. . . even if he does not . . .
A little over two years ago, three beautiful women and I spent a beautiful, heart-searching, restful, exciting time together. I'd seen all of them before, in college, but we didn't know each other until we met blogging.
When we came together, we were all at crucible times in our lives. There were big decisions, daily struggles, important questions, and we came together not to find answers or to make it better, but to figure out, together, how to live in the pain, the crunch, the stress of that place.
We found community. We found rest and forgiveness and a place where we could each be ourselves in the fullness of what that means. We found that a community God had joined together could be strong, even if it didn't make sense, even though some of us hadn't been sure we should really get on that plane, go, and reach out.
Kirsten was one of those women. It was her home we invaded, her food we ate, her wine we drank, her town we explored and came to love.
Eleven days ago, I stayed up late to pray for her son. Ewan was born beautiful, and with a broken heart. Eleven days ago, so many around the world gave up sleep and work and prayed him through a surgery even the doctors weren't sure he'd survive.
Over the last eleven days, I have cried great tears. I've prayed, beseeched, sent love and peace and rest and clarity and strength. I've spoken words and simply told God that he has to pray for me because I can't find the right language to say anything at all.
Last night, we prayed again. I fell asleep with Ewan's name on my lips and woke with it in the same place. But he was gone by the time I rose, safe in Jesus' arms, knowing love the rest of us only imagine.
I've looked at pictures of him off and on all day. I love his spirit, how he knows his mama and the baby wisdom in his eyes. I've focused on the photo above, where he sees her eyes and grips her finger. This was a precious baby, a loved baby, a little one who knew who held him and how secure that hold was. When I remember Ewan, I'll remember that.
And I'm left with a phrase that came from that special weekend two years ago. Three men, about to be thrown into a fiery furnace because they wouldn't worship falsely, asked if they were really that committed to their God. Could he save them?
They replied that he could, that he was great and worthy and he could do it. But even if he did not, they would choose to follow him. Even if he let them die in the heat and the flames, the would choose him every time. Even if he didn't show up, even if they looked like fools, even if he let the situation play out without any intervention, they had made their choice.
Eleven nights ago, God intervened. He made a miracle. Last night, he did not. But even here, even when he did not, my friend is choosing hope. That's no small statement. That's a huge, world-shattering statement, and a precious, tender one, too. What a legacy for the tiny one they love so much!
Pray for Kirsten and for James, as they bear this burden, as they bear pain and emptiness and the weight of questions I cannot imagine. I wish I could hold her tonight.
These last two weeks, walking alongside in my small way, following from afar a story that had taken up residence in my heart, has changed me. I don't know how yet. But I know this: my friend has a heart that can say even if he does not . . . and I aspire to have that heart, too.