Thursday, June 07, 2007

Back Home

Well, we have returned from our hiatus. Good times and good people in St. Louis and Louisiana. Ginny had a jewelry show in both locations and we were able to see some family in the metropolis that is Lake Providence. Our friends, Paul and Heather, got a little introduction to LP and then we all headed off to the cabin for some R&R.

You know, you learn all kinds of things about your friends when you buddy up on vacation with them. Suffice it to say, I think we all had a good time- boating, fishing, playing basketball. Well, actually, witnessing someone attempt to play basketball was more painful than I could convey. No names will be mentioned.

We are continuing progress toward hosting a respite night. Similar programs in Dallas, Tx. and Covington, La. have been a huge help as we have gathered information, policies, and documents. Much remains to be done, but excitement is growing each step of the way.

We have been amazed and humbled as the video of Eliot has found its way overseas. Through youtube, many folks from other countries have recently contacted us to let us know that they have seen the video. This has been quite unexpected and has made for some great reading as people attempt to bridge the language gap in order to let us know that Eliot’s story has impacted them. Thanks to you all.

As the video has gained attention, something else has happened which I wish to address. Many “pro-life” websites or organizations have turned an ear to Eliot’s story. You will notice, that this is the first time those two words have been used here. This is no accident.

Before rushing to make our son the poster boy for this movement, I would like to air our hearts on the matter. We strongly hesitate to address this divisive topic because this is not the place for political debate or, for that matter, your opinion. This is a website we created to keep others updated on our son. Unfortunately, the focus is now on us, as we are left here without him.

Many people have wondered- aloud or quietly- why we are willing to allow others to be witness to what is the hardest thing either of us has ever been through. Aside from the selfish (in some small way, it helps), we do it because we believe Eliot’s story is the most unbelievable thing we have ever been a part of; we actually think his is not only a story of immense pain, but of undeniable joy.

His is a story we cannot explain; so we just tell it.
His short life screamed out truth, and we are left to echo in whispers.

So, tell his story and we will smile. But angle it to fit an agenda and we wince.

I guess I may or may not be “pro-life”.

If “pro-life” believes that life is a gift given by God, count me in. If “pro-life” means that all life is of worth, rather it be my son or an Iraqi man, sign me up. If it purports to love all persons, including those who have chosen to have an abortion, then “pro-life” I am.

However, if by “pro-life” you mean some of which I see, then please do not assume I am one of you. If “pro-life” means placing my hopes on the law of the land, then I must not be- because my hope resides elsewhere. If “pro-life” picks up a sign and shouts venom at another, then I cannot participate because I am just as guilty*.

I guess my decision is based upon your definition.

Some of the most encouraging e-mails we have received start something similar to this:

I am not a Christian. I am not pro-life. And I do not know what I would have done if I were faced with the same situation. But Eliot has impacted me.

Our son’s story is beyond me. It has taught many different things to many different people. It is a story that must be told in its entirety.

*John 8:7
If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.


Sara said...

Beautiful message, Matt.

Laura said...

I have been reading your site for a couple months now and look forward to your words each week. I just want to say how much I have learned from you, from Elliot, and from your family's love and commitment to each other and to your faith. The video is beautiful.

Liza's Eyeview said...

Well said Matt ... very well said.

It really boils down to a "personal relationship" with Christ. When one is confronted with a difficult decision, it is not the "pro-life or pro-choice" thing that matters - it's what "Lord, let us know what we need to do. Guide us in each and every step we take"...

I am glad you posted what you posted.

RANDIB said...

Matt and Ginny, I agree with what you have written. I too am glad you posted what you posted.
I just want say that I first learned and met Eliot over the weekend, and he is one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen (along with my sons). How blessed you were to have him physically with you and are to have him as your son.

Casey said...

A friend has just forwarded Elliot's and your story to me, it reminds me to be thankful for everything, that each day is a blessing, and a day to be cherished. Thank You so very much for sharing your private and most presish gift with us, your time with Elliot.

Casey said...

precious* gift.

(sorry about the typos)

Anonymous said...

Love the blog, Matt. Thank you for sharing truth. Eliot, who is with Jesus, is proud of his daddy.

The Arnspergers

Elena said...

As a mother of 7 (one stillborn). What I get from Eliot's beautiful story is that life is worth living. Whether that life lasts only a few hours, or a hundred years, all of it is a gift.

I have read blogs and stories over the years of moms who had babies who were not supposed to survive much past birth and so they felt compelled to abort those babies.

What Eliot's story says is, "yea but!" It says yea, but there will be so much love in the time we have. Yea, but you will make a lifetime of memories in that short time. Yea, but it's your baby, you can hold him as much as you want during that time.

I never experienced the special suffering you knew. But there's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I had had even a moment with my stillborn son. What you two and Eliot show the rest of this world, that is so afraid of heartbreak, is that sometimes it's worth it! Thank you for sharing his story.

natalie said...

I, once again, applaud your courage. Thank you for posting. May Eliot's story continue to impact anyone who hears of his life.

AMJ said...

Like so many others who have been touched by your story, I would like to thank you for sharing your joys and heartaches. I truly look forward to reading your new post each week.

Whether or not you wish to be labeled as pro-life, do you realize that your blog and video scream a pro-life message? I think you hit it on the head when you said that all life is a gift given by God, and all life is of worth. That God invites us to participate in the mystery of creating a new life is humbling...if we truly comprehended this, how could we ever choose anything BUT loving, respecting, protecting the baby? That new soul is God's creation!

Thanks be to God for the gift of Eliot, who has brought joy to so many (especially his parents!). Thanks be to God for the gift of his parents, who during his short time on earth, showed Eliot a glimpse of the love his heavenly Father has for him.

Mrs. Olivia said...

Matt and Ginny, Glad you got some R and R in LP and at the lake- Renee has been sporting some of your new designs and they are great- Matt, you are blessed with a gift of articulating what the world terms confusing into the simple truths that our Lord reveals to all who take the time to turn it over to Him- Eliot's life enabled you both to remove blinders that hinder our sight of the the power and love of our God- Life is such a gift- As i watched the movie "facing the Giants' I told Tommy that you were like that coach- you turned life into His hands and were empowered- You have praised Him through the good days and the bad-I thank you for allowing me to praise Him with you- I thankGod foe Eliot and I continue to pray for you every day- What good things He has in store for you- Sorry for rambling- Love and prayers, Mrs. Olivia

Sarah said...

Wonderfully put! I am sorry I've taken so long to get things back to you Matt. I will do so soon! Any word from the places in CO? Much respect, and many hugs!

Meghan said...


You express it all so perfectly. Thanks for being vulnerable. And thanks for sharing Eliot's incredible video. You inspire me to somehow find a way to do something like that for in Ricky's memory too.

My favorite part... when you talk about how he changed your life without ever uttering a word. We have always said the same about my little boy... 13 months - and he altered our life-times.

God bless you both.
Meghan Johnson

Erin from NY said...

"we do it because we believe Eliot’s story is the most unbelievable thing we have ever been a part of; we actually think his is not only a story of immense pain, but of undeniable joy."
I can only agree with you 100%. We are the lucky ones to have had your sons beautiful life shared with us.

bek said...

I was at church a couple of weeks ago and the pastor was preaching on the beattitudes(sp?) and how we as "christians" have made them such a "deal," when really they just require you to be where you are! He said blessed are those who mourn...(and I imeediately thought of you both). He looked at a precious couple he councels with every week (they lost their son last year in a car wreck, he was 18) and he said- the world tells you to get over it-get better, stop mourning- but God says "blesses are you"- I will mourn right there with you- just be where you are. People think the "christian life" (and I hesitate to even use that term) is so difficult, but really it's just being continually honest with a God who already knows our heart. Matt, you and Ginny- your honesty is so refreshing. Thank you for mourning out loud and letting us all have a glimpse of what you both have experienced. I also want you to know that your relationship (once again-honesty) with the Lord is what people are drawn to. People are drawn to weakness and not strengh, I am convinced that is why Elliot's story is and will continue to touch so many lives! thank you both for just "being!"

Mayhem And Miracles said...

As someone who tries her best to mentor high school and college kids/young adults and who watches them hurt endlessly from the high expectations of near perfection put on them often with simultaneous lack of understanding, real role modeling or support, THANK YOU. I think you have a rare ministry even if you didn't ask for it - to remind Christians how to TRULY love.

amanda said...

I've been reading your site for several months now, and honestly don't remember if I've ever posted a comment or not. I saw Eliot's video on another blog, and recently a friend of mine posted the link to it on a private message board. Eliot's story is touching thousands of people on YouTube...what an impact his life is having!!!

James said...

I dont know why, but I am in tears as I write this comment.

The article in crosswalk and this post really got into me.

I may not have gone through what you had, but I am not alien to the feelings of pain.

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for being true.

Alison Davis said...

I love Eliot! I'm so thankful to you for sharing him with me and so many others. I'm severely physically disabled, and was particularly interested in your comments on being "pro-life." Your definition of it entirely fits with mine. I run No Less Human, a pro-life group in the UK for disabled people,their families and carers. We work to establish the equal right to life of all disabled people, from conception to natural death. We have many members whose children have disabilties such as Eliot had, and others whose children have died. We love and welcome all who share our vision that all human life is precious. I'm a convert both to the pro-life cause and to Christianity. Thank God for your witness.