Almost every year our family watches the classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. And every time we do, I end up in tears. The outpouring of love and support from George’s community in his most vulnerable hour gets to me. And it is a familiar feeling now. I recognize it as a common emotion throughout 2012 - humbling gratitude. When our family was in its most needy state, the thoughtfulness, generosity and sensitivity of those around us was like a cup of cold water. There were nurses who went out of their way to take blood in the least invasive way possible when Jordan was feeling like a pin cushion. An aunt offered to buy us new winter tires for Kim to drive our car over the often treacherous mountain passes. Strangers donated money for free flights for Jordan to return home for precious days of normality in between dreaded hospital stays. I have kept a box of all the cards, letters and emails through that year. I haven’t had the heart yet to go through them all but their presence warms me from the inside out.
The classic Christmas movie asks the question of how the world would be different if an individual would not have been born. Such an incredible premise. I don’t think any of us realize the extent to which our lives intersect with and impact others. My life is so much richer for having known Jordan...for the privilege of being his mother. Part of his impact in my life is a desire to be more open, more expressive of appreciation and love for others - not to play it safe - to risk. In several ways this last year, I have chosen safer paths - ones where I can’t be easily hurt.
When I find myself shrinking back in prayer, I’m trying to protect myself. Initially I think that I’m protecting the other from disappointment if my prayer is not immediately and visibly effective. But really, I’m moving into self-protection. The opposite of Christmas....the opposite of Easter. Both the birth and the death of the Son of God didn’t bear immediate or visible effect. In fact, Jesus and His parents were refugees, fleeing from threat of death. And judging by the tiny representation of His followers at the cross, Jesus looked like a failure to His enemies.
I don’t eagerly run toward chaos and confusion. Kim often does. When I and others are hurting, he moves closer. That’s just one way he reflects Jesus.
For God so loved the world, that He gave. And He opened Himself up in a whole new way to the world hurting Him.
My youngest son kept on risking, right until the end, right until He went home. He could have quit. He didn’t. And somehow that spurs me on.