Tomorrow is the 35th anniversary of the birth of my beautiful and wonderful daughter Jen. It’s hard to believe 35 years have passed. I still remember holding her in my arms for the first time. She was so tiny and beautiful, with dark curls pasted all over her head. I remember lying in the hospital bed looking at her, and running my finger over her little nose. I had actually come to fear that I wasn’t able to have a baby. I got on my knees and prayed one day, grieving because I was once again not pregnant, and then came to find out later that I was. I call her my miracle child because of how that happened. It’s kind of funny, because then when I got pregnant with my other two children, neither one was planned and they were both surprises…as it turns out, wonderful surprises. I love all 3 of my children.
I’ve been thinking of life and death and just the journey. This week has been interesting. Sunday, one of my husband’s nieces had a beautiful baby boy. What a miracle he is. Then 2 days ago we lost Andy Griffith, a beloved icon to so many generations who have been touched by his presence on the television, either having grown up with Opie on the Andy Griffith show as I did, or later on in reruns of that and Matlock, as well as some movies he made.
That same day, my Aunt Gloria passed away. Most of my memories of her are from my childhood. I didn’t get to see her many times in adulthood. But I remember her laugh, and her crooked smile…almost always present when I saw her. She loved my Uncle John (my father’s younger brother) and he loved her. Uncle John passed away quite a few years ago, and Aunt Gloria never remarried, and I’m not sure she ever even dated anyone else. I think when you have a truly great love like that, it’s hard to ever find anyone who can meet up with the expectations that must be there.
This morning, Pastor Mike, the assistant pastor at my church passed away, after a long battle with cancer. I didn’t know him very well, as did others in my church, but I know he was a good man, and that even in the midst of his struggle with cancer, he served. Even when he was in pain, he was still serving, up to the point where he no longer was able to, because the pain was just too great.
Life is full of loss, and of wonderful blessings too, like the birth of a child. Like the celebration of the life of my daughter, who has known loss and struggles in her life, but continues to serve and to love the Lord…and to be a great blessing in my life.
I don’t have all the answers to all that is found in this journey. But I do know that life is short. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way, when you’re going through struggles of some kind. But while I sometimes feel the sadness of the losses, or the weight of my struggles, I am thankful for God who loves me…and thankful for all the people He has put in my life…for all of you. I have moments of sadness, but mostly I feel incredibly blessed and thankful.
This weekend I will celebrate the life of my daughter, and the life of Pastor Mike along with my church family, and I pray that God will help me do better each day I have here to just be kind…to speak kindness…and to think it too. If my life, such as it is, can make the journey of others better instead of worse, then and only then is it worth it. I pray that when I’m gone, those who knew me will be able to say that they were blessed by my life more than they were pained by it. 🙂 I do know I can be a pain at times.
Love and blessings to you all,