I've always been fascinated at the things I remember. I have an incredible short term memory [this has been a great benefit in my preaching, as I can retain a large number of facts for about 24 hours]. After a day or so, however, I don't remember as well. For something to stick longer, I have to be really focused on it— practically forcing myself to assimilate it into my cranium. So the fascination I have with my own memory is mostly centered on those arbitrary observations that tend to stick around in my skull. Even more peculiar, though, are such items I remember that have absolutely nothing to do with me.
For example, I can remember distinctly a comment someone made about nine years ago about some friends of mine. That comment:
"You two are going to have some beautiful children."
Those two people being referenced here were my friends Charlie and Kelly Butler; I went to college with them. Charlie and I played soccer together [he was a terrific player] and Kelly and I were coworkers for a time. They are definitely my kind of people: simple folk who love God and love each other. Since they relocated from Cincinnati to Northern Indiana, I haven't seen them as much, but through the power of the interwebs, we've manage to stay in touch.
Over four years ago, Kelly and Charlie had their first child— a precious little girl named Brooklyn. When Brooklyn was around two years old, she was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a form of autism which affects the nervous system and reverses development. As heartbreaking as this was, the Butlers immersed themselves in this cause, doing everything they could to not only care for their daughter but to educate people about her plight. To learn more, check out Brooklyn's blog.
A couple of months ago, Kelly gave birth to their second child. Boston [they love those East Coast cities] was born premature and has spent his entire life thus far in the NICU. Last week, the Butlers received yet another diagnosis: their son has Down Syndrome. It's almost unthinkable. You can keep up to date with Boston on his own blog.
Observing the numerous comments of well wishers on Facebook and their children's blogs, I've been at a loss for words of what to say to Kelly and Charlie. Honestly, what else can be said? All the plans they've had for life have been hijacked. The proper words just do not exist.
But then I realized that I do have the words. They aren't mine, but they've hung around in memory long enough for just this situation:
"Charlie and Kelly DID end up having some beautiful children."
Brooklyn makes a difference in people's lives. She sparks emotions in many people— from children to adults— in her simple smile. And tiny, frail Boston has already brought joy to family and friends. In a world that can be rather loathsome, beauty reigns in these little ones.
And I've seen the way that the Butlers adore their daughter. Their hearts are plenty big enough for the new difficulties surrounding their precious son. In the midst of an imperfect world, God has given Charlie and Kelly a high calling, one which they will continue to excel at
So for children named after cities, a word from the Scriptures about our world's greatest city, which could also describe these treasured children.
"From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." Psalm 50:2.