Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Trails

We continue to wait on a location for the respite night. Against all within me, I have opted for a laid back approach. Trusting that something will open up if it is meant to be done.

Ginny has returned from the Big Apple, as has my smile. We are headed to Conway, Arkansas this weekend to marry off a good friend of mine. With this friend getting married, I feel compelled to warn all that the end of the earth might actually be approaching.

Ginny and I have decided that this blog will be coming to an end soon. Eliot was born on July 20th, and we think it a fitting date to wrap up a site dedicated to his life. We are not attempting to move on or anything like that; rather, we simply think the view from the window into our son’s life and our grief has revealed the panoroma. There will be more information coming on how to keep up with us if you want.

A question has been bumping around the recesses of my mind as of late.

What is the destination?

I have come to view mourning as a journey. Let me be the first to admit that sounds a little hokey, but come on, let it slide.

The pathway is littered with obstacles, each differing in degrees of difficulty. A recurring hurdle of hardness-of-heart here, a pothole labeled despair there. Unforeseen twists and turns are the norm; all the while, the lone desire of the traveler is to stop- to rest. However, it is quickly realized that pit stops are dangerous as well. For it is here that the strangers, with names such as Fear and Skepticism, attempt to become traveling companions.

There is an alternative to traveling the road of mourning that can sometimes seem appealing. The idea that I can stay here and not go down that road at all appears the better option. However, one comes to learn that the road is not actually optional. It must be walked. Attempting otherwise only delays the journey; and each day left unwalked increases the toll that is charged for passage.

And so I have walked the road. It is only recently that I have wondered where it leads. What is the goal? Where does it all end?
Does this road have a destination or is my status now permanently that of a nomad with no home- walking a treacherous road without end.

I have come to a settlement on this question of mine. Bad news first. The road of mourning does not end on this side of eternity. Ginny and I will not reach the end of our heartache. We will not arrive at “all better”. In truth, our loss is a permanent scar whose effects have only just begun.

But we do have a companion on this road who has traveled it himself. Who, alone, makes the road bearable.

And, although the journey does not end it does head toward something. There is due north. And the compass points to the love of Jesus Christ. The further traveled, the greater the understanding. Never attained, but closer still.

Thus, the river of grief flows to the same sea that all of life’s rivers flow towards. Even if one has never known pain, his is the same road as mine. All of life’s experiences- including Eliot- direct me to my home.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge
Ephesians 3

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
I Corinthians 13

21 comments:

Dot W. said...

Thank you for this most recent entry (I've read many others, as well). I lost my little brother on July 20, 1989. He'd have been 46 this September. Since then, I've lost my big brother (1996), my Mom (2003), and my marriage (2004). I know that none of these were my own children, but I recognized every single piece of the (continuing) journey you described. You really worded it all quite perfectly. Thank you for sharing!

Oh, and by the way, I had the pleasure of meeting your lovely wife while I visited my friend, Jennifer M. in May. Wow...she's a special lady. =)

In Him,
Dot W.

Anonymous said...

Damn.....That's good, and you guys are AMAZING, as is He (as was "he"). Miss you both...actually, all three.
Love you all.

Welcome home Gin---Thankfully, for Matt.

Meghan said...

Amen.

Dara Young said...

I am so glad that it will be God Himself who wipes away all tears from our eyes. I'm so glad our paths crossed-I never met you in person but your blog has changed me. Thanks for sharing your journey.

FunkyMonkeyJunk said...

Matt and Ginny, I cannot thank you enough for sharing so transparently your journey with Eliot. It has ministered to me more than you could ever realize.

Although I understand why, I wish you wouldn't leave Blogland. I come here every Wednesday or Thursday, looking for your words, like a letter in the mail. But if you do, please know that you will be sorely missed.

Blessings,
Andi

The Walkie Talkie said...

Glad you gave us some time to prepare for the closing of Eliot's blog. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately for you), I know how to keep in touch with you.

The time you have spent maintaining this blog has been time well spent. Ministering to so many in so many ways. For that we are eternally grateful!

Have fun in C-town!

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing Eliot with all of us through this blog. Blessings to you guys as you close this (blogging) chapter in your journey. I am grateful for the enrichment, having listened to your son's story and your story. Heaven is going to be so much fun - he's waiting there for you! What a celebration when your race is run, and you cross that finish line! Blessings, and I wish you guys all the best!

Jeanine said...

I, too, will miss your weekly posts. They have been a source of growth and encouragement for me! You are such a gifted writer and I hope, should you continue your blogging elsewhere, that we can go along for the ride. It is apparent that the Lord has taught you much in many facets of your life and you a so good at sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Your words are great. I pray that I could have even just an ounce of the faith that you guys have.

Praying for you,
Kathleen Condrey

Lulu said...

Sweet Matt & Ginny,
I couldn't let an opportunity pass by without thanking you. Just 7 weeks ago I delivered our beloved baby boy at 19 weeks who had already gone to be with Jesus. I stumbled upon your blog (I love that God loves us in such unique, yet profound ways) and have found so much comfort and encouragement through it. God is good. I actually found myself envious of the time that you had with your Eliot, while painfully brief, I would have given anything for more. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing God to use you to minister to so many. I am grateful.

Much love and hope,
Lindsi Smith

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday To Eliot.
You've honored him well. I've followed your post for some time now, you don't even know me, but I know you by the way you write.
Again, Happy Birthday To Eliot.

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

You have been a blessing to so many as you've honestly shared the joys, struggles, and heartaches of Eliot's life with you. Thank you.

olivia and henry said...

i am always encouraged when i come to your blog!! i do not even know you guys but i really really wish that i did! i would love to keep up with you guys, so let me know how to do so. bless you both!!! much love, angie

Mrs. Olivia said...

Matt and Ginny, Words can't express how your open hearts have helped me and others see His hand in our lives. Thank you for letting me share your journey- It will always be a privilege to tell others about Eliot and His special family, on this side, and in eternity- I'll be looking for news of how to keep up with the wonderful things God has in store for you!Love and prayers, Mrs. olivia

Kathi said...

I have read each and every post and am impressed by your faith and commitment to one another and to God. I have a special needs child (with DiGeorge syndrome, aka VCFS) and am a pediatric RN. I've been on both sides of the fence and it never fails to amaze me how my Heavenly Father puts me in the path of those who need my help - or those from whom *I* need help to grow.

Your blog has been an invaluable source of wisdom and, yes, hope. Eliot has impacted so many people in such a short time on earth. I have pointed families to this blog as they struggle with a Trisomy 18 diagnosis. I have a friend who, on the same day *and nearly the same time* that my twins (now 7) were born, was giving birth to a stillborn who had the Trisomy 18 diagnosis. It was her faith that got her through it...to a "new normal".

Thank you for opening a window into your hearts and lives to a grateful public. We're better people for having read and shared your experiences.

Please continue this blog in one form or another.

Kathi

Cara Deaning said...

In high school, Wednesdays were significant because they were short days. These days, because of your blog and new posts. I'll miss it. Luckily, your just a phone call away...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with Eliot and beyond with so many. Like others have stated here - I have grown in so many ways by reading your posts each week. I know I will never have the opportunity to know you - but you have touched my life...as has your precious Eliot. Wishing him a Happy Birthday with you!

You are right that the grief journey does not end in this life. I gave birth and said goodbye to my twins at 22 weeks 3 years ago, and it's a journey I am still very much on today. We are on a journey to a 'new normal' but just as my twins are forever a part of me, so is your precious Eliot a part of you.

Thank you again...praying for you.
Julie D.
Indiana

Terrill said...

I rush to the computer every Thursday morning after I get done with my 7p to 7a shift and check my eBay, my email, and Matt and Ginny's blog.

Ever since my friend Jeff sent me the link to 99 balloons I have been encouraged, enlightened, uplifted, convicted, challenged, humbled, and awed by the simple truth of a father's love for his son.

Since our own Mackenzie was a trisomy 18 baby too, I have relived many memories reading the parables and life lessons that Matt has shared here.

I have learned through our loss, and I have continued to learn through the Mooney's loss, that nothing is lost.

I felt since before Mackenzie went to Heaven that her life had a divine purpose. I think now that I know that purpose, to teach me to rejoice.

I have learned that joy can be found in the darkest of circumstances, Paul and Silas found it in chains, the 3 Hebrew children found it in the furnace, Joseph found it in spite of his brothers treachery. We each face circumstances every hour that demand a response, Joy or Anger, Laughter or Sorrow, Fortitude or Fatigue.

Let me share 3 places where I find Joy in the homegoing of Mackenzie.

1) I prayed earnestly and sincerely that my daughter would be healed of the many problems that her trisomy plagued her with. Now, she is whole, perfect, complete, and unencumbered by the anomalies that made her life here painful, uncomfortable and difficult.

2)We asked God when she was born to let us see Mackenzie smile. At 3 months she began smiling, and we never got the smile off her face, no matter how sick, no matter how hard the circumstance- she exhibited JOY.

3) Number 3 is because of Matt Mooney and something I heard him say in 99 balloons- a simple truth, he is so gifted at illuminating what is right in front of me, what I never saw till Matt said it just the way he did. This one struck home with me when I first heard it, and it gives me another reason to have JOY in spite of the death of my little girl. Matt said, "we are only separated from you by our time left here on earth." What a JOY. I know I will see her again, I just needed to hear how soon it will be.... not an eternity, not even a lifetime, just the portion of time I have left here.

Thanks Matt for helping me see what I would trip over if it were not for you and your wonderful insight.

Have a Happy Birthday Matt and Ginny. Your son has touched so many lives in such a positive way.

Rejoice!

Anonymous said...
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Valerie said...

I know that I'm a little late but THANK YOU for this post. It has helped me put in perspective my sorrow. I know that one day you and Ginny will be able to continue to raise little Eliot as he matures to adulthood. Trust me on that! He's waiting there (in good hands) until you return home.

prashant said...

I'm so glad our paths crossed-I never met you in person but your blog has changed me. Thanks for sharing your journey.
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