Still basking in the afterglow

As I posted briefly on Friday night, this weekend I’ve been very aware of the richness we find in the unexpected.  We didn’t expect Rudy to join our family.  We certainly didn’t expect him to have to battle like he has.  I’ll go as far to say I hate that he has to battle like he does.  I’m quite certain I’ll never get to a place where I can wholeheartedly say I’m grateful for his condition.

But yet I’m so grateful right now.

Grateful that within that which has scared us like nothing else in our lives, we have found comfort.  We have found empathy and companionship that truly lifts the soul.  We have seen character, compassion and fortitude blossom in our kids.  We’ve learned about our own endurance and ability to function in the midst of extended challenge.  We’ve met people who amaze us in their expertise and devotion.  We’ve been blessed and been made aware of God’s goodness in brand new ways.

I am so grateful for Friday night’s dedication celebration.  Life can become a blur in the land of critically ill children.  Stints in the hospital can go on indefinitely.  One can emerge from one set of challenges only to face another.  The goal of survival can trump a balanced engagement of life.  Instead of feeling involved in things, you struggle with how much you’ve missed.

Having a clear milestone amidst the disorientation is precious to us.  We were able to look back and rejoice over what Rudy’s overcome.  We were able to set our sights forward and pray for his future—a thoughtful, hopeful prayer rather than a rushed and panicked one in a hospital hallway.  We were able to be together with so many precious people who have helped us in shouldering this burden.  So thank you to all for being a part.

In the calm weekend that has followed Friday night, I’ve enjoyed asking the kids what their favorite part was.  Olivia gave us permission to share her journal entry for Friday (below) and we clearly see that it was a significant celebration for all of them.  I so appreciated Walter’s observation on Philippians 4 that we find joy not because of life’s circumstances but often in spite of them.  I loved Uncle Bob’s specific word to Wilson, Max and Olivia on how he has seen them respond to the circumstances facing our family.  I loved the slideshow and the worship.  Missed out on most of the food because I was having too much fun visiting, but love that Sydney and her team blessed us with the leftovers (those PB&J bars have got to be illegal).

A future blogger perhaps?
A future blogger perhaps?

For those who couldn’t join us, we’ll work to get some pictures up and on-line shortly but in the meantime I’ll wet your whistle with the lyrics to the song we asked Marlin to sing (and in hindsight, we feel it was very unfair to ask anyone to try to sing in that room with very few dry eyes).  As Trish mentioned in the program, it’s a song we’ve played in our house repeatedly around the birth of each of our kids as it’s been our prayer for all of them.  All the more for Rudy on this week as a true smile has finally emerged:

Sunrise of your Smile–Michael Card

Reject the worldly lie that says,
That life lies always up ahead,
Let power go before control becomes a crust around your soul,
Escape the hunger to possess,
And soul-diminishing success,
This world is full of narrow lives,
I pray by grace your smile survives.

For I would wander weary miles,
Would welcome ridicule, my child,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile,
To see the light behind your eyes,
The happy thought that makes you fly,
Yes, I would wander weary miles,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile.

Now close your eyes so you can see,
Your own unfinished memories,
Now open them, for time is brief,
And you’ll be blest beyond belief,
Now glance above you at the sky,
There’s beauty there to blind the eye,
I ask all this then wait awhile,
To see the dawning of your smile.

For I would wander weary miles,
Would welcome ridicule, my child,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile,
To see the light behind your eyes,
The happy thought that makes you fly,
Yes, I would wander weary miles,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile.

 

The time of dedication ended with a prayer for Rudy from Philippians 4:4-7…we share a paraphrase of it below and ask, humbly, that you join us in praying these verses over Rudy that he may experience the richness of a life lived knowing the nearness and love of God.

Dearest Rudy,

Delight yourself in the Lord

Yes, and find your joy in Him

Be known for your gentleness and never forget the nearness of our God

And don’t worry – whatever is going to come

Just tell God every detail and the peace of God that no one understands will come to you

No, don’t worry

Just tell Him every detail and His peace will come to you.