It was Sunday morning and I was on a run. Lila had been asking to go and it was a decent temperature and the snow was clear, so I bundled and re-bundled the kids and set off. I was a couple weeks behind on listening to Willow Creek’s podcast and so I picked up where I left off. (Click to watch)
I don’t know why, but my mind kept wandering.
I started thinking about Charlie. Charlie was born just before my son Daniel was born. He was immediately diagnosed with Pulminary Hypertension. He had open heart surgery before he was even a day old. He fought for 6 months and passed away. He was survived by his Mother, Father and handsome big brother. I followed his story on Facebook and prayed and prayed for this beautiful boy. Each time Danny hit a little milestone, I was so happy for him, but it always brought me back to this baby, Charlie. I would pray for him. I would pray for his parents. I couldn’t wrap my mind around their suffering and also their joy. It’s been a month since Charlie passed. Again, I’ve never met him, but I can’t stop thinking about him. His charming smile, that I’ve only seen in pictures, flashes into my mind and reminds me that life is so fragile and not a single one of us is guaranteed another moment. He inspires me in ways that, even as a writer, I can’t put into words. (If you want to read more about Charlie, please go to Scribblesandcrumbs.com. His mother, Lexi, is an insightful and inspiring writer who is boldly sharing their story)
Another mile in, and my mind wandered once more. To an all too familiar place. My dear friend, Katie. We lost her suddenly when we were only nineteen. Katie. She was beautiful. The kind of girl that drew everyone’s attention the moment she walked into a room. She was a little nymph with captivating, kind, and freckled eyes. She was a light. A spitfire. An artist. Genuine and intentional before those were even buzzwords in the Christian community. She was and is the real deal. Losing her rocked me. It rocked us all. We gathered in the the Haecker’s basement to seek refuge, pour over pictures and fondly recall memories. I’ve never felt so vulnerable in my life. I was thinking about her, as I catch myself doing more often than is probably normal. I wish she could meet my husband and kids. I wish we could have iced coffee on her back porch again. I wonder what she would be doing? What would she look like? I bet her phone would be full of pictures of her adorable niece and nephew. I bet she’d still have that contagious way of bursting into laughter at the silliest things. I bet she’d be so proud of each of us. We’d be so proud of her.
I’m snapped back into the present. The wet, cold air ripping through my lungs. I hear Bill’s voice. “One summer afternoon the parents got the phone call every parent dreads…” My breathing caught. Katie. He’s talking about Kate. Just like that I collided with my grief. He recalled the story of that day.
I ugly cried, on and off, the rest of the run home. I tried to connect the dots. How can there be so much pain and suffering in this world? How can we live on when things like these happen?
The only thing I have right now, is another question.
How, then, shall we live?
I can’t pretend terrible things don’t happen. I can’t pretend they won’t happen to me. I can only live each day for something more. Holding fast to the Anchor for my soul. Honoring those lost by living better and more intentionally because of them. I know so many of my readers and my friends are reading this right now in the midst of a ferocious storm, it is dark and it feels hopeless and permanent. Can I just encourage you to listen to one message? You can listen to the podcast, or watch the video here. Bill says it way better than I can say it myself. There is hope in God.
Brooke Frasier sings,
When the world is falling out from under me, I’ll be found in you, still standing”
It is well with my soul.