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So often we go through life and have this feeling of helplessness.  As I look on our shelf right now I see the picture posted above.  How dark, how cold.  Just Rachel and Trey walking up a snowy hill.  At the top she would simply let him go.  It was not the first “snowy hill” we would have to climb and sadly not the last time we had to let him go.  Dark…cold.

With Trey there was nothing we could do to change the ultimate outcome.  Truth is, the steps we took to save his life caused him arguably more pain and suffering than the disease (though it did prolong his life for which we are forever grateful).  For many people, there are times in our lives when we realize that we are really not in control of our ultimate outcome.  Yes, this seemingly flies in the face of the “if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything” message which is so prevalent in our world today.  Yes, I am talking about more of a grand scheme of things and not a career choice but I stand by my assertion.  We control very little of our world.

Before you accuse me of being overly Nihilistic (plus two for me being smarter than you think, minus three for telling you that…sigh) there is more to this message.  It’s what doesn’t show up in this picture…overtly.  All you can see is darkness and a pop of color in the sled (which if I were really smart I would make an analogy for, or comparison to, a little girl in red appearing in a black and white movie or something like that).  No, what you don’t see is the screaming brightness of Trey’s face.  The searing joy of a young boy undaunted by the enormity of a hill that was both literally and figuratively before him.  What you don’t see is the warmth exuding from Rachel as she treasures these fleeting moments with her son.

I once had a woman tell me that my faith in God was a crutch and showed weakness.  We knew each other for quite some time and she seemingly was simultaneously trying to make me look bad and herself smart.  She talked about how people should take their lives into their own hands and not rely on this mythological “higher power.”  Many of you may believe the same thing.  That’s your right to believe that.  I’m only telling you what I’ve learned.  By the way, I lovingly didn’t take the bait and argue with her.  I just politely nodded and told her that I understood clearly what she was telling me (lest she continue…which she did anyhow).

What I’ve learned, as documented many times on these pages, is that we don’t ever have much control of most of life.  However, what we do have and what life is mostly comprised of are precious moments that are seemingly endless.  Hours, minutes, and seconds that can be filled with miracles.  The miracle most likely does not lie in the outcome of major events but in the gentle whisper of “I love you”, the beautiful crunch of a little boy eating pretzels, three kids running in the backyard under a sprinkler, a tired little boy being held by his dad resting his head on his shoulder in what he knows to be a place that is safe.  At these points, the darkness, the daunting hill, the seemingly inevitable outcome, the cold are all irrelevant.  The warmth takes the day.

Those subtleties are all around us.  They are available to us.  It can be a genuine conversation, even with a stranger, or a passing cloud.  It might just be a random catch up email to someone from long ago.  An encouraging word, the nod of a head, the holding of a door, the paying of a meal, a listening ear, a good cry, a hug and walk away with no words, the opportunities are immeasurable, and available to us all.

Helpless?  Yes and no.  Opportunities to love?  Always yes.


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