Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Alex at 11

Why does it feel unbelievable with each passing birthday?  Doesn't it seem like we should get use to this!
I have so many mixed emotions today.  Not that every birthday isn't a blessing to be thankful for, but when I think back to Alex's tracheitis in December and what a miracle it was that he didn't go to sleep that night and stop breathing all together, well, I am just grateful to see him celebrate another milestone.
This last year I have watched my boy navigate so many things...relationships, a growing and changing body, impulsive urges,  learning struggles, other people's opinions, peer pressure, decisions about money, choosing to do the right thing when no one else is looking, the consequences of sinful choices...  I guess it's not unlike most years of his life, rather the scale is getting weightier perhaps?
I don't know exactly what I am seeing or how to articulate it all.  Alex has matured in many ways, yet still has this insatiable need to laugh and make other people laugh with him!  I pray he keeps this about himself always.  Heaven knows we need laughter throughout adulthood!  
The thing is, though, that something is different about him.  I can't find words for it.  I thought I may just be silly.  I mentioned it to Tom, but he didn't seem to see much difference.  However, one day my mom asked me if I thought Alexander seemed different since he was in the hospital. I knew then it wasn't just me.
It's nothing hugely noticeable, but there are just differences!  I was speaking with Tom's cousin, Crystal, about it when we went to Oklahoma for the funeral of Tom's grandfather.  Crystal had to let go of her daddy after a fatal car accident when she was only 10.  She believes something changes in a child when they are faced with mortality at that age.  That definitely made a lot of sense to me, and I hadn't thought of it in that way since Alex seemed to have no problems accepting what happened.
Of course Alex would be different!  Who gets told you probably would've died if x, y and z had or hadn't happened and isn't affected?  I hadn't even thought of that!
You wanna know the wildest thing though?  He doesn't remember anything.  He doesn't recall seeing anything supernatural or anything like that, but he just isn't scared.  He already didn't seem rocked in the hospital.  He was so calm and just said how neat it would be to see Jesus, but now, there is just no fear of death.  He even told me out of the blue yesterday that he thought he may want to work to investigate peoples' deaths when he grows up.  Uh....okay, I guess that's okay...
I hear of him saying things to other and adults...  For example, my cousin Sarah told me last night that when she and her mom came to our house to ride out the March 2 tornadoes, she was fearful.  She was sitting by Alex, and he said to her, "Don't be scared.  If the tornado hits us, just grab on to me and we'll go see Jesus together."

Of course this is wonderful!  But, when you have a very curious, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda son like Alexander, you sort-of, maybe hope that there is a little "healthy" fear to keep him from doing off the wall and dangerous things!  When that kind of child just looks so forward to meeting Jesus and isn't afraid, well, it's like this mix of amazing peace and joy along with the wonder of how much you should watch his every move!  

I can't be like that, I know.  (Believe me, I tried to figure out how!) I understand that I have to rest in knowing that God knows Alex and helps him and that I can pray and trust God to station angels around my child.  But, it's just weird...very hear my 11 year old talk like this!

And something is just different about his countenance.  I don't know.  I don't get it, but it's there.  It really is!  I'm not crazy!

So, in hindsight, this year has brought much growth to Alex, much of it not easy, but all of it necessary in shaping him for what lies ahead.  And therefore, it's brought much growth to me.  Again.  



Alex~I just want you to know that I think you are one spectacular human being!  You are that person who employers and teams look that thinks outside the box and isn't afraid to take chances!  More importantly, you are the kind of person God looks for...willing to risk it all for the greater cause, willing to say you messed up, but able to dust yourself off, swallow your pride, and try it it everything you've got!  Man I adore you!  What a pivotal year in your life this has been, and although I don't know what all you are feeling and thinking, I know that all the pieces of your life are coming together one section at a time.  I can't wait to see what God does with all the gifts He has placed inside of you.  You are gonna rock the world just like you have always rocked mine!  You never cease to surprise me...and you never cease to make me smile.  I treasure you son...more than I can explain.  ~Mom

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Out of the Dust, Hope Grows I am.  

I'm sorry.  

I know it bugs some people when blog posts are sporadic.

I've just been...well, numb I think.

If you don't know, part of the community I grew up in all my life was just hit by the horrible tornadoes.  Nine miles from where I live... 

Many friends have been affected...from minor damage to total destruction except for the clothes on their backs.

As I have mentioned, I tend to struggle through some sadness when I return from Nicaragua each year.  It's just hard to re-acclimate to life here in the U.S.  I was only back six days when the tornadoes hit.

Have you ever had so many thoughts swirling in your head that you don't know how to begin to share them?  

Have you ever felt choked on emotion?

I have wanted to post on here...especially more about the amazing children and experiences I had with them, but I feel like I have just been stunned.

When I am upset, I tend to work, and of course, much work has been needed around here since the twisters.  

It felt overwhelming at first.  I had no idea where to begin.  As phone calls began to come through, however, I just realized you have to jump in...somewhere...anywhere...because the need is so great.

You just have to decide to believe that every little bit helps.  You do what you can and together, with everyone else doing what they can, you see the mountain being chipped away.  You start to see that the road ahead is long, but one day, we will cross the finish line.

Out of the dust, hope grows.

I have focused my attention on a dear friend and her family...keeping them fed and working to make sure they have what they need.  Everything around them was destroyed.  It makes NO logical sense that their home is standing on its hill.  It was like the tornado took out the forest behind them up to their home, split apart, took out the sheds on each side and all the neighbors things all around, and then kept on going!  Their neighbors literally cannot find four barns and a tractor!  

But my friends are safe.  

Only God can explain why.  And He is providing for them like none of us could've imagined.  I actually asked them to keep a journal of the blessings because every single day, more love is heaped on them.  Crazy love.  Outrageous blessings from complete strangers.

Thank You God.

When I finally made it out to her home, we drove the rode back into Henryville (the town you have probably heard about on the news).  That drive made me ill...just absolutely ill.  It was worse than seeing the aftermath of the hurricane when we lived in Pensacola.

Maybe it was because these were buildings I had seen since I was a little girl.  Maybe it was because I cheered for games in that school gym.  Maybe it was because of all the people I know who live in that town.

I don't know, but my heart is so heavy for my neighbors.  So many lost everything within seconds.  An entire family of five...gone, while the neighbor who invited them into his home lives.  Pray for this gentleman please.  He's heartbroken.  He's guilt-ridden.

And of course, there are many wonderful stories of amazement as well, like the precious mom who laid on top of her babies to protect them as her house came down upon her in the basement.  Portions of both her legs are amputated now, but still she embodies this fierce passion and determination to conquer anything life throws at her!

No matter how many times you see things like this on T.V., nothing prepares you for the eye-witness experience...just like stepping onto foreign soil and taking in the difference of life.

I don't really know what to say right now.  I guess all I can say is I am busy doing what God expects me to do instead of writing about it.

So...until I can compose myself more, please pray.  Pray for those who are grieving...those who need help...and those of us trying to help.  Most all of us are new at this (thankfully) and we are just learning as we go.  Some days we feel like we made a difference and some days it feels like we haven' t made a dent.

This community needs your prayers and your encouragement.

I love you friends.  I'm thankful for you.