I can’t believe its only been a day since I last wrote. It’s been quite the day.
I keep looking down at the the calendar and seeing “February 19th.” To most people it’s just another day…but to me it will always be the day I had thought we would be meeting and holding and kissing and loving baby Charlie. The day I had thought we would be celebrating a lifetime of birthdays. Charlie’s “due date” was exactly one year ago today, and February 19th will never be the same. He isn’t here. He just isn’t here. No matter how badly I had wished for a different story. And there have been many times during this last year of deep and catastrophic suffering, when I have wondered “Is God even really here either?”
And then…two significant things happened this week.
First, I wrote a blog post about our life, and it was like waking a sleeping giant…so great has been the outpouring of love from the body of Christ. I had no idea that thousands upon thousands of people would read our blog today. Honestly, if I had known…I would have tried to make it an especially good one. Really impressed you with my eloquence, and the absolute enormity of our suffering. But that was the farthest thing from my mind at the time. I wrote yesterday’s blog post on my smart phone. While brushing my teeth. I wrote it while waiting for the cancer doctor to call me back. And while Clorox-wiping down our new couch for like the ten billionth time. I wrote it while in fear. Fear of mycotoxins. Fear of cancer. Fear of liver failure. Fear of bankruptcy. Fear of losing my faith. Fear of losing everything.
And then…it went viral. And all of a sudden, this thing I had quickly typed out to my family and friends…turned into something else entirely. The only picture I have to adequately describe what we are feeling…is that scene from the movie Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese general Isoroku Yamaoto says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.”
It’s like God has immobilized a thousand warriors who love Him and fear His name, and everyone is reaching out to us like a living, moving, breathing, loving Body of Christ. There are so many times that we have felt deeply loved by the body of Christ both before, and especially after baby Charlie died. But this is an entirely different thing. This, makes me stop and say to myself…“Do I know God at all actually?” I am astonished by the outpouring of His Body. His hands. His feet. His elbows. His voice. And it makes me wonder how well I really do know the One to whom I have given my life.
I have known Him deeply through suffering. I have known His comfort. I have known His sovereignty. I have known that He gets right down on the floor next to you and weeps with you every time you lay on the floor and weep. But I’m not sure I knew this about Him. This whole, “I’ve got all the money in the world and a million warriors who fight when I say “Fight!” …I’m not sure I’ve ever really known that about the one who is my King.
Which reminds me of the second thing that happened this week. I had taken the kids to our neighborhood park by the beach. Three kids packed on a very old Bob stroller is always an amusing sight. But as we passed by the local shipyard, the owner called out to me, “Hey there! Just let me know if you decide to have a fourth and I can custom make you room for another on that thing!”
He of course, had no idea how much those words would wound my heart. But what most made me ache, was when my sweet Freddo turned and quietly whispered to me, “He doesn’t know that there’s six of us Mommy. He just doesn’t really see.”
It was a significant moment for me. Here’s Fred. Four. Years. Old. So new to this planet, let alone to what it’s like to journey through this planet trying to love and worship a God whom you can’t even see.
And yet, he can see.
Fred sees and knows and loves baby Charlie. He doesn’t need Charlie to be in the stroller…in order to see that he’s a part of our family. He still comes up to me every time we’re in Trader Joe’s with a lollypop he’s picked out of the barrel to give to Charlie. The other day he came to me with yet another sucker and said, “Mommy, I got one for Charlie…we can give it to him when he comes back with Jesus someday.” My precious boy. Waiting for the return of Christ. Waiting to finally meet the baby brother whom he knows only from one ultrasound visit and way too many visits to a grave. Waiting for the whole world to see what we who know Christ are so undeservedly privileged to see. Waiting for things that he can clearly see…a Father in heaven, and a real baby brother he will someday know and love for eternity.
Waiting for someone that the shipyard owner simply couldn’t see.
As we walked away from the docks, I remember having the strangest thought (especially considering our week), “I wonder what I can’t see?” Our sight is so very limited. About…well, everything. About our own lives. About other people’s lives as they suffer around us in ways we cannot see. About eternity, and the heart of God, and the incredible world we will someday see on the new earth with our new eyes.
And today, over these last 24 hours and your incredible outpouring of love and support…you have reminded me that for each one of us who make up the many parts of Christ’s earthly Body…there is still so much of Him we have yet to truly see.
Thank you for showing us such a beautiful picture of the Lord’s heart for us today. For being willing to take a moment from your day and to see a small part of our messy, broken, God-ordained lives. They have been filled with far more sorrow and suffering than I ever could have comprehended…and also far more goodness and beauty.
He really is the same God today in every way, as He has been to us on every one of our darkest days. He is not more God, or more good than yesterday, just because we have seen Him in new ways. But at the same time, I am grateful for this moment when we get to see yet another part of the Lord’s immeasurable beauty.
I have this picture in my mind of the hundreds of times I have laid on the floor and wept over this last year of suffering. And I’m beginning to wonder if maybe just maybe the angels weren’t standing around me and quietly whispering just like Freddo the other day, “She just doesn’t know…she just can’t see.”
Thank you doesn’t begin to describe our gratitude to God as you- His body- have made our faith in His goodness…tangible sight in so many ways.