My friend Ruth is amazing.
She has 6 children; four in her arms, one in her belly, and one in heaven (and in her heart).
Her baby boy, Rhys, died the day before he was born, three years ago this week. As I have watched her grieve, I have learned so much about grace, finding peace, and
about learning to be okay with not knowing all the answers.
Ruth never learned why little Rhys (pronounced Reese) didn't make it, and I can't say what she feels in her heart today compared to that terribly sad day three years ago, but I can tell you what Rhys's life, and Ruth's example have taught me.
That you can touch people you have never met.
That you don't have to grieve any certain way.
That sometimes the mission we serve in this life will be the opportunities we give others to give service.
That sad tears and happy tears can mingle sweetly together.
That you can witness greatness in another person's trial, and learn from it.
That we never know what path we will walk, or who we will be blessed to walk it with,
but we will never walk it alone.
That each life is precious.
That somehow we make it through.
This past week our family was invited to share in the sweet tradition Ruth, Steve and their family have embraced as a way of remembering and honoring Little Rhys. We met at the cemetery just before sunset, and we prayed together. Prayers of gratitude, spoken and unspoken, rose to the heavens as tears moistened our cheeks. Ruth said she looks upon this place as a place to come and remember Rhys, but that she knows he is not here, but with his Creator and Heavenly Father. Then we released blue balloons, some with children's drawings tied to them, up into the clear autumn sky. They rose in a cluster and stayed together until the blue of the sky enveloped them and we couldn't see them anymore.
We couldn't see them, but they were still there.
Gone from our limited mortal sight, but not from God's.
Ruth told me once that she doesn't picture Rhys as a baby, but as a strong and wonderful young man, the essence of who his spirit, in an eternal sense, really is.
I love that.
Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Ruth.
You are an amazing woman.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.