to be the gift to another.

My body and soul had been wrung out so dry that I felt like I might dissolve into nothing...
and suddenly all that nothingness might be something to someone else.

As we drove back into town I explained to Lucy...
There is a little boy named Ford.  He is five just like you.  He was at the hospital just like we were and has just found out he has diabetes.  Remember how we were sad and scared and not sure what to do at first.  I bet that's how he is feeling.  We are going to help.  

It's an amazing thing to be able to help when you yourself feel helpless.

We stopped by the store on the way and without hesitation Lucy began choosing things for the friend she had not yet met - a stuffed dog, snacks that are 'good for your diafetes', a funny card...

I will never forget walking along the sidewalk up to Amy's house.  It was dark and Christmas lights were flashing from the neighbor's house.  Ford stood on the front porch waiting as Lucy approached - gifts in hand.

He spoke first in a tiny but strong voice...
Hi. I have 'diabedience' too.

Lucy looked at me, puzzled, as if to say - wait a minute, he has 'diabedience' and I have 'diafetes'...that's not the same.

I quickly interjected - You must be Ford.  Yes...you and Lucy both have diabetes.

This is the part where the words break down and I wish I could strap you into Marty McFly's DeLorean and take you back with me.

Back to the moment I saw his small frame and big grin and knew all too well the war raging in his body.

Back to the moment when Lucy looked him in the eye and handed him the card she had carefully chosen and written.
Back to the moment when I wrapped my arms around his mama and a thousand unspoken truths passed between us.

Back to the moment we sat down together - father and mother alongside father and mother - to pour out our collective grieving hearts.

Back to the moment when I listened to my husband honestly recount his struggles and yet offer heaping piles of hope up in his hands.

Back to the moment when I called it what it was - so very hard - and all of our eyes glassed over because we understood completely.

Back to the moment when two little brave ones each grabbed their bags and sat down at the table next to each other.

Back to the moment when three families circled around them and watched as she taught him how to prick and check all by himself...and he did.

Back to the moment when they each realized they were not alone.

Back to the moment when even the grown-ups were reminded...we are not alone.

I wish Lucy didn't have diabetes.
I wish Ford didn't either.

But the things that take us to the depths of despair also take us to the depths of the One who overcomes that despair...who overcomes it all.

In this world we face trouble.
Jesus responds to that...
Take heart.  I have overcome the world.

That night at my friends house the ground beneath our feet was holy because in that place Jesus was overcoming.  He was overcoming our pain and our sorrow and our loneliness with something more powerful...with Himself.  The weaving together of our lives wove us closer into Him.

It's why He came...to be with us.
Immanuel. 
It's what every one of these December days is leading us to...the reality of God with us.

Ford could have received his diagnosis on one of the dozens of days when he was back home in DC instead of the handful of ones he spent here in Charlotte.  It was not only a gift for his family that it turned out the way it did...it was a gift for ours too.  Times like those are a rare opportunity to see  the plans of heaven gently unfolding in front of you.  And you remember...every bit of it all carries meaning and purpose.

That night four grieving parents huddled together with little ones on arms and legs, speaking prayers and shedding tears...
because the trials of this life are so stinkin' hard, and at the same time so incredibly sacred.

Just when fear seems to have you in its grip you realize that a slight shift of letters...of perspective...changes scared to sacred.

Sacred means something connected to God
something not of this world
something that deserves our reverance.

When our weary hands lay those trials down at His feet He transforms them into something sacred...
something that connects us to Him
something not of this world.
something that deserves our reverance.

Sacred is difficult to describe but unmistakable when experienced...
it's why I wish you had been there.

To experience
the connectedness of two broken families,
the opportunity for our nothingness to be offered as something,
the reality that in this world full of trials and despair we are not alone...He is with us.