This lovely post from my friend Mary Elizabeth just brought tears to my eyes. She describes the choice to be grateful for the 19 days she had with her son Warren before medical error ended his life, rather than anguished and sad. I’m struck by how, when you’ve lost something precious, this choice comes up again and again over the years. You don’t just make it once and move on; thoughts and feelings and reminders bubble up and demand attention, and we choose the lens we’ll look through, every single time. Sometimes we choose a different lens. That’s okay. Mary Elizabeth’s description of how and why she’s choosing to be grateful this year on the anniversaries of his birth and death is like a primer on the life of faith: God’s Word and promises are always the same, and yet new in each season.
What I love about Mary Elizabeth’s blog is that she describes a process. She didn’t arrive at “grateful” immediately after Warren died. Hers is not chirpy fake happiness to make everyone feel better. There have been the full range of emotions, sometimes swirling around at the same time competing for attention. And yet as she lives into the specifics of her life, she is gifted to describe to us how God is there, in the midst of the swirl: present, comforting, leading the way forward. It’s the hope of a way forward that makes me tear up. If you’ve been through something unthinkable, that hope is a miracle.
The other thing that I love about Mary Elizabeth’s journey is how well she commemorates. That’s an awkward sentence, but I’m so inept at this I’m not even sure how to describe it. To read her blog is to watch as she marks milestones, remembers what God has done, and looks into the past again and again as God gives her new eyes and insight to see the bigger picture of what He’s doing. Her gift of celebration inspires me. I want to be someone who remembers, who celebrates, and who lets God recalibrate my understanding of what has happened before and what it means now.
Please join me today in celebrating sweet Warren. He was here on earth for just 19 days, and yet inspires so many of us thanks to his mother and her gift for words. I’m grateful.