SIX TENDER MERCIES
Last spring we were visited by 4 kind women who had been following Mitchell’s Journey for some time. The woman closest to Natalie lived near us when we were young newlyweds. They quickly became soul sisters … you know, the kind of friend you don’t see for years and pick up exactly where you left off. That is them. Interestingly, I have the same relationship with her good husband.
As it turned out, her neighbors and friends pictured in this image stumbled into Mitchell’s Journey at various points and they realized they all had that in common and took compassion for the loss of our little boy. Together, they purchased a gift for our family; a most beautifully framed painting that was symbolic of heavenly help while we suffer, even in our darkest hours. I will write of that piece of art soon because it has touched us deeply.
Attached to the back of the artwork was a heart-felt letter written to our family, which ironically was as much a gift as the beautiful art that now graces our home.
After much thought, we decided to hang the painting in our bedroom so it could serve as a reminder that, though we suffer, we are helped by others, even angels, we cannot see. I know this to be true. I know it because I have felt it: not once, not twice, but many, many times. Another reason we wanted this painting to hang near our bed was so that on nights when the pain of loss is especially tender, our pillows wet with tears; or when we awake in a panic (in the fog of sleep, forgetting our son has passed) and wanting desperately to save Mitchell’s life, only to fully awake and realize he is gone; we wanted the first thing we saw to be this painting. For those moments between sleep and consciousness are our darkest hours.
I don’t think these good-hearted women realize to this day what they did for us. Not only did they mourn with those that mourn, they offered a token of love that pointed to a higher source of help … a reminder that despite the darkness we sometimes feel, heaven is never far away.
As I was taking photos this day I began to think back on Natalie’s relationship with her friend, Kristin, and how interesting it was all of these good women came together. I wrote in my journal, and even posted this phrase: “I used to envision life’s journey as a single, straight path: I’m born, I live, then die – its simple math. But the older I get, the more I’m beginning to see, how intertwined our lives really can be. Life’s not a path to be tread by one, but a web so intricate and woven ... It is, I am certain, heavenly spun.”
It is seldom clear to what end things are meant to be. I just take them as they come and try to see things as Heaven sees. I don’t know much, but I have learned a thing or three - one of them being: when it comes to heaven … the more you look, the more you see. And when I look at this photo, I see 6 earthly angels .. six tender mercies. Then, in a moment of heavenly delight, grief subsides and I feel everything's going to be alright.