Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beauty from ashes

Now this is a happy ending.

I've thought a lot lately about giving thanks in all circumstances. I'm thankful for recovery, for fantastic hospitals, for nurses and doctors who spend time away from their kids to help mine heal, for friends and family who are the hands and feet of Jesus when it really counts.
August 2014
This picture still breaks my heart. 
But I'm not thankful for that stupid snake. And one of my prayers throughout this ordeal has been that God would redeem it in some way. That something good, something positive, something of some significance would be born out of Levi's suffering.

And it did. And so many of you who have walked alongside us from the beginning were part of this happy ending. So again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

The idea started, as most do, with my kids asking questions. They wanted to know more about Levi's time in the hospital, about all the people that helped him, about what he did while we were there. The only pictures we've shown them have been the happier ones, and in most of those, Levi is in a little red wagon.

That wagon, I explained, made a world of difference in his recovery. That wagon, I told them, allowed him to get up and move around, to get out of bed and ride around the hospital, to tour the garden and see the aquarium and go make yogurt parfaits. Without that wagon, we would have been stuck in that hospital room.

I'm thankful for that wagon.

Then Abby had an idea. What if this year for Christmas, we buy a wagon for some other kids at the hospital to use so they can feel better too?
But wagons cost money. So she took the money she made from a dogsitting job, invested in some beads, and got to work designing and assembling necklaces to sell at a Christmas event at church.
She included a letter with each necklace she sold to let her customers know how the money from their purchase would be used.

With Mrs. Lisa, Levi's physical therapist and one of Abby's customers
When the necklaces were all sold, and with quite a few orders placed, we counted her earnings, and found she had made enough money to purchase not one, but four wagons, and four sets of those fun stacking cup toys that Levi played with in his hospital bed.

The look on her face when we picked up the wagons was priceless. Seeing the actual fruit of her labor really drove home the point for her.
"If one kid uses these wagons every day," she exclaimed, "that's a lot of wagon rides for a lot of kids!"

Today, with the wagons assembled and loaded in the van, we drove, with our little snakebite survivor, back to the hospital. This time, we were there on our terms.

As the familiar building came into view in front of us, Levi hid his snake hand under his blanket, as has become his habit on these rides to the hospital.

"No ouchies today, Levi," Abby reassured her brother. "We're just going to give these wagons to some other kids."
Inside, we almost made it to the front desk with our four wagons, but met a woman and her daughter on the elevator that needed one, so Abby handed off one of the wagons when we reached the lobby.

"See," I told her, "Your hard work is already a blessing to someone!"
We left the remaining wagons and the toys with a kind lady who gave Abby a certificate and told her just how awesome she was for making such a thoughtful donation.

"Aren't you thankful that Levi got bit by a snake so that all those kids can have new wagons now?" she asked on our way out.

Not exactly, I told her. But God worked it out for good. And that is something I can be thankful for.

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