Sunday, April 8, 2012


    Well that was one heck of a Lent, let me just say that.  Not sure if the ticker could have taken much more, but God has proven to be faithful as we've ventured out.  It's been five weeks since I first started blogging and advocating for little Colton (aka: "Hopper") on Reece's Rainbow.  It's been a crazy five weeks of begging people to donate, figuring out the best options for raising awareness in our community, and praying more diligently than I've prayed in recent memory.  So much good has happened.  So many people have inspired me.  So much is still left to be done.
   I've been thinking a lot about power lately.  What is power?  Who is powerful?  How can I become more powerful?  Better yet, do I want to become more powerful?  I've had a front row seat lately to the immense power that lays at the feet and in the hands of each and every one of us.  Power to change ourselves.  Power to change our community.  Power to change the world.  I think we often buy into the lie that we're "just" one person, or one family.  What can we really accomplish during our lifetime?  It got me thinking....
    First off, there are the people that adopt from Reece's Rainbow.  I don't know any of these people personally, but they continue to shock me into faith by their unbelievable acts of signing up to take home the weakest and most vulnerable of our world.  I scan the faces of the "chosen ones", the little ones who sparked some kind of intense bond with people half way across the world.  I look at cute little Tony:
Those of you familiar with Tripp Roth's story will probably instantly recognize the ravages of EB already inflicted upon this sweet boy.  And yet, someone picked him.  To be their son.  Someone in this world saw his picture and said, "Ah, yes, that one.  He will be ours."  Take a look at the picture of Tony with his family:
Nestled among loving arms.  A child with a disease so scary, but a family with a heart bigger than any disease.  Can you believe?  Can you even comprehend what it takes to take that leap?  I wish more people knew that these people exist.  They are so darn, well, powerful.  When most people think of powerful, I'm sure they start with the famous examples:  the President, the Pope, Brad Pitt.  You know, the people who have the grand stage.  The people who can get BIG things done.  But my focus is changing.  I'm starting to see the power of the "little people" and what they can do.  Like Tony's family.  They're just a small little family but look at what they've done!  They conquered their fears.  They pushed away their doubts.  They let God do something amazing in them.  And I'm just sitting back and watching this.  Watching God make manifest his glory in the small.  In the weak.  In some small family who said some small "yes."
     More than anything, being a part of this journey so far has led me down the road of believing that we are infinitely powerful.  We have this incredible capability of being supernatural lovers.  We all possess, deep within, the divine spark that can light this world on fire with mercy and compassion if we just let it breathe.  If we just let go of the fears and doubts that extinguish what God can do.  
    When I had just finished high school (many years ago), I ran into a lady by the name of Bunt Percy at a restaurant.  Bunt is the wife of the late author Walker Percy, if you're familiar with his writings.  Anyway, the Percy's and my grandparents were very good friends and so we chatted lightly for a second.  All of a sudden, she asked if I would be willing to come on Fridays to the nursing home with her and a couple of other older ladies to help push the old people to Mass in their dining hall.  Honestly, I really did not want to.  Like, at all.  But Bunt Percy was not one to really take "no" for an answer.  After trying out several excuses and watching her shoot them down with her 4'10"ish self, I agreed to go.  
    Anyhow, I showed up every Friday for the next couple of months and helped these old ladies push old ladies to Mass :).  I met a lot of interesting people and have many stories to share about my experiences there.  But one stands out.  One that I still cannot talk about today with crying (I realize that doesn't say much).  One Friday, as I was heading out to leave, Ms. Bunt stopped me in the stench-filled hallway.  
"Oh, Molly," she began,"would you mind going and staying with Mrs. Parker in Room 122 for a little bit?"
Ugh.  And I had just started to count down the minutes until I would stop having to smell urine and see way-too-long toenails perched on the step of a wheelchair.  Agh.
"Um, okay.  Why?" I asked, trying to come up with an urgent excuse that would require me to leave immediately, like intentionally breaking my leg so I wouldn't have to stay.  You know, like that excuse.
"Well, you see," she replied, "Mrs. Parker is dying and I really don't like to leave anyone dying alone and I have a lunch date with some friends."
Okaaaaaaaaaay.  Wait, what?  Dying?  As in dying dying?  SOMEBODY'S DYYYYYIIIIINNNNNGGGGG???????  In all my Fridays that I had been there, I had never been around somebody dying.  Heck, I had never been around anyone dying in my entire life and I certainly didn't want that first experience to be imminent.   I was seventeen years old and had no intention of starting up a ministry for those about to hit the eject button.  Nevertheless, Ms. Bunt would not listen to my endless protests.  
     I began the walk to Room 122 and started to slightly panic.  What would I say to a dying person? Umm, sooooooo, do you like to read? Scratch that.  Who would want to read as they are dying?  I can't read to a dying person!  Imagine leaving this world to the sound of a seventeen year old reading some trash from a magazine she picked up on the way in here?  No. Way.  That would not be an appropriate atmosphere in the least.  Umm, soooooo, where'd you grow up?  Scratch that.  Who would want to talk about their childhood when they're about to kick the bucket?  Nuh-uh. I was always pretty good at casual conversation but it slowly dawned on me this was not the time for such friendly banter.  What on earth am I going to do?  I thought about just running out.  Or diving head first into a trash can.  Nothing could have been as tortuous as hanging out outside Room 122 waiting to stare death in the face.  I think I even moaned out loud as I opened the door.  I'm sure that was pleasant for her to hear as she lay there about to meet her Maker.
    And there she was.  It was a room for four people and she was in the bed closest to the door on the right.   Propped up on her pillows and dressed in a pale blue nightgown.  Her eyes were closed and her breathing heavy.  I remember standing there for a second just taking her in.  Her long gray hair was matted to her head but was long enough to reach just past her shoulders.  I was desperately afraid.  And then she opened her eyes.  I thought for a second I would just pretend I was a cleaning lady, straighten some stuff up and exit swiftly. But I couldn't.  She smiled and a I approached the bed, in awe that someone dying was actually still able to smile.  I reached out and held her hand and didn't say a word.  Partly because I was terribly afraid of ruining a person's dying moment with something really stupid.  Partly because it was kind of peaceful just standing there.  I started to pray silently with my eyes closed, frantically searching my brain for any prayers that mentioned death.  To my utter relief, the Hail Mary was a perfect fit.  I opened my eyes at one point and saw her bulletin board hanging behind her head.  The bulletin board showed pictures of her on her wedding day and pictures of what looked to be family.  I got sad, realizing she was once a healthy, beautiful lady and now was reduced to shallow breathing in a nursing home bed.   Where was her family?, I thought.  Maybe they were all dead.  They had better be dead.  If they did exist and they weren't here, I might have taken matters into my own hands.
    I don't know how long I stood there.  Not sure how many Hail Mary's I said.  But I will never forget one moment.  The moment this poor lady, taking difficult breaths and struggling to find a comfortable position, opened her eyes again.  Her big blue eyes began to fill with tears and they started spilling down her cheeks and wetting her gray hair.  I was about to let loose my own fragile emotions when she gathered up the energy to speak between struggling breaths.  "Thank you for being here with me," she said.  Whoa.  I realized how scared she was.  How comforting it must have been to have another human being lay witness to your death, a stranger though she may be.  I relaxed.  There would be no words necessary.  No poem would suffice.  All that was needed was a presence and a touch.  And, even at the young age of seventeen, I was able to give that.  
    She closed her eyes once again and lay back peacefully.  I recall that moment, as ironic as it might be, as a moment when I felt mind-blowingly powerful for perhaps the first time.  That, for the first time I could remember, I felt like my life had incredible meaning.  Apart from the grades, apart from the sports, apart from the social stresses of teenage life, I felt a strong purpose in there being a Molly Meredith on earth.  It was a "George Bailey" kind of moment.  What if I had never been born?  That lady would have been all alone.  I smiled at that.  Not in a weird way, but in a way that felt strong and empowering.    
     I'm forever trying to cultivate a realistic expectation of who I can be in this life.  A great mother- I hope.  An amazing wife- it's my dream.  A voice for the voiceless- yes.  Having the honor of being the voice of Hopper has filled my heart in so many ways.  Seeing people respond to his little picture makes my heart go deep, deeper than it's been in a while.  Down into the trenches of the human experience.  Into the sufferings of the silent.  Into the pain of the neglected.  I have crazy dreams for these kids on Reece's Rainbow.  And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God can do powerful things in me.  And not only that He can, but that He must.  I will not stand by and let these kids waste away in an institution.  I am no Brad Pitt.  I am no Pope Benedict.  But I am me.  And you are you.  There are small missions and big missions for all of us.  Things that no one else can do.  And if we fail to let God take our lives as His own, those things will not be accomplished.  Never doubt that you were put on this earth for amazing things.  Amazingly small.  Amazingly big.  It really is all the same.

It's Heath's eleventh birthday today.  Won't you say a small prayer that somebody will look at him and see their future?  A lady that visited the institution where Heath lives said he was small, dirty and alone.  A raw sob almost bursts out of me when I read that.  But I won't despair.  I'll go on believing the small people of the world will see him one day.  And in his smallness, they'll recognize him as their own.


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