Today while walking to Target, a bright pink, sidewalk chalk message caught my eye. The words, "Alexandra was here," reminded me of something I'd struggled with during early bereavement: the worth and value to society of someone that hadn't lived long at all on this planet. Lisa lived only nine and a half months on Earth. Michael only twenty-seven months. I had no relatives nearby nor many friends, being newly relocated to a very small, near-rural city.
Lisa was the harder struggle on this issue for me. Not many people even knew that Lisa existed in the world. Michael at least had made a friend and had interacted verbally with others. Lisa seemed more of an immediate extension of myself, not fully separated from me yet, still getting nutrition from me. My husband having also died in the auto accident, who but me and our parents thought Lisa added any value to society? Who except us really even cared that she was "gone?" A decision was made for Michael and Lisa not to even have their own casket; Lisa totally hidden from view due to her injuries.
So the chalk message really resonated with me. Back then I'd wanted to shout to the world, "Hey! Lisa was here!" Her utter absence was exacerbated by the fact I'd been unable to attend my family's funeral, still recuperating in the hospital.
How I struggled when other people's children died and so much wonderful fanfare attended them afterward. I was glad for those involved, yet it still seemed a double-whammy loss for my children. So few remembering them during life . . . or likely afterward. Not one mention of how they'd impacted another's life for the better. No public recognition and reminder that their death mattered to those outside the immediate family. Even today, I'm sorry to say that I still fight a twinge of envy when hearing about the wonderful fuss made over someone newly deceased. (Btw, I hate the word "dead" because it implies complete cessation of all life. And that's not what I believe as a Christian. "Physically dead" is much more accurate a description. Because they're still spiritually alive--that is much more alive than is possible while still shackled to mortality.)
After much struggle, I finally concluded that Lisa and Michael's worth and value were immense in God's eyes. There was scriptural evidence to back that up. Jesus valued children, embracing them and telling his disciples:
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."
(NIV Matthew 18:10)
What did it matter if nobody but my immediate family had valued Lisa and Michael? God said they mattered and that is all that is important. What if something happened to my memory of them? Would they lose their importance? Of course not. Worth and value come from God and nobody can ever take that away from God. Even a sparrow has value in God's eyes:
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care." (NIV Matthew 10:29)
In conclusion, from the words of someone replying to my tired, direction-challenged query on my first walking trip to Target, "You're almost there! It's just straight ahead!"
Let's keep on our hopeful walk, because we're closer to our final goal than we think!