"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - Jesus
I met a little girl named Hadley today. She's about a day and half old right now, was born premature, and with some pretty serious health problems. I looked at her in a glass box in a Neonatal ICU. She is beautiful. Really. I'm not just saying it because she's a baby.
She had to make it in the womb of her mom until yesterday to have a fighting chance for survival. She made it...but not without help, and not without great sacrifice.
Hadley had a brother named Ethan growing in that womb right next to her. Early in the pregnancy, Ethan had even more serious health problems than Hadley. Something happened in his little body (I think it had to do with his bladder) that was lethal.
Even though his little body probably couldn't make it, Hadley really needed his brother to keep living, and his heart to continue beating long enough to make it to yesterday, or she probably wouldn't make it either.
I got to sit next to the bed of these two kid's beautiful mom this morning. Her son only lived a short time after the delivery, but long enough for his parents to meet him and hold him and know him.
This awesome family gets to live the rest of their lives knowing that Ethan was no mistake, and really no tragedy. Ethan was sent to accompany Hadley into this world, and to help her make it safely. This was Ethan's mission.
Someone (I can't remember who) told me of the touching scene of mom and dad holding the sweet and beautiful body of their son, and mom whispering to him, "Thank you, son, for bringing us Hadley."
I can picture Ethan's spirit, strong and secure and perfect, standing in that room looking on this powerful scene and the beginning of the beautiful fruit of his short life, and whispering back to his beloved mom with a giddy and satisfied smile on his face, "You're welcome, mom. Thank you and dad for having us."
The nurses wisely took a picture of the twins together. Those pictures are now beloved treasures...a permanent record and tribute to Ethan's mission that he fulfilled totally, completely, and successfully.
How blessed Hadley is to already have had a friend and brother that can express to her no greater love. And to have parents who are ready to receive her who will do the same thing.
I can just see Ethan looking up into the eyes of His Heavenly Father, who with a loving smile is whispering words to him, too: "Well done, good and faithful servant."
May all of us end our lives as faithfully as Ethan.
May God bless this family, and this beautiful and emotional beginning.