Sunday, July 26, 2015

A dream came true for me today

I've always wanted to be that stranger.

I was in the airport this morning waiting to board a plane to Kansas City for a business trip.  As I was waiting, I happened to glance over toward the gate where people were lining up to board the plane, and what did I see?  Someone wearing a blue T-shirt with the words 'Joy, Hope, Strength' next to a family with a little boy also wearing a Make-A-Wish T-shirt.  Clearly there was a ill child on his way to Florida for a Disney adventure.

A year ago it was us, with Emmett, standing in line at that very same gate waiting to board the plane to Florida for Emmett's Make-A-Wish trip.  It all came back so quickly -- the Make-A-Wish send-off team, the counter attendants that gave Emmett a grab bag with a toy Southwest Airlines plane that made SO MUCH noise, pilots who were excited to sit us in the cockpit and take pictures...and the joy of a week making memories in Florida during a time that was otherwise fraught with uncertainty.

I still remember vividly the day we returned home from that trip.  We were collecting our luggage from the baggage carousel when an elderly gentleman, obviously aware of Emmett's apparent condition, stopped to talk to us briefly.  And then he bent down to exchange a kind word with Emmett, and in so doing, wrapped Emmett's hand around a $20 bill and told him to go bowling.
These experiences were always so touching and strengthening to Katy and me.  And so exciting for Emmett!
And today I got to be that stranger!  Finally!  Katy will tell you how I've longed for this personally reach out to a family with a sick child, in the moment, as others strengthened us.  It brought sweet tears.
I told the boy to take his family out for ice cream with the money...but then remembered afterwards that where he's going, the ice cream is free.  And you can have it for breakfast.  Luckily he looked like a boy with a healthy appetite for toys -- I'm sure he'll find something to spend it on ;)
Ice Cream Palace at Give Kids the World
How thankful I am for all those who have blessed our lives since Emmett's diagnosis.  And how grateful I am for the opportunity to do the same for others who are in need of God's love.
I can't say if it's sweeter to be on the giving or receiving end -- both touch the soul very deeply.  And it's wonderful. 

May we all experience the joy of being that stranger.