This is my sweet girl. Allie is my first born daughter and always will be. I remember all the memories of finding out my baby would be a girl, what I used to wear and the strollers, toys, carriers, formula we used. I remember too that she was the happiest baby.
I decorated her room with red gingham and this darling English nursery rhyme theme. I relished surrounding her with yellows, reds and pinks – a far cry from my two older boys. I had mini beanie babies around her yellow crib sheet – just the yellow fish, duck, orange bird, orange rabbit.
I recall finding her playing on the floor of her room, even though her crib rails were still up. She had a big smile on her face, and from that moment she was fearless. She had a head full of black curls, ivory skin (which would tan and stay tanned for the rest of her life), and these gorgeous eyes.
As she got older, she was ever more rambunctious and lively. She was also loud and noisy, because she wanted to be just like her brothers, both of whom were athletic, boisterous and all over the place. She proved to be a bit much for so many demure girls, but bless this girl of mine, she persevered and would move on to other people who would appreciate her. She acted like she didn’t care if she was left out, but I knew it hurt her. I often told her she was somebody. I told her she was important. And it took a while for her to find her people. When she did find them, she was embraced, loved and treasured. They remain her friends, even though she is no longer here.
The point in all this is that we are all special. You may not have grown up like Allie, nor did she grow up like you in any way. You may still be looking for your people. But did you know you always have someone who just wants the best for you, has the greatest of love for you, and wants you to feel the warmest loves of all??
It’s hard to find and remember that God is with us at all times. The darkness of this world is spreading in so many hearts. It’s hard to remember that Jesus is among us. Yet, the grace of God gives us miracles each day, be it us being able to read this post or finding that nugget of sunshine somewhere. My therapist told me to remind myself that evil fosters our fears. The evil wants us to be afraid, to be anxious, and to be wary. The evil wants us to distrust each other, to question our lives, and to wallow in sadness.
We have to tell that evil to go away. We have to hold up our hands and hearts against this evil, proclaim the name of our Lord to tell this evil to go away because there is no space in our lives for this evil. We have to find comfort in knowing God’s grace is always within us. We have to treat each other with grace. When we accept that other people are behaving because they have turned their hearts against the grace of God, you can find inner peace knowing there is nothing we can do to move them. We can only pray for them that they will hear the word of God, and we must treat them with grace even if they treat us and others with disdain. We can also continue our lives the way we want it to go.
When we stand up for our selves knowing God is cheering us on for every second of the day, I hope you will see the peace that He wants us all to have so fervently. He wants us to feel His love. He wants us to see the grace in each other. It is in treating each other with grace that others will see the Lord. I know this sounds hokey, and I had scoffed at this myself for so long.
When Allie died, I was angry, guilt-ridden, and depressed. It was hard to keep living. Then I met this one person, not a therapist, but a deacon at our diocese. I didn’t know him, but someone was so kind to give me his name. It only took that one person to lead me to someone who was able to help me. It took a year from her passing for me to find the deacon. But when I found him and spoke with him, my heart opened up, I was able to cry not only with sorrow, but also because I felt His love, His gentle hand on my heart, and His mercy upon Allie. God is kind, merciful and loving. It took a while for me to find someone to remind me of this. It took a while for me to know that Allie is ok. She is with the Lord, I strongly believe this because I know God is merciful and knew she was not in her right mind when she took her life. I also know I have to be good and kind as I can so that I can be with Allie again someday, along with my dad and others.
Find the grace in each other. Treat each other with grace and patience. Don’t let the injustices of the world make you feel like you have to treat others with condescension and disdain. Stop listening to those who fester the hatred and division. There are ways to know what’s going on without listening to someone else’s opinion of what happened in our community. Those talking heads are just regular people – just because they’re in the media doesn’t make them experts nor should we refer to them when we make decisions. We cannot change the world alone. We all need each other to help change the world. Just what kind of world we want to live in depends on each of us. The only kind of world we need is one that is loving, kind and gracious.