Right before Mattie was born, I had a stirring in my spirit to start speaking publicly. I had even started looking into some possible opportunities and had started writing in preparation.
Even after we were matched and expecting Mattie, I had pictures in my mind of John sitting with a beautiful little boy on his lap in the front row while I spoke. I literally would visualize this and it made me smile.
Then our boy came.
He was everything we had ever dreamed. We fell in love. Hard and fast.
But he needed us more than we could have ever dreamed.
And we needed him more than we could have ever dreamed.
And at that moment, whether conscious or not, I made the decision to live our lives out loud.
I had always been very real about our lives on this blog and on social media. I shared it all. The joys. The crazy insanity. The painfully hard.
But with Mattie, it felt sacred. Like a platform was being rolled out before me.
I chose to step out onto it.
Little did I know that in choosing to live this journey out loud with a little boy know as “Mattie Sam”, that the world would be changed.
Little did I know the story that I was sharing with you day to day would be much shorter than the dream my mind had woven about what this boy’s life would be.
How did he change me?
How did he change you?
It’s my turn first…..
Mattie changed the way I look at the world. He redefined my values. I have never know a single soul who enjoyed loving the way that Mattie did.
He thrived in a place of love.
He didn’t really know how to do much more than love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…..And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor 13:4-8, 13
“But the greatest of these is LOVE.”
Why did nurses who weren’t in charge of his care stop by his room just to spend time with him?
Why was “I just need some time with Mattie” a common phrase around our house?
Why did those of you who only knew him “virtually” say that just seeing his face on Facebook made your day brighter.
Is it possible that when a life is not cluttered by “things of this world” that Love beats more loudly?
Is it possible that a child who has suffered pain and struggled to live and breathe might have the capacity to revel in the beauty of every moment, somehow knowing that those moments are precious?
Mattie taught me to love. He taught me to slow down. He taught me to truly appreciate the little miracles of life.
He reflected God’s love to me. He was capable of touching my face and changing my heart beat.
He taught me that we are all created to love and be loved, and that our capacity for that love is only hindered by the weight of the world that we allow to settle in our spirits.
He taught me to let go of so much, so that I could contain more of that love.
He never took much notice of the tubes and wires and machines, things that could have been a focal point, a distraction.
He just lived a life of LOVE.
And so now it’s time for me to once again allow my son to be my teacher.
Grief is a strange beast. It’s unpredictable and terrifying. It’s consuming and as heavy as a blanket of lead across my shoulders.
I have to walk through it. I have to feel it.
I don’t know how it will look tomorrow. Or next week. Or in 2 months. Or in 12 years.
What I do know is that as I grieve, I want the lesson of love to be in the forefront of my mind, leading the way.
This valley of the shadow of death is a place where I have to close my eyes to see beyond the pain. I have to close my eyes and literally breathe in the Love of the Comforter.
So if you wonder why I’m grieving out loud. Just know that I’m just trying to breathe. And for me words come as I breathe in Love.
So just as I lived my journey with my son out loud, I’m going to live my journey learning to be without him out loud too.
Now it’s your turn…..