Two years ago I wrote these words as a Facebook status:
“The fragility of life should cause us to love bigger, give bigger and dream bigger, not to cave under the pressure of fear or succumb to a futile spirit.
This life is a gift.
Live it well and leave your imprint on history.
This is your story.”
Mattie’s life was “fragile” by human expression. The term “medically fragile” was even used to describe him by some. But as fragile as his life was, we never lived in a state of treating him as fragile. We never let fear boss us around. We let Love call the shots.
Shortly after Mattie’s death, I wrote to one of his medical providers and said, “Did everyone else know he would die? Were we foolish to think he could live longer than he did?”
She replied, “Not at all, Tracie. Mattie kept showing us what was possible. He kept showing us Life, not death. There was no expectations at all, except what Mattie chose.”
We believed in his Life, and we lived like we believed. In some ways, I feel like this is why Mattie overcame as many obstacles as he did. We loved him like every day mattered, we dreamed big dreams for him, and we gave all we had because he was so worth it.
I can’t even imagine holding back love because of the risk.
The day we buried Mattie’s body, my friend Susan stood at my side and reminded me of words that I had written just weeks before Mattie’s birth. Words I spoke in anticipation of his arrival and all of the unknowns.
“I could hold back love until it feels safe, but that’s not the way it works. He loved us before we loved Him, with no guarantee of love returned Choosing to walk out the gospel through adoption. I will love now, no strings attached.”
And that is how we lived our lives. There was no holding back, no strings attached.
Love led the way. Always.
And it still does. Mattie exuded Love more than any human being I know.
And that kind of Love is what propels me now, what pushes me into that place of finding the rest of my story; and resting in gratitude for the story that I have lived so far, even when the words I’ve penned to tell the tale are not the words I would have chosen.
We all have a story to live. We get to chose whether to walk into it and embrace the beautiful mess of it all, or whether to let fear push us into a place where we can’t see the beauty at all.
My plan is to live my story well.
To leave in imprint – one called Love.
My plan is to let Love call the shots.