Monday, December 17, 2012

The Difference Young Hearts Make

On Thursday night, as parents of 20 dear souls tucked their hearts into bed for the last time, I sat in the auditorium where I graduated 26 years before to watch a ribbon pinned over the heart of a girl I love, a girl who who has decided it is her calling to help others in pain and grief.

That morning she had gone for an interview and by 4:30 that evening had not one but two jobs offered. She chose the oncology floor over the pediatric and medsurg jobs. I know she will give compassionate care no matter where she works.

On Friday as, unbeknown to us, 20 little hearts were brutally snuffed out, I was given the chance to sit on the sofa with my daughter and our hearts talked.
On this day it was only a spare moment, one of many talks, in a lifetime of firsts. I didn't realize at the time how much that time spent talking was a gift, a grace, that some parents would never have with their child.
She spoke of her future and of a possible move to the bigger city yet how she might stay on here until her October wedding because...well...because we're all here. The family, you know, and the hearts that beat within.

And she spoke of conversations she's had with other nurses who have moved and traveled and started their families. And she sees the future in a new way.
Four years makes an incredible difference on young hearts.
Four years mature a person despite their desire to stay forever young.

{Friends since 4th grade}

Opa laments the newer generation. He mourns the lost generation. He's outlived these newer ways and times. Young people have lost compassion, says his thoughts racingly loud, not meaning for them to be heard. But grandpas have seen too much and often say too much.

Do the young listen?
Do they take those words to heart?

{Walking for Suicide Awareness}


His granddaughter does and she, who has his heart, who will be part of the generation to lead him home, speaks..."Opa, I am part of that generation.You think I don't care? Are you saying I'm not compassionate enough?"
And Opa tells me later how her words slowed his aging mind and rocked his world. How, instead of seeing the eyes of youth that the media and society sells, he saw the compassionate eyes of his granddaughter. And he trusts her. He trusts her with his life.
And that Saturday morning, as parents grieved and wondered how their life's blood would ever flow again since their heart has been ripped from their chest, Opa and I and all who love her dearly got to applaud our little girl's departure from childhood and entrance into the world of grown-ups. And we thanked God that He saw her on this path and allowed us to walk with her.
She is now not one of those who is to be protected; she is now one of us who protects and cares and serves those whose pain is great.
And we know our daughter will serve well...with a heart full of compassion.
* * * * *
The hurt ran deep this past weekend across our nation. As the little heart of Newtown, CT beat its pain and youthful blood, veins of support filtered across the nation and back to it with love and compassion.
People asked, "Where was God?" while seeing how one person could destroy and cause so much hurt and misery.
"There is God!" is the answer returned in 20-plus-70 times-7 souls who brought (and continue to bring) so much heart to the little town of Newtown.

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