Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bittersweet Birthday

We had such an AMAZING weekend!  It started Friday.  Dave and I and our friends Allison and Laban all went out to eat for my birthday.  We had quite the caretakers for Gabriel, Lily, and Soleil--some of our church's youth group and the youth director and his assistant were our babysitters!  We had been talking about letting the youth watch the kids, mainly so they could spend some time with Lily and have contact with a child with a disability.  It was so wonderful to be able to give them that opportunity, and I'm happy to say that they and my kids had a good time!

Later that night, Lisa and Bruce and Joey (Trisomy 18) came over to spend the night so they could share Lily's special birthday celebration with us!  They came from northern Georgia!  Lisa and I stayed up until 3:00 in the morning talking!  Whew!  But what a beautiful family and what a spectacular daughter they have!  Joey will be three in June, and she is such a cuddle bug!

Lily's party was exhausting, but it was such a joyous occasion!  I cannot express how perfect Peaceful Way was in capturing the atmosphere we wanted for her party.  A few people commented on the place and how it felt like God had His hands on it.  That's the kind of place for us!  We had at least 94 people in attendance, and the day was beautiful.  How blessed we are to have so many people who love Lily!  And how blessed we are to have the place donated for the use of Lily's party!  And to make it even better, we had two Trisomy 18 families with us:  Joey and her family and Kaylen and her family!

I thought that Sunday was going to be an ordinary day, but Dave had other plans. . .unbeknownst to me.  His family was in town as was my mom and Rani (Autumn was already here), and we were supposed to go out to eat after church.  But Dave wanted to stop by his school and show it to his sister and her girls.  Little did I know that this was all a ploy to get me there because he had planned a surprise birthday party!  But the biggest surprise was that my best friend, who lives in Florida, came up for it!  And so many other friends from church and my mom's group and other areas of my life were there to celebrate.  The day was perfect!

On Monday, I was still reeling from the excitement of the weekend.  It was Lily's birthday, and that added to the joy.  Then I got a text from my friend, Allison--the one we had just gone out to eat with on Friday, the one who was with us at Lily's party, and the one who helped Dave orchestrate my surprise party.  Her sister-in-law went into premature labor, and they were trying to slow it down.  Could I please pray for them?  My prayers went up, and later that day, I got a text saying that their son, Bennett, was born, but things were touch and go.  More prayers went up.  A little later, I got a third text:  little Bennett had gone to Heaven. 

I was in shock.  I was saddened that my friend had to go through this.  I was saddened for her brother and his wife.  Honestly, it was hard for me to wrap my head around the celebration of life that we had just had for Lily and the loss of life this family was mourning.  It's still hard.  It's in my nature to want to mend things when they go bad.  Oh, how I want to just make it all better for this family with the snap of my fingers.  But I have no magic wand.  And I know that even though it hurts, and boy does it hurt, there will be a day when the pain begins to subside, and that's when you begin to feel God's tender touch.  And you begin to realize that He's been there all along, and there is such beauty in knowing His comfort.  And that helps the pain subside more.  Because He is a loving God, and He is a gentle God, and He is a comforting God, and that is beautiful.  Oh, so beautiful.  That is grace, and that is what I pray this family is able to eventually feel.  After the pain. Because there will be pain. . .because there is love.

I found this poem today, and although it starts out a little harsh, it ends with such gentleness and tenderness.  The words just hug me so!  It's from Kahlil Gibran's book The Prophet, and it's from the section On Pain.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician
 within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink
 his remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is
 guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn
 your lips, has been fashioned of the clay
 which the Potter has moistened with His
 own sacred tears.
Oh, how I wish I could offer this family comfort.

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