The other thing I struggle with is wanting her to not experience pain. For her life to be full of love, full of excitement, full of peace.
And then I think back on my life. I remember highs and lows. And I remember that summer night in ’88.
I recall that night every Christmas when I pull this package out with the rest of my Christmas ornaments.
Out of this tattered, twenty-year-old envelope, I pull out a well-worn Ziploc bag, a folded piece of paper and a silver bear ornament.
On August 10, 1988, my family’s house was struck by lightning. I watched from across the street as firefighters rolled up and started at work, putting out the fire. When all was said and done that night, fire, smoke and water had wreaked havoc on our house.
Over the next few months, little miracles would happen. This envelope is one of those bright lights.
The Christmas after I was born, this bear ornament adorned our tree and would forever mark my first Christmas. But after the fire, it was covered in soot and tarnished, almost beyond recognition.
Enter Burke’s Jewelers. After they worked their magic, this envelope came back in the mail.
Looks a little better, huh? The back would not polish up without taking off a lot of metal but the front side cleaned up pretty good.
Hope things will be back to normal for all of you very soon. There is no charge for this.
Each Christmas, with music playing and the tree sitting in the middle of the living room floor, I open the envelope. I read Fred’s letter, and I pull the shining bear from the bag and hang it on the tree.
Some years, the sight of the envelope or the words of the letter bring a tear to my eye [even writing this does]. Other years, it makes me sit back and think about how God provided for our family through that experience.
And when it comes down to it, what I really want is for baby girl to turn to God in those hard moments of life. They’re going to come, and I hope she learns from each and every one of them and grows stronger.