Mitch was home on hospice for a few days and was anxious to play a new video game that had just been released. We wanted him to enjoy what little time he had left, so we paved the way for him to play. The thunder of crashing sounds and music filled the air. Mitch was audibly in awe of the game’s graphics and I could hear him down the hall saying, “Oooooh, that is so cool!” 

Suddenly there was silence.

“Oh … no. Not now. Please, not now.” I cried inside.

Panicked, I ran down the hall with the speed of an Olympian to see if Mitch was okay – after all, his cardiologist said he was at risk of instant death. He was sitting strangely quiet on the couch when I said in a worried tone, “Mitch, are you okay?” 

Mitch smiled softly and whispered, looking toward his hand, “Dad, look.” I then saw baby Marlie who had rested her head softly on his hand and began to sleep. Mitch didn’t move a muscle. 

In this very moment my heart burst with love and gratitude. I loved my son with all of my heart and was grateful he was entrusted to me. I loved this puppy for what she did for my dying boy’s heart and soul. I loved my father-in-law for becoming an instrument of love and mercy – for finding this puppy for my sick child before he passed away. And most of all, I loved my Father for the many tender mercies that were in my life – however undeserving I may have been. 

Though we were hurting deeply, we were also being helped by an influence unseen – and that is no small thing. Yes, Mitchell’s Journey is a story of love for a sick child … but it is also a story of Heavenly love. Somewhere in all my heartbreak, deep in the shadows of sorrow, I have discovered that Heavenly love anew. 

I lost track of the many winter nights when I wept and pled for my son – that somehow Heaven would make things right. Eventually an insight, like a flash of light, broke through; “Be patient, my child, death is not the end, and there is something I want you to learn about you.”

Slowly time passed – and I found myself in agony over moments lost. Days turned into weeks and months turned into years. Over time I have learned to walk again and see far past my tears.

It’s microscopic moments like this, between a baby dog and a sick little Mitch, that change the way I see. Instead of focusing on grief and hardship I’ve learned to appreciate our many, many tender mercies. If we’re not watchful, we could complain about the pain and sorrow all day – blinded by grief, unaware of the blessings and heavenly helps along the way. 

I look for microscopic moments to be grateful, because they all add up. And before I know it, those little blessings fill my empty cup.