For Eva & From Eva, on her Birthday
Ever since her accident, Eva has been non-verbal. That is to say, she can't speak in words. But she's incredibly communicative to those of us that know her. And, lucky for us, in the seven-and-a-half years that Eva was alive before the accident, she laid a legacy for herself. She paved a colorful, brick-laden path for the rest of her life with all the love and hugs and gushiness and togetherness and inclusiveness you could possibly pack into a lifetime.
Eva was born to love. She never met a stranger. She walked to the beat of her own drum. She can't tell us in words now, but we know this to be even more true now than it was then. How do we know? Because we know, undoubtedly, that she knows Jesus in an incredibly personal way now. And when you take Eva's love, plus the love of Jesus... well. That packs a punch.
Someone wrote me recently and asked, absurdly, why we allow her to go on like this. I'm not going to get into that now (or maybe ever), but here's what I know for sure: God has a plan and a purpose for her life. I'll be honest and say that I broke down crying in her bed last night. We usually try to keep it upbeat and encouraging for her. (Real, but positive). But last night when talking about her birthday plans, all I could manage to say was I am so sorry, and you deserve so much better than this. Period.
Yet, here we are. She's here. And she's determined to be here. I am aware that we can't always take credit for our own survival. We can't always will ourselves out of sickness. When I almost died of septic shock, I didn't awake from a coma because I'm “such a fighter.” I am a fighter, but it's hard to fight when you're in a coma. My organs bounced back because that's what God had for me. It had nothing to do with my will. But for Eva, I think something about her survival has been dependent on her will. I know she hasn't let go yet. She's had a lot of illnesses where she really could have given us any indication she was mentally done, that she just couldn’t do it anymore, but she didn't. She just didn't. If anything, she’d get a twinkle in her eye or crack a smile the literal moment I was crumbling to the ground. She's in it. For now, and hopefully for a long time.
And so, why? Why would this little girl that was so full of life, who never sat still, who lost her mind any time she had to get one single shot, who knew not a personal spatial boundary or stranger... why would she want to stay here, on this earth? Like this? And the only conclusion we can come up with is because she knows that she is here for a reason. She was created to bring life and love. And she knows something we can all learn from her — that our circumstances aren't meant to inhibit our calling. Eva brings life and love differently now, but just as much. Arguably, she's got a broader reach from her wheelchair and bed than she had before.
Is it worth it? Gosh no. I told her last night I'd trade places with her in a second if I could. That I'd give anything for her to have a "regular kid" life. But it's just not how the cards fell. I'm not sure if God picked this for her… I don't know how that works. But I know that He allowed it. And I know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8). So yeah, she's here for a reason. She's here to love. I believe it's what keeps her going. It keeps us all going, too. Unfortunately, probably most of the time, our lives have very little to do with us. Eva gets it, and we are trying to learn from her every day.
There are so many of you that have so graciously followed along over these last few years. The prayers, the good vibes, the thoughtful comments, the cards, the drawings, the gifts, the stories from your kids (shoutout to Noah) – all of those have been lifelines for us! I look at many of them often, taped all over the walls of her room, and I think about all the kids out there that she'd give smothering hugs to if she could. But since she can't, I thought and prayed about what Eva might say, if she could. To all the kids that have prayed for her, made her feel welcome at school or church, sent her sweet notes and pictures... and to the kids she's never met, especially the ones that might be hurting. The ones with a diagnosis. The ones who don't know where they fit in. The ones who feel alone.
This is for them, and this is for ALL of you. With love, from Eva.
“Hey, you! Yes, YOU! You are an amazing, wonderful, perfectly made, beautiful, strong, heart and soul of a human.
You probably don't even understand how incredible you are.
BUT TRUST ME! – You are!
And also –
YOU are BEYOND WORTHY!
Your value in this world is immeasurable. (That's a LOT!)
On your best days
On the hard days
on every day.
You are enough. Just as you are.”