Sunday 8 March 2020

Precious Children

I got up this morning with every intention of adding to my last blog. The news lately has been overrun with the disappearance or death of God's precious children by the hands of their parents, foster parents, care givers and total strangers. One of these stories was on Dateline a couple of Friday's ago, and it really struck home because much of it took place in the town closest to where I raised my own children in Southeastern Idaho. The bizarre happenings have become so sensationalized that people around the globe now know the names of everyone involved and are just waiting to see what will happen next.

As a former teacher of high school journalism and television production, I know how the media works. Their job is to sell the news by slanting it in whatever direction will get the most readers and viewers. And like it or not, we have become a society that literally devours tragedy, ruthlessness, anti-heroism, the inhumane, the bad and the disgusting. I suppose that's the reason I went into overload this morning after reading an article my sister sent about new legislation in Washington state. The headline read: Sex ed bill requires R-rated material taught to children."

I won't go into details because it was much too graphic and disturbing for my gentle spirit. I believe children should be allowed to play, grow and learn without being bombarded by things they are too young to understand. There is a time and a place for everything, and not all children are ready to learn about certain things at the same age. But after shutting down my computer and getting ready for church, I suddenly realized that I didn't want to write about the atrocities perpetuated against children again like I had planned on doing. They hurt too much for the survivor and will never be fully understood. 

Satan wants us to become so discouraged, depressed, and even fascinated with his evil designs, and the people who choose to follow him, that we can no longer see the good in the world and express gratitude for the millions of wonderful parents who are trying to safeguard their children and instill healthy values. So I decided to comment on some of the amazing people I've viewed over the past few weeks who have set such a tremendous example for me. I've seen numerous parents who have children with disabilities like Down's Syndrome, Autism, anxiety, missing limbs, loss of hearing or sight and the inability to communicate who show tremendous compassion, acceptance, tolerance and love. 

I suppose that's why I love being part of a religious community so much and having the privilege of teaching little children each week at church. I love their innocence, beauty, self-acceptance, inquisitiveness and ability to learn. I love watching fathers help their sons do difficult tasks and mothers taking their daughters to activities where they can be included, even if they don't understand. 

But I suppose the most life-altering experience I've had recently is watching a family at church as they rose to the challenge of accepting what God had in mind for their son. He was born at less than 27 weeks and weighed only little over a pound. His chance of survival was minimal. His esophagus hadn't even attached to his stomach, and there was nothing he could do on his own. His sweet parents were given the choice of allowing him to die in as much comfort as the nurses and doctors could provide, or have him life-flighted to a neonatal facility at the University of Utah hospital. They chose to take a risk.

I watched and listened in a state of almost suspended animation as these faithful and brave parents spent time with him each day, cherishing each moment because they knew it could be his last. Prayers were sent heavenward, medical personnel kept constant watch and God sent miracles. Today McKay reached five pounds. He is two and a half months old and has been through more in his short time on earth than most people go through in a long and productive lifetime. When I see his beautiful face, and eyes so bright and alert, I know I am seeing God's tender mercy in action. No one knows what the future might bring for him, but for me, and all who are aware of him, he has taught us so much about our reason for being here.

We came to earth to gain a body, follow God's commandments, do good as our Savior did, gain experience and prove our willingness to put aside the natural man so we can return to our heavenly home again. If I choose to fill my mind with all the evil and negativity in the world, I'm missing the entire point for being here. That's not to say I shouldn't be aware of, and do, what I can to make bad situations better. We can't be fence sitters and expect to foster the right kind of change. But if I want to spread personal light, it has to come from within. 

That's why I choose to focus on the positive today. It makes my heart soar when I see others who share the same desire. Life will be filled with hard knocks for all of us, and we need to be there for others who feel they may be losing their way. Especially our children. They are the future of the world and all that is in it. When I leave this earth, I hope the babies I tried to carry in this life will be there to meet me. I dedicate the following poem to them, and to all parents who have lost children before they were able to hold them in their arms. They may not be with us in body, but they are always part of our soul. Perhaps we love and cherish others more because of all we have lost.

My tiny, precious baby,
just a few short moments ago 
your physical body left mine.
Only heaven can know the pain
and sorrow I am now experiencing.

It is so real, so intense, so consuming.
Yet somewhere deep inside 
is a calmness, a loving certainty
that you are back home where you belong
with our Heavenly Father and Mother.

I wanted to give you a physical body,
a home for your spirit, and a family 
who would always love and support you.
I wanted to feel your tiny arms around my neck
and hear you call me “mommy.”

Oh, I know God must love you very much
and He must need you with Him a little longer.
But that does not stop the anguish
or the sorrow that comes from losing you.
For leaving your remains where I can never visit them.

And it does not take away the emptiness
I will feel inside when I leave this hospital 
without you inside of me, next to my heart, 
where I can cherish the feeling of your little spirit 
growing, changing, becoming someone wonderful.

Yesterday, a one-time miracle happened.
The doctor did an ultra sound.
I saw your tiny body, every finger and toe, 
clinging desperately and heroically to mine,
and your strong heart beating with clarity.

I knew you were a fighter,
and that someday you would 
bless the lives of so many others 
with your strength, your caring,
your tenancy and indomitable spirit.

I can see the temple through my window.
Its brilliant light seems to be guiding my way.
The clock says it is nearly three in the morning.
The physical danger for me has not yet passed, 
but when it does, life will go on. 

Still, I doubt my emotional longing for you 
will ever subside into anything less
than profound heartache and a gnawing
question about God's timing and design; 
His reason for taking you from me.

But know this, my darling baby,
I wanted you, and you will always be
part of my life, my soul and my heart.
Every time I look up into the blue of the sky,
I will pray that someday we will meet.

That I can look into your angle face
and give you all that was denied to both of us
in this mortal lifetime of hard discovery.
Believing that will someday happen gives me 
the courage to move forward on my own. 

Be brave my precious baby of great promise.
Know that God is real, His purpose kind,
His reasoning fair, and our joy complete
when we are finally allowed to meet.
Eternity will be truly glorious if you are there.

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