Yesterday we drove up to the hospital to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of Ashlyn coming home after her 31 days in the ICU. We walked the halls, sat in the waiting area, visited with some of the staff we knew, ate the cafeteria food and we remembered. We found a quite place and took turns reading from Rebecca’s journal, stopping often to each share memories of the experience. We talked about the kindness, generosity, and combined faith of so many friends (many of whom we have never even met) that was such a sustaining and uplifting part of that memory filled me to over flowing. We talked about what we felt, what our thoughts were at different moments of the many ups and downs of Ashlyn’s time there. Most importantly we talked about what we learned, how it changed us individualy and as a family, and how we were better for the experience.
Then we came home. We watched the “memory” video our Jake made 2 years ago of the experience. We said a prayer and hugged…and we just wanted to be together. No TV, no technology….we just sat together in the living room for a long time talking, laughing, and feeling wonderful.
Brittany, our oldest, posted a picture and these wise words on her Facebook page “Adversity strengthens, deepens, and purifies us. We need it. We are better because of it.”
While in the children’s hospital - we saw other families, some pulling little red wagons with little sick children in them. At least one outcome of our experience with adversity is that it has helped to amplify our empathy and increase our compassion for others. It’s so true… “Calm water does not a great sailor make” - It is in the fire of adverstiy that our metal is tested and our character refined. And if we take a moment to reflect on what we really learned as a result… the list may be longer than we suspect. And at least 2 of the things that will be on most every list are these…
1) Wow, we had more friends than we suspected - who cared way more than we thought and
2) We learned that we can do hard things. And aren’t those 2 pretty big things to be thankful for.