Like so many other people, I was heartbroken over the latest violence and lost lives in the news. It was hard for me to hear about and hard to read about. I am devastated for those parents who will now be burying their children this holiday season instead of celebrating with them. They won't get to see their kids run down the stairs Christmas morning. The presents will go unopened. And it will go beyond Christmastime too. When the rest of the world gets over the shock and moves on, they will still be grieving. These parents will never get another hug from their baby, they will never get to tuck their kids into bed again, no more giggles or kisses. Their birthdays will be remembered at a grave site, their balloons sent to heaven.
It brought back a lot of emotions for me as I thought of all those families whose lives were changed in an instant. I'm not even going to pretend I know what it's like to lose a child so tragically, but I do know about all those broken hopes and dreams. I know about the things you never think will happen to you, and then you find yourself experiencing the unthinkable.
I found myself holding Cohen even closer. And thinking about what is in store for his little life. All those minutes, hours, and days we spent praying he would make it just one more day. All the battles he fought and won. He has overcome so much and yet, there are no guarantees of how many days or years we will get to spend with him.
I know this is totally cliche, but each moment really is a gift. As I cleaned up Cohen's lunch off the floor again, and watched him take all of the Christmas decorations off the tree again, and empty all of the desk drawers again, I thought about how these were the moments we had waited for. These were the moments we would give anything to have with Carter. And moments like these are the ones that so many parents never get to experience.
The thing is, those kids, they aren't hurting anymore. They aren't in pain. I know there is a special place in heaven for children. It's the ones left behind, they are the ones who have an incredibly long road to walk. Some days, the only thing that brings me peace is knowing that heaven exists and that my Carter is with Jesus, what better place to be!? Sometimes we work so hard to keep God out of our lives, and then when something like this happens, we blame him. We often wonder where God is in things like this, and I saw one person respond that Jesus is there, welcoming those little children into heaven. This poem and picture have been floating around the internet, and I think they fit so well. We have a picture similar to this in Cohen's room. It was given to me by a good friend and I just love it. Our picture is of a baby being held in the arms of Jesus, my only comfort.
twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the ai
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."
Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA