Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beyond Profound Silence

If you read "Beyond Chapter One" you got a glimpse into the 14 months of emotional upheaval our family endured as we were flung into the world of childhood cancer. There were crazy hard days like that first one, and trips to the emergency room in the middle of snowy nights, time in the intensive care unit, admission after admission to the hospital, setback upon setback, and then having to watch her physical strength fade away. The time we fought felt like just a moment and an entire lifetime at once. The unexpected gifts of living with our perspective of a life threatening illness each day in the journey allowed us to hold tightly to moments of hope, and joy while also experiencing deep heartache. Through it all Grace had a sense of peace and acceptance I don't know if I will ever fully understand, except to say that God's presence had to have wrapped itself so snuggly around her that she felt safe in his arms even on those worst of days. God gave her an eternal perspective and many times through her journey we heard tidbits of her hearing God whispers in her ear. She knew she had cancer before she was diagnosed. She lived with joy when the news of relapses came. She waved as she was meeting eternal friends unseen by us in her last days on earth. She didn't want to die... but she knew where she was going.

If you have read this blog at all you know the "end" of Grace's story. The cancer physically took her away from us. We have been left reeling in pain while trying to figure out how to keep living this life that used to be so full of her that her absence is beyond profound silence. How do we keep going? We breathe because God gives us breath. We take another step forward because there is still a road to walk on. We find hope in eternity because we believe God's promise of it in his word is true and Grace's experiences of touching heaven are undeniable.

Yesterday we received a beautiful gift in the mail. Thank you to my CBC friends! It's the likeness of Grace on a Palamino horse flying amongst rainbows. Is it an actual glimpse of heaven? Maybe. Maybe not. The bible does reference amazing colors in heaven though, rainbow like in description, and horses too. In any case it gives me great peace to see my girl with some of the things she loved most here. I wanted to share it with you.

More than anything
in this life I pray
that Grace's story will give people
a longing for heaven
that they cannot explain.

That somehow her spiritual strength and living with joy even though such difficult circumstances will give you encouragement in your daily struggles and hope in an eternity that is yours for the asking. Her story is not over... it has just begun. Beyond Chapter one, beyond her final breath here, is her truest beginning.