We celebrate birthdays to rejoice over a person's life...how they've grown, what they've accomplished and contributed over the years, and how God has met them. We add another number to their age and wish for prosperity and blessing until another year passes, anticipating what the future holds.
Marcus turned 5 this past weekend and we did just that. But as much as we celebrated what God has done in his life, I can't help but also reflect on what He's done in mine. Were it not for this birthday, I wouldn't be the same person. I would be a completely different wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly how Marcus' life has changed me. Of course, he's opened our hearts to the painful yet beautiful world of special needs and indeed, he's made us more broken and he's tilled the soil of our hearts so that different lessons could be sowed. But at the most granular level, Marcus has changed me by allowing me to feel like never before.
It's like my life was viewed in black and white when in reality, everything was in color. And then when Marcus came along, we were able to see the vibrancy of every hue in the spectrum. The darks were darker than ever, but the lights were striking, just breathtaking.
I think that's how Marcus has changed me the most. My senses are heightened like never before.
Living life day by day, I often catch myself saying, "This is no small thing." Throwing a birthday party, eating food, sleeping through the night, having a place to call home, talking on the couch with my husband, laughing, feeling grass under my feet, seeing smiles on my children's faces, having children at all...no small thing.
And as much as I've been able to appreciate this life, Marcus has also awakened my yearning for the life that is to come.
Heaven didn't appeal to me so much when I was younger. Probably because I sought my heaven here. My heaven was going to be my husband and children and the family we'd build together.
But as Marcus has helped us see this world in vivid color, he's also unveiled the reality that at best, this world is fallen, broken, imperfect, brutal, utterly incomplete and desperate to be restored. We fall short, we hurt, we fail.
We rejoice that Marcus turning 5 is no small thing. I see him happy and smiling despite the challenges and I'm utterly grateful. I don't deserve him and all the ways God has blessed us through him.
At the same time, I can't wait until we will truly rejoice and celebrate like never before. There will be a joy never experienced here and a beauty never beheld here, because my Savior will be there. The One who experienced all of life's hurts, the One who owned up to all my failures, and the One who continues to intercede for me today...He will be there.
Now that's going to be one celebration.