Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Through a Glass Darkly

This post was not my original blog post for tonite --- in fact, I have entertained a few different ideas as the day progressed. I even sat in the cafeteria at the pediatric hospital where my daughter was healed - 6 times - of a failing heart, writing a post out with pen and paper before my support group meeting tonite. Yet, I am not posting that story this evening, either.

You see, a sweet, sweet mommy-to-be told me something tonite that took my breath away. And I have to write it down. I pray that this story would reflect my heart this evening. And I pray, too, that in spite of my bumbling chatter after she shared her story with me, that she would know truly, truly how much she touched my heart. What you said, S, makes everything much clearer. As the Bible says, For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

It is not often that God lifts the veil in this see clearly the path of our struggles and to give it meaning. Why do we suffer? Why is it allowed? S, you have given me - and my family - an Amazing Gift tonite...You have clarified, at least in part, the reason we have been where we have been...

In providing a little history, a sweet young woman and her loving husband attended one of our heart support group meetings several months ago. As is so sadly the case in today's medically advanced world, with so many children with heart defects being born and living abundant lives, this young couple, pregnant just through the middle of her second term, was told by a medical professional that their unborn baby had a heart condition and recommended that they consider terminating the pregnancy. Obviously devastated, the couple then visited a pediatric cardiologist who painted a completely different picture of life, with surgeries, but life and eventual health with their still-growing, inside mommy, baby girl. This couple then attended one of our heart parent support group meetings. They shared their emotions, their frustrations, their joys and their sorrows with us. And we embraced them, knowingly, compassionately, lovingly. It is a path many of us know too well - discovering before she is born that your dear baby has a heart defect.

Through the course of the next several months, this mommy-to-be opened up even more with us. She shared her heart. She let us in on her struggles - dealing with this unplanned bump in the road during this, her first pregnancy. Much of the innocence, much of the joy of those first maternal feelings of anticipation and excitement having been stolen from her with that initial diagnosis, she awaits the unknown day when she will deliver her precious bundle only to have that newborn baby whisked away to an operating room to correct a defect - the smatter on a glowing green screen that indicates this baby, this baby that kicks and hiccups within her growing belly, is just. not. quite. perfect. to the rest of the world.

This baby will share my daughter's name. I noted that when I first read the email sharing her name with our group. And Mommy noted it to me tonite. On a certain night several months ago, when this young couple attended their first support meeting, I brought my kids with me. And S saw Pookie. And though she and her husband had considered Pookie's name before this meeting, they had decided to consider other names. S shared that when they saw Pookie, however, she and her husband decided it was a sign. Pookie is so strong now. So vivacious. So full of life. She is a fighter. And to this mom and dad, that gave them Hope for their Little Pookie.

In living the life we have led with Pookie, Meiners, T and Baby S - I circle back time and time again to the fact that we go through our experiences in this life so that we can help others. It is what gives our life meaning. It is what allows us to praise Our Maker at all times. Tonite, this young, scared, overwhelmed, but blessed young mommy-to-be gave me a gift she may not even begin to understand --- until she, too, one day sits on this side of her struggles. S, I do pray that you understand I had to write this down for my own baby --- that she would see that her life is precious. She has a purpose here. And so does your baby. I cannot wait to meet her.

In fact, I wish that all of you could see these kids. See how lovely they are. How much we, their parents, love them. I thank God that most of you will never have to see what we, as parents of children with heart defects, have seen. Or that your babies will have to survive what ours have survived. But, when it is possible, I thank God, too, that He shows us His Divine Plan. Everything happens for a reason. Most of the time we will not discern the reason. Tonite, I saw more clearly. I am forever humbled. I am forever grateful.
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