There's a little jar on a table in the entry way of my house. Inside the jar are some dried flower petals that are from roses my friend Karen gave to me nearly a year ago. I pass by these petals everyday, sometimes without notice, sometimes pausing for a moment.
Today I paused.
Sometimes we don't know why things happen to us, but I believe everything happens for a reason. My pain did not break me, did not cause me to doubt in God, did not keep me up at night wondering "Why me?" My life is blessed, and even though there are days of shadows, most of my days are filled with light and beauty.
However, I didn't come out of that experience unchanged. I don't know if it's possible to say I've become more emotional, but I think the preciousness of life affects me more. When the retired military officer got up in church to pray for our soldiers, I cried. When my students talked about the work they did on their mission trip to New Orleans, I cried. When the three-year olds walked down the church aisle to sing their Christmas songs, their faces smiling, the bells in their hands jingling as they waved to their moms and dads, I cried. Even though I can't possibly make every day mean 'Something,' I can remember that life is precious.
And I can remember to be thankful, even thankful for my pain. Were it not for January's sorrow I never would have held my December's joy. Yes, I would have held another little baby in September, but he or she wouldn't have been Julianne. And God knew we needed Julianne in our lives.
A year ago today, I cried.
Four weeks ago today, I laughed.
Today, I did both. But I laughed more. How could I not?