I've written several blog posts in my mind this week. This will be the first to actually make it all the way to the keyboard. Ironically, I'm not entirely sure what it is I want to say at the moment. I just know I need to write if I'm going to clear all the thoughts bumping around in my brain.
My first intention this week was to post pictures of my baby rabbits. They're too cute to not share. But then I was so heartsick over the news coming out of Iraq (and, quite honestly, the rest of the world), it didn't seem right to be posting pictures of baby bunnies when so many are suffering so greatly. I can't even fathom what the persecuted religious minorities are facing at the hands of ISIS. How do you talk about anything else, how do you function, when children are being beheaded? Late Tuesday night, or rather early Wednesday morning, I wrote a long mental post about the evil that runs rampant in the world today. Now more than ever, I don't know how people make it through without the love and hope of Jesus Christ in their lives.
As I lay awake Wednesday night into Thursday morning, my thoughts turned to my youngest son. Once upon a time, I had a series called "Friday's Mark" on this blog. My theme for the site at the time, inspired by Throwaway, was "Leave Your Mark" with the hopes of encouraging others to make a difference in this world. Now more than ever, this world needs people to leave a positive mark on it, so I'm working to revive the series. Since today is my youngest son's 10th birthday, it seemed fitting to re-launch the series with a post honoring him.
After my first son came multiple failed attempts at a second child. The doctor told us it was time to consider seeing a specialist or accepting that Dylan would be an only child. I'd had too many miscarriages to even consider going through more. Adam and I talked about it and decided that if God wanted us to have more children, He'd give them to us. About the time we decided to stop trying, we had son #2.
Fifteen months later, with our marriage in shambles and life in general at an all-time low, son #3 made his appearance. I was terrified. I knew I was in over my head and questioned how I'd ever manage to be any kind of mother to three children. (Alone, at that!) It seemed a cruel twist of fate that I'd been unable to have children for so long and now that everything was awful, we had a whoops on our hands.
Now, looking back, I say that Chris is living, breathing proof that God is smarter than me. The kid was a ray of sunshine from day one. (Aside from the fact that his pending arrival scared me enough to get my behind back into church - something my entire family desperately needed. Once we put God back in the center of the family, it's kinda crazy how everything fell back into place...)
Chris just makes the world a brighter place for his being in it. I know it's hard for him living in the shadow of two brothers who are both larger than life, but he still manages to shine. Sometimes, his pizzazz demands to be noticed - like when he went through the stage where he lived in lime green cowboy boots. Sometimes, he's the one quietly in the background doing what needs to be done with a strength beyond his years - like the moment when he knelt in the sand beside his lifeless brother to pray while we waited for paramedics. He was six and yet he was so very strong.
When Chris was four, I swore one of us wasn't going to make it through that age. His will was pure iron and his spirit of adventure was almost more than my nerves could bear.
He can sing like nobody's business with a natural talent I can't help but envy. He's scary-smart. In one breath he's demanding the world notice him, in the next, he's painfully shy and terrified they will. My youngest son is an enchanting paradox who keeps me on my toes, and the world will forever be a better place for the time he will spend in it. I'm sure of that much.
We were on our way home from celebrating his birthday tonight when I got the call that a dear friend had passed. We've only known him for a little over a year, but his impact on our lives has been profound. I'm surrounded by people who knew him better, who have more right to grieve than I, but I can't help this wave of sadness that's washed over me.
We knew it was coming; he's been so very ill. The last time I spoke with him, he told me he was ready to go. His disease was making anything more exerting than sitting in a chair too difficult, and his mind wasn't the kind to take sitting in a chair well. If ever there was a person I'm sure went to heaven, it's him. So I know my sorrow is for myself, for his family. But I sorrow still.
He was a kind and gentle man of great wisdom, who loved the Lord with all his heart and spent his life sharing that love with others. He truly left a mark on this world.
When we got home, I went to my bunny barn to peek in at the babies before dark. I figured if anything could keep the tears at bay long enough to help my son finish celebrating his day, the bunnies could.
And that, I guess, is why I post pictures of bunnies and goats and chickens and dogs snuggling cats while Rome burns all around me. Because I believe in finding the scrap of joy while there's one to be had. I believe the Bible when it said that Jesus would never leave or forsake us, and I feel those words ringing in my ear every time I look at a beautiful sunset or watch the miracle of life happen on my little farm.
I post bunnies because they make me smile, and the world could use more smiles.
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.