Saturday, June 2, 2012

“Life Is Good” is the trademark slogan and name of a Massachusetts apparel company. Its signature t-shirts, as well as other items, feature an optimistic message along with fun activities or hobbies. To spread “good vibes” the company has a charity of sorts where teams of childcare professionals basically provide “play” opportunities for children who are fighting poverty, domestic stresses, or illness. I have not researched the company enough to know any details of it beyond the above, but overall I love the message of optimism. I am all about good vibes and positive energy. If Eli is asked how he is doing or how he feels, his answer is always a solemn “good.” It doesn’t matter if he just had his skull sawed open or just filled a barf bag, when the nurse asks him, he says quietly and flatly “good.” And, not because he is an overly positive kid, because he absolutely is not, but just because he knows he is expected to answer and that short answer gets him out of the conversation. He’s never really thought about whether it was true or not, but he doesn’t like to talk or be talked to and he discovered it was an easy out. We all do the same thing when asked the same question. It’s more like a greeting and reply than a question and answer. But, it kind of got to be a joke because it was so obvious that he did not feel good, so when he was asked, everybody just kind of answered for him, “good.” So, I bought him a couple of Life Is Good items because I like them, I like the message and it seemed to fit because of his conversational habit. Last night I was able to talk to Eli on the phone, which he hates, and I asked, “Well, bud, how ya doing?” I heard him take a breath, he fumbled his words some trying to decide how to answer, and said “Well…..” drawing it out a bit, “I don’t feel my bestest too-day.” I just sighed sadly and held his little seven-year-old voice in my heart. And, again, I’m not going to act like the kid has been all chocolate and almonds, but he finally thought about the question and thought about himself. It’s been five months since the sky fell, so he is feeling the weight. But children live so much in the moment. As soon as he got off the phone so I could talk to Vic I could hear him in the background giggling some at the Three Stooges. That doesn’t mean he all of a sudden felt good, but he wasn’t dwelling on it. Eli has never once asked why this has happened to him, nor has he ever asked if he was going to die. I don’t know if it is because he has never thought of those questions or if he was actually listening early on when “Child Life” personnel answered those questions before being asked. Someone recently sent me a link to a sermon or lesson on “why bad things happen to good people.” I have not listened to it yet, but intend to, so I don’t know what reasons are given in the lesson, but, to me, my answer is simple: good people live in a world where evil lives and evil doesn’t care if you are good or bad… or a kid. Some then ask, but, if God can do anything why doesn’t He save the faithful from the evil on earth. He has. I think until one understands and accepts that our life on earth is a passage and not a destination, he cannot grasp God’s gift of His Son’s death. That sacrifice is Him saving us from earthly evil. He used the blood of His own Son to wipe away sin so that we can be clean to enter heaven. It’s available to everybody, no matter what evil has done or is doing to you, this is the promise to the faithful. This is God’s sweeping hand saving us all. I, genuinely and honestly, do not see how anyone can face a tragedy or hardship without having understood that earth is a pilgrimage. Sitting and watching children scurry around on forearm crutches, or parents pull red wagons with little bald heads peeking out from under a blanket, I wonder how one even has hope if this life is it. What is the hope for without heaven? Because of our acceptance that this “world is not my home,” and the fact that Eli is not to the age of understanding sin, we are in a win win situation. Eli either lives and is a testament to God’s power, or heaven receives another soul. Evil has already lost. I’m including a picture tonight of Eli at the beach with his Life Is Good hat. He has had a pretty good day. Vic finished his training on a couple of things like changing out the feeding tube and giving Eli medicine through his line. Eli still had not eaten a bite of anything as of Wednesday or Thursday, so I told him that for every bite he takes he gets a point. After 10 points he can buy a toy or save the points to get a better toy. Yesterday he ate two bites of chips. Today Vic said he ate three popcorn chicken pieces and a bit of mashed potatoes, and part of a biscuit. I’ve learned not to get too excited about any of that because today it could be nothing, but we do celebrate victories when we get them. I had planned for Caleb and me to stay in Memphis next week while the girls were at Bible camp, but they are expecting Eli’s white blood cell count to bottom out by Monday, so he will be under strict quarantine. I will be back down to one boy and me.

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