So.....my last post was about how empty my heart has felt ever since we found out that Gavin had suffered a stroke, and that he was likely to stay infant-like for the rest of his life. This empty feeling has not changed since I wrote that post, and this burden that I have to carry each and every day will most likely never go away.
And, my questions of why Gavin had to have this stroke may also never be answered on this side of heaven.....but, I WAS sent an e-mail recently that has me thinking a little more clearly.
Joel's aunt sent us the following true story, and it was something that I really benefited from reading! So, I thought that I would share it with all of you!
Here it is:
The Ant and the Contact Lens: (A true story)
Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the tremendous granite cliff. She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens. 'Great', she thought. 'Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and now my sight is blurry.'
She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge. But it just wasn't there.
She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying. She prayed for calm, and she prayed that she may find her contact lens.
When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains. She thought of the bible verse 'The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.'
She thought, 'Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.'
Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff they met another party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, 'Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?'
Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it!
The story doesn't end there. Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, 'Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You.'
I think it would do all of us some good to say, 'God, I don't know why You want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. But, if You want me to carry it, I will.'
Reading this story has helped me to remember that God has a purpose for all of us.....for me.....and even, or maybe even ESPECIALLY, for Gavin! I know this in my empty heart, but sometimes I forget to keep this in the forefront of my mind.
Every single day is truly difficult for me as I care for Gavin. But, I have to remember to rely on God's strength, and to trust in His plan! Because, even though my "load may be heavy", He has a reason for having me carry this blessed load!
Have you ever heard about a place/organization called Give Kids the World? Well, they have a resort in Florida that allows children who have life-threatening illnesses to go on a vacation of a lifetime! This is where our family will likely stay when we are able to take Gavin on his Make-A-Wish trip.
Today, if you visit your area Perkins restaurant, they are serving free pancakes to raise money for Give Kids the World. If you go in to eat at a Perkins restaurant today, you and your entire family will be given a free short stack of pancakes. They just ask that you consider donating to this great charity! So, on behalf of Gavin and other children like him, please consider eating at a Perkins restaurant today!
And finally, did you know that today is World Down Syndrome Day? Well, it is! In fact, every year on March 21, it is! They chose this particular day to try to educate the world about those who have Down syndrome, because it represents the number of Chromosomes a person with Down syndrome has. Normally, we have 46 Chromosomes in our DNA, with a pair of Chromosomes on each Chromosome.....but, most people with DS have an extra Chromosome on their 21st Chromosome, making them have 3, instead of 2. So, today's date (3/21) is used to represent the fact that there are 3 Chromosomes on their 21st Chromosome! Pretty cool huh?!
So many people seem to be afraid of those who have Down syndrome, and many seem to think that they aren't able to do what many people are capable of doing. This is FAR from the truth!.....(With the exception of a few like Gavin, who happens to have severe brain damage secondary to the stroke that he suffered.) Those with DS are quite capable! They are the same as everyone else, and they can learn to do most everything the typical person does, it just may take them a little bit longer to achieve their goals. They have feelings, emotions, love, and abilities.....like all of us do! And, those of us who are blessed to have someone who has DS in our lives know this truth!
In fact, some of us who have a special child, who happens to have Down syndrome, tend to think that we are more blessed than all of you who don't have a child like ours! Seriously! I personally know that I think that I'm really blessed to have Gavin in my life.....and you may find this to be a shocker, but I even want to adopt another child who has Ds! That's how blessed I feel to have a child with Down syndrome! I just wish that my child who has Ds didn't also have to have a stroke. :(
So, in spirit of this day, get to know someone who has Down syndrome.....if you put some effort into getting to know the REAL them, you will see what a gift they are to this world!
Here is Gavin wearing his "Nothing to see here, Just an extra Chromosome" shirt.
Don't you think that I'm very blessed to have this special guy in my life?
I mean.....just look at his smile!
This boy, who just happens to have an extra Chromosome.....and perhaps the best smile EVER, is seriously the light of my life!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13