Ever since we got the initial news about Clara's diaphragmatic hernia, Chrissy and I have been showered in support, prayers, and love. It's been overwhelming at times, especially as we're counting down the days and hours to Clara's arrival and subsequent challenges she will face. I am continually amazed by how many people have stopped me to ask for updates, to offer prayers, and to encourage us with earnest and profound well-wishes. Family, friends, strangers, clients; we've been loved and cared for from all directions.
Which leaves me with an unexpected predicament: how to properly thank people. I feel like so many expressions lose some of their power the more often they are spoken. We say "Good Morning" to acknowledge someone's presence before noon, not because we are truly hoping that their day starts off well. We ask how someone is doing, and then get thrown off if the answer is anything more in-depth than "fine." For me, saying "Thank You" just seems too small, too common a phrase to express the appreciation we have for all of the heartfelt support that's been directed towards us. When someone is telling you that they're spending time every day praying for you, it's not fitting to use the same expression that you use for someone who just handed you a hamburger at the drive-thru.
I worry that my response to your encouragement will not be enough, and that you won't see how truly grateful I am and how much your support means to us. Something more is needed than just two words. Some expression that could tell each of you how your acts of love and caring lift me up, emotionally and spiritually. Something that could tell you that I'm going to walk away from you with a better attitude, a brighter outlook, and a firmer faith that Clara will survive what is coming her way, and that she will come home to us and thrive, so that she can start out on her own life's adventures.
I guess if I could hand you a wad of cash, that would come a little bit closer (don't hold your breath, Forsyth and Baptist Hospitals have dibs). A big bear hug and a kiss on the cheek would help out, but I'm not intimately close with many of you, and sometimes there's a fine line between appreciation and assault. I could make a grand, emotional show of my gratitude, but I'm just not that much of a cryer. And though my mother and mother-in-law have both made a Sisyphusian effort to the contrary, I'm probably never going to be that good at writing thank-you notes.
The reality is, I probably won't be able to find a proper way to show you how much your words (and actions) have meant to me. I think that's the nature of God's grace, whether experienced directly, or through the love of others. It can't be paid back; you just accept it and be thankful that it's been offered. I've come to realize in the last few months that one of the true miracles that we get to experience in this world is the fact that others can look outside of themselves to care about others. I've experienced this miracle through each and every one of you. And since I'm not likely to come up with the proper expression to show it, you'll just have to settle for this:
Thank you. It means more to us than you'll ever know.