Have you ever had to watch someone you love so deeply go through something that you had no control over and you just had to sit quietly by and watch them hurt? Have you ever wished and prayed for something so different than the ways things actually turned out? Have you ever wondered why bad bad things happen to really good amazing people? Seven years ago tomorrow that very thing happened in my circle of friends.
I was pregnant with my second child and one of my very best friends was pregnant with her first and it was so fun to think of our children growing up so close together. I got the call that she was in labor and was so excited to meet their bundle of joy. Later on that afternoon as I was planning to go to the hospital, I got a call that brought news that changed the course of my dear friends life forever. There were complications in delivery and her son was taken immediately to Riley Children's Hospital with her husband and she was at the other hospital recovering from an emergency c-section. The troops rallied and the four of us that had been friends with this new mom since childhood came to the hospital and cried with our friend. We prayed and squealed at his pictures and wondered what on earth to say or do or how to help our friend on this journey. Five days later Joey's short life came to an end in the arms of his parents. This tragedy was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed but it was also something completely unsuspecting. It was beautiful. It was full of God's Grace.
My dear friend was a newer Christian at the time and I remember worrying about her faith and her new marriage and her emotions and her entire life. I remember hurting to the pit of my stomach for her and her husband. I still do. I still cannot think about Joey without tearing up. But I had no reason for worry. I witnessed in my friend and her husband, God's grace at It's fullest. I watched them comfort others. I watched them lean on one another and their faith family. I watched them turn to God and in a moment that would have brought the greatest of faiths to question, I watched them grow in their walk with our God. I watched friends and family support them and carry them and cry with them and watched this amazing couple celebrate the life of their son. They did not get stuck in the moment of his death but they celebrated the life of this blessed little boy.
I remember having one of those primal cries that come from the pit of your stomach and seem to crawl out of your throat and into the air. I remember holding my growing belly and feeling scared and so sad for my sweet friend knowing how hard it would be to be around me now...to be around my baby. I told her that I understood if it was something she couldn't do. Once again, she showed God's grace. She was the first one to hold my Noah, other than me. We both just looked at each other and cried. She said she feels blessed to be able to look at Noah through the years and get a glimpse at the things Joey would be doing right now.
They played the song "I Can Only Imagine" at his memorial service. I think of him everytime I hear it. It still makes me weep. I can only imagine.....I cannot wait to be in heaven one day and see my amazing friend dancing before Jesus with her son.
My friends faith and her grace and the comfort she found in our Savior grew me. I know that it grew many. I know that to this day when she writes a note to a family that is grieving, she still changes lives. Joey still changes lives. And so today, I thank God for Joey and his mom and dad. I thank God for their witness. I thank God that He can create a life so amazing that in five short days, he could change eternity for some.