Friday, June 29, 2007

Cards and Memories

I have a large basket in my closet...

...where I toss all the birthday/valentine/thank you/anniversary/mother's day/father's day/christmas cards that arrive at our house. The plan is to compile them in scrapbooks. I did this for all my baby shower cards. They are in a book that stretches through Brenna's first birthday. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed creating it.

That's the plan. Not reality. Reality is that they are piled in a huge basket. In my closet. (see picture above. ; )

So today I decided to at least sort the cards into four piles: Michael, Julie, Brenna, and Daniel. My stack won't stay stacked it's so high. Brenna's is nearly as high. Michael has a manageable short stack. And Daniel had one card. (To be fair, I know there are a few more in his top dresser drawer.)

But that's not what was so unexpected about this task. There were cards/notes in there that I'd forgotten about. Three - in particular.

The first was a note to me from Michael. He put it in my suitcase when my friend Christine and I flew to Boston to spend some time with a special couple whose baby had died. The note acknowledged my fears and encouraged my heart. He knew I had no idea what to say or how to comfort a friend in a situation like this...but he also knew I HAD to go. Everything in me needed to be with my friend. He supported that completely and promised that all would be well at home. On the back was a list of questions, like the type we used to ask each other all the time in college. (If you were a ....? What would you do if...? Would you rather....? etc.)

The second was a thank you note. It came from the mother of a young man who was killed in a car accident a few years ago. She thanked me for coming to the services and grieving with their family during such a difficult time. Shawn, and his twin brother Chris, were in my government class their senior year. They were a part of a class that I remember as the best group of kids I ever had the privilege to work with. I loved that class. Shawn was no exception. He was always smiling and he was so much fun to be around. I remember receiving that terrible phone call and feeling absolutely sick. That kind of thing was not supposed to happen to MY students. They were supposed to be enjoying college and considering careers. But it did happen. And it was a difficult service to attend. I watched the tears roll down the faces of all these 'kids' who'd been my students, just a few years earlier. I just wanted to hug them all and protect them from the hurt. But I couldn't. All this came flooding back as I read that note this afternoon.

The third was very personal. It was a card sent to me after my miscarriage. I thought I had put all the cards and memories away in a special box. I wanted them that way so I could choose when to relive that hurt. I guess they didn't all make it. I miscarried in February 2005. I hadn't told my friends I was pregnant because something didn't feel quite right. So when we called with the prayer request, it was a double shock. I had to have a D&C because my body didn't miscarry naturally. I thought I was about 10 or 11 weeks pregnant, but the ultrasound, where no heartbeat was detected, showed that the baby stopped developing around 8 weeks. Today I found a card from a friend who shared comfort from the words of a song. She had been thinking about me during church and copied down the words from a chorus they were singing. It touched me all over again.

My little organizing activity turned into a trip down memory lane today. God sure has walked me through some tough ones. I'm thankful for the reminder of his faithfulness, even if it has to come the hard way.

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