Continued Hope

There are many of you who have followed us silently reading our updates and praying for us. We are grateful for all your prayers. There are also those of you who have written to us, visited us and called us offering your support – thank you. There are those of you, so very many of you, who have offered us financial support through your donations to Catie’s Wish and to St. Jude – what a legacy, not just for Catie but for all of us. Each and every action or prayer is seen by Our Heavenly Father and has provided us with so many daily and momentary miracles – more than any of us imagined as this journey with Catie began last year.

I have witnessed so many blessings and healings. A grandmother with a cancerous tumor, was told that any treatment would only prolong her life, has been cured. A miracle for all of us indeed! How many of us have prayed and requested one thing or another – not even for ourselves and felt disappointed? I have. The feeling was a daily part of my life in Memphis, as I alone was the witness to Catie’s life. Please God heal her! Then when Catie herself told me that she wanted to take care of the other kids should she not live – somewhere in that selflessness I felt a miracle. Catie understood that we all, no matter how strong our faith is, need examples or role models of faith and strength to follow. At seven, she was willing to offer herself for others.

A friend struggling with their mother, who is living with dementia – (How does that work? The body of the person you love and who brought you into this world, is with you and their mind is missing.) offered prayers that God would spare Catie and take her mother, in Catie’s place, as she felt that is many ways she had already lost her mother. For with each phone call and visit she wished for a glimpse of a memory to share with her mother; always hoping that there will be one tiny thing to give her peace. Today and every day she calls her mother she continues to hope that her mother will remember. Today as we all remember Catie we continue to hope that we have the eyes of faith to see the tiny miracles that perhaps Catie is responsible for each day.

Last night another child we have been praying for died. Again overcome with grief the tears fell and the children gathered round to provide comfort. Understanding is not a part of this, hope is. This morning the following thought occurred, what if Catie was providing so many tiny miracles for all of us and existing in heaven watching us to see our reaction only to realize that we were not paying attention to what she was doing. Why is it that a miracle has to be a healing? M.E., at three, is capable of seeing a miracle in the sunset. There M.E. sees Catie and each night tells Catie how beautiful her sunset is and how much M.E. loves and misses Catie. M.E. doesn’t question why Catie did not intercede for another child. She simply delights in what is here for her; what is here each evening is the sunset. This morning a very thoughtful friend sent an e-mail telling me about her experience with last night’s sunset and how perfectly our home was “perched” for the perfect view of the sunset. It is true we have an awesome view of the sunset and each time we see one we think of Catie.

Every time Catie painted at St. Jude she painted a sunset because they reminded her of home. Why is it that I would rather be able to share a miraculous healing? Isn’t that God’s job and decision? Catie cried in France as we were boarding the plane to return home because she was afraid that she had let us down by not being healed in the waters at Lourdes. Is that why the tears fall because I want to spare another mother from having to walk in these shoes that I have been walking in these past few months? Yes, it is but it is not up to me. The only thing that is up to me is my level of hope and trust in God’s plan. Today is a new day. It will be filled with dozens of frustrations, joys, hopes and dreams. My plan is to share it all with my children and do my best to see all the tiny miracles that God or Catie may have for us. Join us won’t you?

On Monday, after we had written that we went to the movies to see MY SISTERS KEEPER we received a few comments, many asking if we were crazy. There are times we question that too. The following is the only answer – knowing what I am facing is easier than a surprise these days. If there is a movie about cancer or a caring bridge update chances are very good that it will be about pain, suffering, the unknown, the fear, the hope and ultimately the surrender to God for healing and help. The life that I used to live was not focused this way, nor is life focused that way for many of us. Or is it?

Is the need for prayer – communion or communication with God needed or a necessary part of each of our lives and is it just the case that some of us understand this and others continue to search out alternate answers? There is one soul, literally, whom I have prayed for since the first day he scowled at me. (I have been told it his way of smiling, tough as that is to imagine.) He questions everything and doesn’t seem to give much consideration to organized religion. As far as I can tell everything is between God and him – very private. If that works for you great, but I would think if that worked for you – really worked you would have less questions. My main concern for him revolves around his children. As far as I can tell children learn from example. They love to imitate – at first actions, and as they get older words too. Eventually finding their own way in this world; how will that work for them if their example is a father that seeks everything in private? Where is their example? Aren’t we human and as humans don’t we need each other? Simply put if Adam had everything he needed wouldn’t the Bible have ended at its beginning? I think we need each other for most things. One of the main things that I have found that I need from others is comfort and when that is not enough I need others for prayer too. Catie’s funeral would not have had as comforting an effect on me if there I stood alone in prayer or even if it was just the seven of us. Catie’s funeral comforted me because others shared my prayers, joined my prayers and offered their own for me.

Is it true that prayer is something reserved only for the holy rollers? If you are a Holy Roller do you really have nothing better to do? Or is the truth that you have found that there is nothing like prayer in your life? Or is prayer reserved for the desperate because they have no other options. Every once in a while each of us is blessed to come across someone who seems to “have it all” and they give all the credit to God. How rare is the sports star who blesses himself before batting, or after the touchdown, or when the twenty foot putt is sunk? How rare is it to come across a Hollywood star speaking of their faith not their politics? How rare is it to see a family eating out with heads bowed in prayer before their meal? How rare is it to find a wealthy person giving beyond even their abundance? When any of us witness this aren’t we witnessing God actively working in the life of another? When we turn to God in prayer and share this aren’t we doing the same?

Again I ask you to join me in prayer for the families of the children at St. Jude and other children’s hospitals across the country. Again I ask you to pray for our children and for your own. Again I ask you to simply pray to see all the miracles each day that God has prepared just for you because you are God’s children. Prayer is the difference. Last night my heart was breaking with the news; while it is still new to me I know God has a plan. The scriptures contain so many words of comfort for all of us. If you don’t know any by heart, hopefully these will give you peace.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. (John 14: 1-3)

“Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.” (John 16:20)

May your day be filled with peace and joy and a loved one to share it with,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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