The last several days my heart has been heavy... Some close friends of mine have a little boy that just lost a long hard battle to Neuroblastoma Brain cancer.
He was diagnosed at 9months old and endured 9 arduous months of the most aggressive chemotherapy treatments available. My initial contact with them was through my work with a local mentoring program supported through our community YMCA. So the 12yr old brother and I have been able to spend some time together talking about life and how to navigate through it well. The Mom has also become a dear friend and Amy and all my kids have grown to love this family too.
The last week and a half has been the most difficult... I can't imagine the anguish that 'Mom' is feeling right now, but this little one was wrapped around my heart too. In fact he reminded me a lot of TK when he was about 2yrs old too. Crazy...
It has been a blessing to be a part of this family's life and was honored to attend his memorial service as well. It was held at a Mosque about 30mins from me. I have never attended a Muslim funeral before but it was a powerful service, even as brief as it was. The leader stood on a stage next to my 2year old little friend, who was carefully wrapped in brilliant white. He laid on a metal framed stretcher placed next to his Daddy, who was standing - praying beside him.
The gentleman leading the prayer service conducted what seemed to be a type of 'call and response' prayer. He faced an audience consisting of about 40 men and older boys standing shoulder to shoulder in 3 evenly distributed lines. I sat in back and prayed on my own.
The mother and her lady friends were with the children and girls in an adjacent room. When the prayer service was over there were 6 men who gently picked up the stretcher with this precious little boy and carried him gently out to a waiting van to take him to the burial site about 20 minutes north of where we were.
I have wrestled with this ordeal for a long time... it doesn't seem fair.
However, I know that God is in control of this entire situation and I am certain that He will continue to work powerfully through it.
I am honored to be a part of this family's life and I look forward to the ensuing journey together with them.
Earlier today I listened to a podcast while I was running... it could not have been more specifically directed to my heart from The Lord. This teaching on God's Miraculous Mercy given on 5/12/12 by Dr David Platt shares the heart of God for little children. It was incredibly moving especially in this time of grief... but was immensely refreshing as well.
Later I'll write some of the insights that resonated with me most. Meanwhile, I'd strongly encourage you to listen to it. It will help you understand not only God's heart for young children, but for all of us. It is one of the finest and clearest examples of the most foundational teaching of Jesus and why we need him so desperately.