“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” -Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life
The conversation started and centered around her favorite things to do and how long she was going to be vacationing on the beach. She was a cute little 9 year old girl that had about as much energy and questions as any other girl of the same age. She seemed to be enamored by the cuteness of my daughter…which doesn’t really surprise me, because I am pretty sure my baby girl deserves at least a couple awards for the way she looks. Maddie kept wanting to (the only word to describe it is) pet my girl as if she were a gerbil and we like to take her out in public for some reason. Oddly enough, we are somewhat used to this…
Maddie went around our family-created half circle as we floated in the pool together and asked where we were from and what we did for a living. To be honest, I wanted to just float and play with my kids in peace. My answers were abrupt. My wife, however, is always inquisitive and began to ask this little girl about where she was from. Apparently, Maddie hadn’t yet learned the “don’t talk to strangers” rule we all learned in grade school and at home. There was something about her, though, that seemed to have a zest for life. It could be her age.
Maddie told us that she was a twin, and her sister, Macy, was also swimming nearby. Right as she said this, her clone came bouncing along at lightspeed past the “no running” sign on the wall. When Macy jumped in, it soon was apparent that these girls were best friends.
I decided to join in and admit defeat to their cuteness. I asked dumb questions like, “can you read each other’s minds?” just to break the ice (which was already shattered). They laughed and I entered the conversation. Then, all of the sudden, Macy blurted out something completely out of context. She said, “Yeah, Maddie wasn’t supposed to be born.”
That shocked me when I heard it, and I asked her to explain. Macy then told me the story about how doctors were expecting Maddie to be born dead because Macy was “stealing all of Maddie’s food and blood in Mommy’s tummy”. What she was describing is a fatal medical condition during gestation. So, she reiterated, “Maddie was not supposed to be born…but I am glad she was…she is my best friend.” Macy said this with a smile as if she really didn’t understand the full implications of what she said. Meanwhile, I am silent and nodding my head as if this conversation hasn’t completely floored me. It still rings in my head.
These girls then went along their way, and played like sisters are made to do. These girls are both walking miracles…one, because she is alive and the other because she chooses to live.
I will remember these girls for a long time. Their energy and playfulness give me hope that, when I feel dry, tired, and alone in my Christian walk…there is always hope for new life. It means something that Maddie made it. I have to believe that. A girl who should not be here is only a couple of years away from having a crush on a boy, and only 36 years away from becoming president.
Live a life that inspires others to live. Even if you feel dead…the inventor of life can resurrect.