Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Please see my backside

There is an article about Eliot on crosswalk.com located here. If you’ve been around the blog long, you will recognize it as a former post. If you have come here from the article, we recommend jumping into the archives to read Eliot’s story.

Another week. Boy, time flies when you’re not loathing school. Ginny has been busy with the beads. She has also managed to finagle me into exercising with her. However, recently on a jog together, I was spotted down all on fours, hugging the sidewalk and yelling choice words upon twisting my ankle. So we’ll see about that. She seems to no longer have the desire to jointly exercise in public.

We have our first meeting tonight with some folks who are wanting to help the respite night become a reality. We are excited to see what comes.

This Sunday is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s day to all you dads. Although, you are outnumbered by the women here, I know you are out there. As to my first Father’s Day on this side, I can say, without hesitation, that being Eliot’s dad is my most prized moment. It can all end, and my life would be full- robust. I have lived more rich than I ever knew possible- I have loved.

A few observations from my week.

Ginny and I were able to help out in the children’s department of our church recently. Our church is fairly large and, therefore, when it comes to the kidd-o’s, there is a system. This is necessary in order that getting in and out only partially resembles the running of the bulls in Pamplona. There was one particular piece of the ankle-biter protocol that caught my attention.

Each child has a nametag placed on their back when they sign in. This tag can include, not only a name, but various information about the child that others may need to know. It, sometimes, serves as a notice of potential issues. Examples include such things as “allergic to peanuts” or bathroom issues or whatever need be told. Useful information in the hands of those seeking to help the child.

And that is what you’ve got to love about kids. Each one walking around with a backside-billboard declaring any struggles they might have.

Somewhere along the way, this declaration becomes unacceptable. We learn to hide our struggles instead of share them with anyone. But I think the kids have us on this one.

I wonder what my sticker would say?

Although, I have currently mastered toileting skills, how large do stickers come? Some of the print might read:

Missing his son.
Hates it when you offer a verse and a smile.
Prideful.

And the warnings continue.

Doesn't always play well with Christians.
Crosses the line to get a laugh.

So, maybe I need a sandwich board and not a sticker, but you get the idea.

I think it could it help. Maybe you would cut me some slack if you knew my struggles. Maybe I would ask you to turn around and, as I read, I would know I liked you because we are just alike…unless, you can’t potty.
____

I drove over to visit my parents and grandfather this week. My dad’s father has recently had a tough go of it. His health has declined. He lives with my parents; my dad, an only child, has sought to care for him as best as he can.

There are those moments in life, as Rob Bell describes, that you know you are a witness to something special, something holy. I had one such moment this week as I witnessed my dad feeding his father. I cannot explain it.

It was the first time I had felt this feeling since Eliot was with us. His entire life was a moment of other-worldliness. And so, the feeling came again like an old friend.

Christ is present when the weak are loved and served.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey guys! How wonderful it is that you all are able to continue to reach people with Eliot's story. I consider it such an honor to call you all friends. I appreciate your honesty through all of this. We would love to see you guys, and we think and pray for you all often. Happy Father's Day Matt. Tell Ginny I have received many compliments on my jewelry thanks to her great talents. Hope to talk to you all soon! Michaela Files

Diana said...

Matt,
I enjoyed your post today. You don't know me but I laughed when you were talking about the stickers on the backs of the little people who were in your care. Some of us out here need a goodyear blimp size sign with the isues we carry. Mine would start I can potty by myself LOL

How humble you are in speaking of your father and grandfather. Sometimes we don't realize that what we are apart of is something holy until it is over. You have been lucky enough to know that you are apart of something beautiful and Holy. Whether it is Eliot or your grandpa you recognize the beauty of the things around you.

Matt, Have a beautiful Father's Day!!!

Cary said...

Thanks for the post. Reading y'alls blog makes my week...I love learning more about your faith, your struggles, and my faith, as well. We had such a fun time with you both in STL. Thanks for making the trip--you guys are medicinal for me, so I savored every minute together. Oh, and I can think of a few things for your back sticker, Matt, but I don't think there's room. I'll save it for later.
Love you.

Anonymous said...

Name:Catherine
spoiled, trust issues-can't commit to new Alabama football coaches, and also crosses the line for a laugh

I don't need a big sticker. Happy Father's Day!

Anonymous said...

Happy Father's Day Matt! May you cherish many memories on this your first Father's Day and even smile and laugh at a few of the things you experienced with your sweet sweet son!

Still praying for you in Texas -
Lisa Hartsfield

FunkyMonkeyJunk said...

Happy Father's Day Matt!

Nametag: Andi
Allergies: Dairy, soy, gluten
Issues: Biting sense of humor when hurting; struggles with ADD; regularly forgets how much has been sacraficed for my eternity; eats way too much junk food.

Thank goodness the sticky side of those stickers are so terrible...they fall off with something as simple as a good, hard hug. :-)

Jeanine said...

I am ready for my day after reading that! You are able to see what so many others would miss. What a blessing.
Have a wonderful Fathers Day.

Terrill said...

One father to another...
It can't be taken away from us.


Have a beautiful day.

Liza's Eyeview said...

Inspiring and encouraging as always. Thank you.

Happy Father's Day!

Pennsylvania said...

I just saw the video made for beautiful Eliot. And I'll tell you I had tears in my eyes from the word go...

What a beautiful, strong little man.

And you guys to be blessed with the time you had with him.

I just want you to know that I don't know you or your family, but you all have truely touched my heart!


Happy Fathers Day!!!

Jeff, Abbey, and Reed Land said...

We would love those stickers too, if you can find them. Ours would have been most helpful when people were consoling us about our two miscarriages. Or for those kind people who offered "I'm sorry" when we told them we were adopting.

Huh! I know people have good intentions, but I sometimes wonder where exactly the intentions come from!

Karen F. said...

Thankful for your post today . . . thankful for your reminder that I, too, should wear a sandwich board poster that shares my faults . . . they are many, but fortunately, covered by grace!
Thank you also for sharing your other-worldly moments with us. So often during Eliot's story I was able to catch that glimpse that you told of.
Still learning from your story . . . still learning how to pray for others . . . still learning how to love others when they are hurting . . .
thank you.

amanda said...

Ohhhhhh...thank you! This week wraps up my training for the Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Tucson and I ended it by watching your tribute video. It totally solidified the work God has called me and so many others to. Are we willing to trust God even when the docs say it's crazy. Thank you for sharing your story. You are the embodiment of James 1 - you are an example for people looking for the courage to face the unknown. I can't wait for us all to hang out in heaven!

Anonymous said...

Happy Father's Day, Matt!

Mrs. Olivia said...

Good morning1 Happy Father's day, Matt- I'm sure Ginny will enjoy you exercising with her again-Loved the image of the stickers- Large post=it notes are needed for me so the issues can be easily changed-How wonderful that our Lord knows our issues that are hidden from view and loves us anyway! My mother is getting older and as the roles shift from daughter to caregiver I am humbled in the task- What our Father has done for us and how blessed I was to have loving parents-Just as you learned through Eliot, loving selfless care is a glimpse of something bigger-Have a wonderful day! Thank you for your witness- Love and prayers, mrs. olivia

amanda said...

What an awesome post today, Matt. Hope your Father's Day was a special one, remembering the wonderful gift of your sweet little guy, the boy that made you 'Dad'.

Anonymous said...

Matt, you are amazing. Keep writing. The is extraordinary stuff. And the spiritual size is just as super! God Bless you and Ginny. Keep running and writing! Happy Father's Day!

Meghan said...

A very Happy and Proud Father's Day to you Matt. Your words and your love, continue to inspire.

In Him, Meghan

Amy T. S. said...

I just tuned in for the first time, and the pictures of Eliot made me smile and even giggle a little - the one where he's on his back on the bed and looking toward the camera, particularly. So cute.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

I love this. Thanks, as always, for making me think--the one year anniversary of Addison's diagnosis just passed, and as amazing as she is doing, it was still hard. Coming here always makes me feel at home.

Anonymous said...

Dear Matt and Ginny,
Thank you so much for blessing us with this wonderful testimony.
As a mother I couldn't help myself but cry, imagining if I was in your shoes, guys... I just want to send this big hugs to you to let you know how proud I am to you both and Eliot!
You glorify Jesus through this situation and you make our Father proud - despite the sadness.
You have shown your faith for all the great things He has planned for us.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Your sister In Christ,
S. Indah

Ashley said...

Hi,
My name is Ashley. I'm from South Texas. I just wanted to let you know that Eliot's story has touched my heart as well as the hearts of my family. I am a single mother of 3 two girls and one boy. Everyday I thank God for blessing me with my children. I wish I would have had a chance to spend at least one day with Eliot and meet the wonderful person he was and always will be. My prayers are with you and your family. May God Bless you always.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that you are both very strong people and to be blessed with 99 days with yout son is the best gift of all! my son wasnt diagnosed with any condition or disease but he was stillborn at 36 weeks so it is very hard to lose a child. that was almos 5 years ago since i have been blessed with 2 more boys, my last son was born at 25 weeks gestation due to reasons still unknown to me. but he is now 6 months (corrected) 9 months actual and he is doin great a little smaller than average 6 month old but developing great, and it was a long road to watch him get to where he is. life really does throw some curve balls at you, and the more u face the stronger u get and i truely believe that. I hope u all the best and Eliot is safe and looking over u both!!

Sabrina

sarah crow said...

I watched your video on youtube and was so touched! I am a nurse at University of Michigan..and just so you know you guys are an inspiration. I know that Eliot was blessed to have such wonderful parents! I will never forget his story! You are in my thoughts!
Sarah Crow

Anonymous said...

Dear Matthew And Ginny
Remember your baby Eliot Lives on in the hearts of those who loved him.
my name is Genene Beukes
my email address is genenebeukes@yahoo.com
I saw a clipping of the video of your little bundle of joy your baby Eliot on the tbn christian tv channel
ELIOT WAS A BEAUTIFUL BABY
ANYWAY KEEPWELL AND GOD BLESS YOU
FROM GENENE

Comondestiny3 said...

I'm not sure if you will stumble across this message or not but, I just wanted to say three years later and your son's story is still touching people, I just watched 99 Balloons for the first time and being a mother to a preemie it touched me deeply, I'm participating in the march of dimes walk I do every year and with every step I take I will be thinking of your precious son and his memory... when my son was sick and in the Nicu a lady shared a powerful message with me and I want to share it with you as well " God only sends his toughest trials to his strongest souls" Elliot was no doubt a strong soul maybe GoD bless you and your wife now and always...

Carry haring

Comondestiny3@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

hi.you are so lucky to have hade 99 days with your little boy.we were told at our 20wk scan that our lil boy had trisomy 18.we were crushed,they told us he would die inside of me before we reached 24wks.they told me my only option was termination,but we couldnt do it,not to our own lil baby,it would of killed us.anyway,i reached 29wks and we were at a scan to see if babys heart was coping ok.it was now tht we were told he may have t18,and i was yet again offered a termination and was offered on a weekly basis at our scans.we refused point blank,i dont know how,call it mothers instinct,but i knew my lil man wasn't going to die in my whom,no son of mine was going to give up that easily.he stopped growing at29wks and we were so worried he was becoming weak.at 38wks and 1 dy our little baby stevenn was delivered by c section as he was so small and also breech.we weren't able to see him until 6 hours later,it was hell,just waiting for them to walk in the room and tell us he'd died.but they didn't.he lived for seven days.his kidneys packed in and he became so swollen.we made the hardest decision of our lives,to turn off the machines.you could see the relief all over his face,he was so tired of fighting but wasn't going to give up.he was stubborn like his dad.is broke our hearts and always will,but we couldn't be more proud of anyone.he had full t18 and should of died before we even found out i was preggy.its amazing how such tiny babies find the strength when they're suffering with so much,i cry for our baby steven,but because i'm so proud of him and because i know how blessed we were to meet him and look into his beautiful eyes.i dont cry because i'm sad,it's like i can feel him yelling at me for being sad,he dosent want his life to be remembered as a sad time,but happy and fulfilled and forever carried on by those who loved him so, just like your little boy.x

Malinee said...

Hi. I wish I could say that I found you guys on my own but indeed, Oprah sent me to you. I'm a 22 year old student but have been working with children with disabilities since I was 14 years old. Your story has become so important to me. It was when I held my very first student that I realized I wanted to dedicate my life to children with special needs. That little girl passed away the following year and I was left with far too many questions, and doubts, and concerns for the children I had come to love. In growing and working and loving my students, I know now that I have seen G*d in the eyes of a child, more times than I am deserving of. If every child I worked with had parents like you then the world would see so much less suffering. Thank you for being Eliot's parents and thank you for being so generous as to share your story with the world. The life of your son has touched so many people and my hope is that your love for him can have a positive impact on how people view children who are different, and value them just as genuinely as you value the life of Eliot. I've been told so many times that I am working with a population with no potential. But you have proven that a nonverbal child can have an impact on the world and I just wanted to thank you for that.
Your family deserves all the happiness in the world.