It’s a box I hadn’t opened in years.
It overflows with letters, cards, and notes sent to my husband and I during the pregnancy and birth of our first child. They’re from family members, church friends, fellow teachers and co-workers, former students, and ball players on basketball teams my husband coached.
While the child that they commemorate lived only 7 1/2 months – all of them in my womb – this visible outpouring of thoughtfulness shows just how many lives she touched. So few of the people who penned these sentiments ever saw her, yet their words of sympathy and encouragement touch me now maybe even more than then.
Those days were spent surviving, knowing that the journey of carrying this baby would end in her death. Thirteen years later, I have the time to consider each expression of kindness and appreciate the many thoughts and prayers on our behalf. Some of the names scrawled on the pages are those of people I’ll never see again here, for they’ve already joined our little girl in Heaven.
I did not fully recognize during those months the work that God was doing in our lives. Yet I know that He always acts in a way that it is ultimately for our good and His glory. And these bits of paper, that bring to mind so many dear faces and cherished memories, remind me that the messages of encouragement we share with others may have a more lasting impact than we’ll ever know.