800 Days

Friends, this will not be a sad post even though it is about a very sad occasion. I attended a celebration today to honor Ezra David Matthews. He lived exactly 800 days. In that 800 days, he had an enormous impact. Enormous to the tune of over 100,000 visitors from 40 countries following his dad’s blog…following the struggle…praying….donating….helping locate medicine…bringing food….crying. In the last 800 days, I wonder what I’ve done to amount to a hill of beans. I wonder how I can make the next 800 days more meaningful. A 2 yr old has inspired me.

I know there are those of you who follow my blog that only know Ezra through my words and I will never, ever be able to articulate what Kyle and Robyn Matthews have written. Please visit http://thematthewsstory.com/ to read more about this journey. It is, in short, nothing short of amazing.

But today I’d like to write about what I witnessed at this celebration.

I walked into a sanctuary where balloons enveloped the stage ~ primary colors 20 feet high and 80 feet wide…colors that toddlers hold dear. In front of the stage, there were more balloons of Elmo (good choice, Ezra. Elmo rocks!) and flowers and then there was a tiny white casket that held the body of this precious child who has brought together strangers all around the world.

Before the celebration began, Kyle and Robyn were kind enough to receive the guests and thank them for coming. I hugged Kyle and then Robyn, whom I barely  know. She is frail, a small frame that contradicts her inner strength. I was struck by her gracious hug, reaching out to me… me, just another person who stood in line to find themselves without words of comfort or meaning.

There were several people who spoke about Ezra and the impact he has had on their life. Friends of their parents, a babysitter, a grandpa….a grandpa who was shattered by this loss and yet, in his own words, stands in awe of Kyle and Robyn. We all are. Their deep and abiding faith in God leaves us all in awe.

Kyle, a guitarist, sang a song this afternoon at this celebration. He was able to walk onto the stage, pick up his guitar and sing beautifully. The song was about maintaining your faith in the storm. Go figure. It was beautiful and the celebration was beautiful and I was honored to be there ~ to lay my eyes on what it means to live 800 days and be joyful, heroic and inspiring.

Ezra, your life was not in vain. We will fight cancer ~ we will fight what you cannot. Thank you for changing lives…thank you for changing mine.