On Friday, my long time friend, Rachel was here from Minnesota and we had an opportunity to spend several hours together. Rachel is one of those friends with whom time and separation fall away instantly and we pick up exactly where we left off. Rachel understands me in a way that very few do. She and I always share much laughter when we are together. Likewise, I know that Rachel understands my sorrow as few others can, as she too has buried a child. While our situations were vastly different, we both know the pain of having a child ripped from our arms. Rachel also understands my longing for heaven, where we will see our babies, Clark and Laynee, once again. Rachel was with me while the finishing touches were put on the wagon for Jenna's wedding. My heart was heavy and sad but I was very much aware of the beauty of having my friend by my side for this painful task.
On Friday evening, despite the fact that Laynee was not here to be flower girl, Jim and I were invited to attend the wedding rehearsal dinner. Our hearts ached in light of the fact that our purpose for being there was not here, but in heaven. At the same time, we could feel that the air was filled with the nervousness and excited anticipation of the wedding party.
Saturday was painful in a way that defies explanation. I awoke with the weight of knowing what this day was supposed to be, but was not. It was Jenna's wedding day, but I had no flower girl to dress and make ready. The excitement that we should have been feeling was absent. When we went to the wedding, I was prepared for seeing the wagon. I had, after all, seen it many times. The sunflowers springing up out of the wagon were a perfect memorial to Laynee. They seemed to dance as the wagon moved, their dazzling yellow representative of the sunshine and joy that Laynee brought to every day. I knew what the wagon would be like. Still, the pain of not seeing her walking by the ring bearer's side surged through every member of our family, producing agonizing tears.
Amidst the pain, I was joyful for Jenna and Cory. They had waited a long time for this day that had finally come. Jenna was beautiful. Even sorrow so great as what we were experiencing could not take away the joy that we felt for this bride and groom and their families.
At the reception we were seated at a table with our friends, Joe and Erin, right next to the dance floor. It pained me to think of how Laynee would have loved to go out and dance on that floor. I could see, in my mind's eye, her little feet tapping to the music, body moving with not-so-great rhythm. I could imagine her laughing, smiling and charming every person there with her pure and natural simplicity. Thanks to Joe and Erin's company, we laughed alot that evening. Erin was not afraid to allow me to talk about Laynee. She too could imagine our little princess being the life of the party. Somehow on this day, one of the most painful days since Laynee was taken from us, I laughed more than I probably have in the past 10 months.
God's mercy and provision is clearly evident in the way that he orchestrated the events of this weekend. It was not by chance that Rachel would be here on the weekend of Jenna's wedding. Mere happenstance did not place Joe and Erin at our reception table. God knew that we would need laughter to help make the pain bearable, and in a way that only he is capable of, he provided. He placed exactly the right people, in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time so that we could be happy, even when we are so sad. God is good and God does good..........all the time.
Blessed are ye which weep now
for ye shall laugh