Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Treasuring Today

We want to propose an idea that we have mulled over. We are asking you (yes…you) to consider e-mailing us what Eliot’s life, or a similar occurrence, has taught you. You may be a longtime friend, a new friend through this blog, or someone we have never met…whatever the case, please consider taking the time and effort to write out what you have learned. It can be a sentence, paragraph, or book-length. You need not be eloquent, just honest. You could also repeat or expound on a post or note you already sent us. E-mail your words to matt@ninetynineballoons.com. We may even post some of the responses.

Ginny was able to have a jewelry show last week in my hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The weather was terrible, but the show was good. She also has a show in the works for St. Louis soon. I am gearing up for law school finals. OK, I am dreading law school finals.

We recently have had the honor of getting to “e-meet” some families who have walked a similar road. We are always glad to hear the stories of others and love to talk to anyone who might need a resource.

We have sent out some questionnaires to groups conducting respite nights, and are looking at setting the date for our first one.

I, like you I am sure, have been following the tragedy at Blacksburg. The events have left me somewhat hesitant to write about my own life and struggles. Knowing I cannot imagine the hurts of another, I am left to do that which is all I can do…tell my story. But I do so with a heavy heart. Knowing my pain is only a drop in the ocean. I continue to relay the story of the drop that is my own.

This week Ginny and I continued some work on cleaning out Eliot’s room. We have worked at a turtle’s pace over time, doing some small things when we felt like it. As of late some big changes to his room have occurred. Ginny recently took down his crib and we both worked over the weekend on re-arranging some things. This nightmare exercise is something a parent should not have to do until their child is going to college. However, it was a joy to be immersed in a room that serves as a memorial of sorts to all that was Eliot: chicken socks, Alabama hat (too big), red converse (way too big), and stacks of animal-printed premi-outfits.

Ginny recently relayed the following truth with which she has been grappling.

As many of you already are aware, during Eliot’s life we celebrated each day with a birthday party. Rejoicing over each day was so easy while he was here. Psalm 139:16 has never been more true or evident than a day with Eliot.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

The truth of this verse came alive in our son. Each second, minute and hour was not supposed to occur. But the Father had determined otherwise. Eliot’s life was ordained. Such proposition is digested with ease, going down smoothly.

But now comes the coughing and choking that is the aftermath. Because, just as within Eliot’s sweet life, if I believe that lesson, I must acknowledge that today is ordained as well. The days with tears, even the days spent sifting through his room. All days, ordained.

Today is worth treasuring. In essence, today is my birthday, worthy of celebration. Because all days are prescribed for me by God.

This truth, while not fully grasped, has provided new perspective.

Happy Birthday.

18 comments:

jtcosby said...

Wow are you guys amazing. I cannot fathom your Faith...thank you.

Liza's Eyeview said...

Eliot reminds me to celebrate life and live each day to the fullest:

http://lizas-eyeview.blogspot.com/2007/04/rebecca-and-elliot.html

I will e-mail you when I get the chance.

Sarah said...

Eliot's life touched me so deeply, it's hard to put it into words. But I will think about how to articulate it and try to email it to you. I know that at the heart of it, it's about love. Anyway, I continue to pray for you guys that God would be near to your broken hearts and He would be your great Comfortor. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Anonymous said...

Most mornings find me here after work. I get off at 7 am and unwind till about 9:30. Sometimes that involves a brisk 1 or 2 mile walk, and sometimes it just involves sitting infront of this box punching keys. This morning it involves the box.
I just have to say Matt, you are a very gifted individual. I told Michelle this morning, "I wish I had been even half as bright when I was his age. He has wisdom, maturity and insight that are beyond his years."
I know she heard me say something because she looked over and smiled at me, but her earplugs were in, and she just turned her head and went back to her reading- she's about a quarter of the way through the "Master and Commander" series, and I fear she's considering leaving me for Captain Jack Aubrey of His Majesty's Royal Navy. Please don't misunderstand me, I don't want you to think that I am "praising you", although you are probably worthy of some praise, what I am saying is that you are blessed. Blessed with a gift that I have always wished that I possessed. You are able to express clearly complex feelings and emotions. You are able to grasp, and convey spiriual truths in simple, easy to grasp, everyday language. It simply leaves me smiling, and saying, "thanks God, thanks for using this hurting dad to speak Your comfort to me in my pain. Every day IS a GIFT. Every moment is a choice. Happiness is a byproduct of a lifestyle, the lifestyle is Joy. God is using Mackenzie, Eliot, Claire, and so many others to teach me these truths on a day by day basis. Thanks for being willing to be an instrument, thanks for sharing your gift!
Terrill Lambert
tal@zebra.net

Anonymous said...

I watched a video of pictures of Eliot and you talking to him. It brought tears to my eyes. This little boy was so beautiful! What an amazing witness to the world he was and still is.
Thank you so much!

Veronica

Jeanine said...

The mental image of the sad chore you had to endure is almost more than I can bear. You share your emotions so well and, even in the deepest sadness, somehow shine God's light of hope. It is amazing that I can read about such a sad day but walk away uplifted. God has truly given you a gift.

Chrystal Kuzel said...

The video detailing your son's life was beautiful and awe-inspiring. I thank you for allowing me to know your precious little Elliot! Hundreds of tears streamed down my cheeks as I watched the video.

We had to say goodbye to our precious baby girl, Abigail, only hours after her birth. We too found out early in our pregnancy (19 wks) that she would not live long after her birth because she had potters syndrome (No kidneys-bladder-ect). She decided to make her grand entrance at 34 weeks gestation. The Lord blessed us with 1 hour and 19 minutes, and then he took her into his Arms.

It took me so long- years, to come to grips with her passing. Although I did not blame it on God- I could not look at her life/passing with a "Happy Heart"- The "whys" and "could've beens" just flooded my heart and mind.

I am thankful to say that the Lord has helped to me to see her life with "Great Joy!” I am so blessed to have had such a special child.

When the Lord sees it fit to call me "Home", it will be that much sweeter because she is there waiting.

I am so thankful that you and your wife have been at peace with the Lord's Plans for your son from the beginning. I have truly been touched and inspired by your enteries.

Blessed was and is your precious Son to have such wonderful parents. May the Lord bless you both.

~Chrystal
Wife to Ken
And Mommy to Five Blessings

natalie said...

I'm not sure how to tell you how much Eliot's life impacted my own. I just watched 99 Balloons and sit here with tears of absolute joy on my face. Ginny is a sorority sister of a good friend of mine who passed along your blog a few days after Eliot's birth. Each Wednesday evening, I rushed in from church to read your posts--first to celebrate Eliot's accomplishments with you in prayer of thanksgiving and then to cry with you in rememberance. I still rush in to read your posts. Now to find how how you are doing and how you are healing. I am a better Christian because I have watched (er...read) your walk with Christ in celebration, grief, healing and every emotion in between. I am definitely, without a doubt, a better mother because I have seen true parenting and unconditional love in your relationship with your son. I am even a better wife because you and Ginny are so true and so real with one another. I am able to be more honest--I'm learning that sugar-coating is not beneficial. It's okay to hurt and to tell someone you are hurting. It's okay to stand with someone who is hurting and be powerless to take that hurt away from them--just standing there is a powerful thing to do.

Thank you. Thank you from the very core of my being for sharing with us. You will never know the true impact of your life on those of us you will only meet when we are both with our Lord.

In Christ,
Natalie
Macon, GA

Meghan said...

Hey guys,

I too know that awful chore of clearing out a room that you finally realize inevitably cannot be what you wish so badly it still was. My son Ricky died a year and a half ago - he was almost 13 months.

I have loved reading about Eliot... watching the video... I can truly understand much of your heart, your love, and your anguish. Thanks for making yourselves so vulnerable. It really is therapeutic isn't it? You can read about Ricky if you like... our website is the following:

www.littlemanricky.com

God bless you both as you continue to live those days that have been ordained... Meghan Johnson

Anonymous said...

Man someone told me to look at your video and i felt the spirit near! It is a awesome video! My daughter Madison was born Jan 26, 2007 with myotonic muscular dystrophy and ohtahara syndrome! God has been here for my husband and I this whole time! No one is promised tomorrow, we are enjoying every minute with Madison cause we dont know when God may need her with him but she has been a blessing! Any questions feel free to email me at asaucier0703@yahoo.com! Your video was such a great encoragement to me! May God bless you! Your son is touching so many lives! More than many have done in 50 years! Yall are not alone!

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RACHIE said...

I cannot imagine going through something like this. My son faced death in the NICU and I was so scared. Thank you for sharing this story. I will remember Eliot and his brave fight. I will hold my children a little closer each night. Our lives here are so fragile. Eliot's has left a legacy for those left behind. You are a couragous couple. Thanks for sharing your story. I know you will see your son again. Families are eternal.

still SEARCHing... said...

I've been following this since I met you guys at the NICU reunion. When I go back to that blog entry and I remember that day and how happy you all were, how happy all were to see you. Eliot is proof that everything happens for a reason. One glance at this blog tells you how one baby who can't walk, talk or do anything most would consider 'extraordinary' can touch so many people...and he never met most of them. But, he had to live, and to die...but his effect on his will remain forever in how those of us who've been reading and blogging with you view life, our families and friends.

Anonymous said...

Someone told me that in the midst of suffering you will be what you practice everyday. It is evident in your words that the Lord is central to your life everyday. And you have declared Him a Good God despite the choices he has for you. You have chosen to obey and walk without complaint. That is a true sign of people in love with the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the verse from Psalms. My mother is in her last months of life after a 2 1/2 year battle with cancer. Your words and that verse really blessed me.

José Luis said...

Muchas gracias.
Sois maravillosos.
José Luis(Spain)

katia leon medina said...

hola!soy de peru...yo tambien soy madre y por eso los entiendo... los felicito... elliot desde el cielo les agradece que hayan luchado por el!
son un ejemplo de padres
dios los bendiga!
katia

Anonymous said...

when i saw this on oprah i thought it was the most amazing thing i have ever saw, or heard of. and i still do.