Thursday, June 21, 2007

Break a leg

Well, Ginny made sure that my first Father’s Day was special. We headed off to Eureka Springs for a daytrip. As always, Eureka was entertaining; it’s an eclectic town to say the least. Unfortunately, we just managed to miss the three-woman acrobatic show in the park. Sad, I know, but I signed Ginny up for tryouts.

We also got to celebrate a couple of friends’ birthdays at Beaver Lake. Fun was had by all- the laughs were outnumbered only by the ticks.

The much-anticipated meeting to organize a respite night was productive. Some great folks have jumped on to help make it happen. It is exciting. Once we finalize a location, we will be one step closer to our first event.

While working on a video project this week, I got watching the tape of our wedding. Just six years ago, it is now hard to imagine life before marriage. The videotape managed to bring back some of the emotional ambiance of the day and even reveal some things otherwise prone to be forgotten:

A warm day in Vicksburg, Ms. …especially for those in tuxedoes.
Ginny was young (21). Matt was skinny (165).
We do not appear nervous, but a little giddy.

Ginny’s pastor from Ruston, Louisiana- Dicky Love- officiated. The beautiful, but brief, ceremony lasted all of around 20 minutes. This was according to my bride’s script; she enjoys the limelight much like she enjoyed the ticks.

This week there was one particular moment that stood out as I watched us wed. Near the end of the ceremony, the wedding party gathered around us as Mr. Love, beading with sweat, spoke a prayer for the newlyweds.

Although, I remembered a prayer, nothing seemed significant upon recall. However, aided by VHS, the prayer now came forth as thunder. There they were. Words, once unnoticed, that now rang out as a foreshadowing. With heads bowed, a prayer went forth for:

“…enough blessing that they know your hand is upon them.
enough difficulty to force them to you.”

Dangit, Dicky.

Your prayers have been answered.

I could not think of a more apt description of the last year- tucked away in a forgotten, wedding day request on our behalf. I am thankful for that bold prayer.

Although, Dicky seemed to have no qualms. I seldom invite difficulties to come my way. My psychological makeup is that of water- seeking the path of least resistance. But, contrary to all that is within me, this is not where life is found.

I think the actors may have it right on this one. “Break a leg”, they say, for reasons unknown to me. But wishing difficulty on another may be the best thing one can do. With good logic, our culture separates out pain as much as possible. Each generation of children seems sheltered slightly more than the preceding one- every kid gets a trophy, each child makes the team.

However, by cutting out the trivial difficulties in life, I fear we are less prepared for the inescapable ones that are anything but trivial.

Although I am still shy of being thankful for the absence of my son, I have recently become aware that my life’s circumstances and story are not something I just want to endure. Rather, I long to embrace all that comes. Knowing, or at least trusting, that my lot is uniquely crafted to paint a picture all my own.

So, my prayer (can you do that over the internet) for you and I this week would be for tough times in our lives. Not difficulties to just endure, but difficulties that would give rise to a desperate need; and that through the pain we would flourish on strength not our own.

Dangit Dicky. Thanks.

Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup
Psalm 16:5


FunkyMonkeyJunk said...

Wow. That's about all I can say. That and thank you.


Anonymous said...

Matt and Ginny-
It seems like yesterday that I was amongst those who gathered as we joined Dicky in prayer on that beautiful day in Vicksburg. Isn't is amazing when you recognize those moments in your past when God was preparing you for what He has in store for you? I am grateful that you are embracing every moment and emotion. Again, I thank you for challenging others to the same. Because of the loss that I have endured, I have had the privaledge of seeing life thru the perspective you are speaking of and I know that I have experienced great love because of this. I can honestly say I wouldn't trade a day of the sorrow if it also meant the absence of the joy. I continue to pray for you daily and anticipate all of the good things that are steming from your love and lessons learned by Eliot.
Love you guys-
Carrie Uberecken

Anonymous said...

What a powerful post! I have also found myself feeling a deep and intense sorrow for those who have never been "forced" to come face to face with their creator...which only comes out of a desperate and focused circumstance. I have seen what the Lord has done for my husband and myself through times like these, and I am continually reminded of those around me who truly have no idea (bless their hearts). I always think...I wouldn't change any of it for the world! I have been deeply touched by your son Eliot, as well as you and Ginny's strength and courage to openly share him with all of us! I am forever changed by his story, and the miracle that he was!

Jessica Wilson

Liza's Eyeview said...

My husand always say to me "whatever yo pray for me, please don't pary for patience, because I know God will answer that..." (and that would be difficult for him)...

Liza's Eyeview said...

I did it again - hit the publish button half way my thoughts...

just came back to say thank you for sharing this "insight" with us...

justabeachkat said...

Oh, wow! Great post.

theragan3 said...

you hit the nail on the head - and spoke words that i have only thought recently. like you my husband and i have lost a child. the further away from that loss we get the more we understand that enduring the hard times with a "woe is me attitude" is not what the Father asks of us. He asks us Do you TRUST ME? and my answer to that question flows out of the desperate need that you spoke of - the need to know and believe with all my heart - that HE is GOD and will always be my strength, that the pain will make me stronger and it will bring me closer to Him.I like to use the word EMBRACING what He brings to us. thank you for sharing your thoughts today on this.
May the Father continue to allow you and me to embrace what he has for us - remembering our boys along the way.
Erinn Ragan

Terrill said...

Matt and Ginny,
Several years ago I spent a year unemployed. It was just before the first Gulf War, and the country was in recession, I was a human resource manager without work. Though I spent several hours a day actively searching for work, there was none to be had. All my savings was expended keeping the mortage paid. Then my credit was topped out paying for groceries. I remember calling my dad to whine and moan about my dreadful state. He said something I will never forget, "Son, as your dad, there isn't anything I would rather do than write a check and help you out with your bills, but I can't. You see, I have been praying that whatever it takes for God to bring you closer to Him, that God would do it. I am afraid that if I sent you a check I might get in the way of an important life lesson that God is teaching you. So I am not writing you a check, I am just praying that you get closer to Him." WOW! the love of a father to step aside and allow God to draw a rebellious child home through adversity! Now when things seem to be a bit rough, I call dad and laughingly let him know that it's ok to stop praying, I am getting the message loud and clear!

But seriously, Christ can be glorified and we can find JOY in the most unlikely situations and in the most adverse of circumstances,... or not.

It is entirely up to us, and how we choose to react to those situations and circumstances.

Paul and Silas sang praises to the Lord while in prison chains.

May I also be found singing joyfully, and glorifying Christ when adversity and difficulties attack!

Comfort Peace and Joy!

Peach said...

I've been reading quietly and not commented in awhile, but I had to pipe up when you mentioned one of the men who made a huge impact on my husband during his years at LA Tech. I've even been at a "Mr. Love" officiated wedding, my husband's best friend.

Matt, thanks once again for forcing our eyes back to the Father and for praying for adversity that will force us to lean on Him. Your words are inspiring.

vanessa said...

I just found your site through another, its what i need right now. your words are so true and from your heart. you and your wife are so strong, i could never imagine the kind of pain your in from day to day, and not only that but to find peace with it all. God is good to bless both of you with each other.
i have been through trials with my marriage and wanted to give up so many times but through friends who pushed me to God i found strength and now reading this seeing that through that pain I have found strength to fight for it.
thank you for sharing, your words help make sense of the pain we face day to day.

Monnik said...

This is my first visit to your blog. A friend of mine forwarded me your story along with the video and link to this blog.

My husband and I lost a baby to a similar disorder(triploidy syndrome - he had a full extra set of chromosomes)before birth, at 32 weeks gestation, six years ago.

You have an amazing attitude - and wow - the prayer said at your wedding is amazing. Because not only do those hardships bring you closer to God, they bring you closer as a couple, and they give you a whole new perspective on life's priorities.

What an inspiring couple you are, in how well you cared for your baby together, how profoundly you celebrated his life, and how gracefully you are handling his return to God.

Rena said...

I am touched by your insights once again. I, too, am the type of person who would much rather avoid pain--sometimes I am so afraid of what God is calling me to. But I am learning that God does indeed lead me through it. Yes, trust in hard times. I'm not sure I'm quite to the joy part yet.
I happened to also post something sort of along these lines--quotes from my hero, Rich Mullins.

MixxMaster said...

The Igniter video was one of the most touching things I've ever seen. It chokes me up every time I view it. That seems to happen whenever I come face to face with the heart of the Lord. A great inspiration - Bless you both!