If you could summarize your life in 50 days, how would you do it? What days would you include? What days would you leave out? Most of us could easily remember the 50 best days of our lives – 50 days that represent who we are.
This should be easy, because (from our perspective) 50 days is a short period of time. But for Maddie, 50 days was a lifetime. In 50 days, Maddie took her first and last breath. She smiled her first smile. And she started to recognize the faces of those who held her and cared for her. For 50 days, Maddie fought for her life. And for 50 days, each and every breath was a miracle.
I learned a lot about life in 50 days. I learned about the heartbreak that comes when you care for a baby whose body has been destroyed by drugs. When you hold a baby like Maddie, you know that no baby should ever have to suffer like that. And through her I learned that life is fragile; that life is messy. But through all of the pain that life brings, life is filled with hope.
In a recent book, Dean Koontz wrote, “Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.”
I struggle to see reason for all things. Yet, in these 50 days, I see God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s providence. I am reminded of when King David lost his infant son. When he learned that his son had died, he said, "Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." David knew something that we all need to know, and in this I find hope: we are not home yet.
Maddie is home. And she is free of all of the hurt that this world brings. There’s nothing I can do to bring her back. But one day, I will be going home. And that day holds such a glorious reunion.
It's been one year. For those of you who have stood beside us over the last year - you have been a source of strength I can not begin to describe. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We love you.