Yesterday was a hard day. A friend, who I know through a homeschooling forum I'm part of, held her 6 year old daughter as she died. This is the time when I *hate* having friends that live so stinkin' far away. She's in Maine, for goodness' sake.
I've never met her in real life but through sharing stories, homeschooling moments, and great coffee options available, I got to know her and her family.
On October 4th I got to know her a whole lot better. Charlotte's birthday. The day where certain parts of our lives and personalities cracked into a different path, much like when a rock hits your windshield. You see, her daughter was born with Down Syndrome and also a congenital heart defect that put her into open heart surgery countdown from moment one. I have the most beautiful emails, FB messages, and such from her in those early days that will be even more treasured now. E told me life would still be beautiful. She told me I would love Charlotte. E told me it would be hard, but we would make it. She helped explain some things that were scarier than moving to a foreign country. E was an encouragement in ways that no one else was able to be.
She IS an encouragement in ways no one else can be, even still.
Her daughter developed a type of Luekemia 2 years ago and it has been a fight from the get-go. Recently, it came back. Yesterday she went home to Jesus. I can't even begin to imagine that crack in the path that E, her husband, and her sons now face. Pray for them, please.
I have been sent a few emails and messages from mutal friends checking in with me to see how I'm doing. You see, with Down Syndrome, there can be an increased possibility of developing Luekemia and those sweet sisters are concerned about triggers. It surprised me to read that the first time, but not in a panic, 'what if' sense, but in a 'gee wiz, I didn't know that' kind of way.
If Charlotte's arrival and days are teaching me anything, it's that we only have today. I do have a more fragile sense of life, but that may have more to do with getter older than any one thing in particular. I imagine that this lesson is one that has been gradually growing...possibly through the most basic of lessons of just living LIFE and in a more blatent way, living in a different country and realizing that having running water every time I turn on the faucet isn't necessarily a given. This isn't an overnight, 'now, I've got it' skill. God is gracious and gentle that way, even when He has to show me for the bijillionth time.
Tomorrow isn't available to us, no matter how much we think it is. Yesterday is over. I will not borrow mental trouble or worries for tomorrow. I need to be in TODAY. Personally, I choose not to live in 'what if' all the while realizing that my heart will occasionally go there, especially on bittersweet dates. This is not a bad thing. Today, we are praying like crazy for E and her family. Today, we are wiping tears because our earthly minds and hearts can't fully understand the 'why'. Today, we are rejoicing over M's healed and heavenly body. Today, we are thanking God for our today.
Pray for and hug your people, folks. Today you have them....