The least of these

Today I had to write a card to a dear friend. The same card I've been writing every year for seven years now. In which I try to express my gratitude and heartbreak to those parents, who suffer a million times more heartbreak and a thousand times more gratitude. Impossible words. There are certain affairs of the heart that will never pour out in writing.

Caleb was the last person, among many, who drew my husband to Christ. It was through the tiny example of 5-year-old faith, unwavering belief as he walked toward Jesus and away from his parents, that my husband finally understood the depth and breadth of grace. How am I to thank a grieving mother and father, arms still empty, for forever filling mine? For eternally giving me Aaron? Through their willing sacrifice, he was brought finally to salvation. When they laid their baby down on that altar, that funeral pyre, he looked on and saw the cross, beautifully and lovingly displayed.

I watched a hundred Marys as they walked their sons and daughters to that familiar doorstep. I stood by deathbeds and saw this passion played out, over and over again. What was a final knell for these mothers...a last more kiss...a precious child's body cooling under their caresses...that is what Christ conquered. Because of His sacrifice two thousand years ago, Caleb's mama and papa can look forward to a reunion someday in heaven.

Once again this year, I praise...through tears. I weep and worship. Remembering his hands, that gripped our hearts without thumbs, blue eyes that pierced us with their surprising joy, a tiny child who submitted so completely to parents and God that he laid still...stock still...under the most impossible physical conditions.

And I am once again led to deeper faith, taken by that tiny little hand and brought closer to the cross. Thank you, Caleb, for turning my eyes to Jesus in new ways each year as I remember your miraculously mature example of faith.

We are on the road, on our way home from South Carolina. I have to write this year's card when I get home. I've reposted this piece from the archives about my gratitude for Caleb, a little boy who died on my shift on the pediatric bone marrow transplant unit in 2002.