I’m an uncle. No, that’s not “what happened” today, but it’s just still weird to me. I’ve been an uncle since the day I got married, but it’s still weird to think about. Furthermore, it’s weird to consider one day being called “uncle brandon”. At the same time though, I relish any chance to get to have influence in young people, and especially my family, so for that, I’m very thankful that I’m an uncle.
Today though, I’m especially thankful that I’m an uncle to William Rea, my wife’s, sister’s youngest child (that’s not confusing at all). William was born a year ago yesterday, and we had his bday party today. The crazy thing though is, that even though he’s a year old, he’s still no bigger than my 4 month old, Jonah. The reason is because when William was born, he weighed 1lb, 12oz. That’s all. He was small enough that he could fit in one of your hands. He spent his first months in the NICU, and we weren’t sure he was gonna make it for a long time. William is tough though, and he fought, and we prayed, and now, a year later, he is healthy and happy and crawling and even trying to take little baby steps! Sure, he’s tiny, but his spirit is so strong! I loved watching him tonight. Seeing the way he smiled and laughed and just really enjoyed himself (at least until about 8PM and then it was bedtime!). Not many children who are born as premature and as small as he is get to live this life, but we praise God that William is here with us today!
I really enjoyed being at his birthday party, which is a pretty huge thing for me, because I really dislike birthday parties. Those of you who know me well have heard my rant about them, and I don’t need to go into it here. Mostly I just get tired of us using birthdays to give children (or adults) an opportunity to be selfish all day. We often forget that what we ought to be celebrating is that God has blessed us with another year spent with our loved ones. That’s not typically the tone of birthday parties today though.
This one was different though. Tonight there was so much talk of William, and how amazing God is for keeping him alive. There was talk of how blessed we as parents are to have children. There was more than one conversation about the joy that children bring to our lives. It truly was a blessed experience to just take it easy, and think about how marvelous God is to deliver us so often from the storms of this life. No, he doesn’t always do so, but if you think about it, God certainly delivers us more often than not. Now, you might have to start thinking about being delivered a little differently if you want to see how true that is, but I assure you, when you remember that not even your next breath is your own to take, but instead a gracious gift from God, you start seeing how good he is to us.
Tonight, as I watched (mostly from a distance whilst trying to wrangle young kiddos), and thought about what a wonderful gift William is, I just praised God for all the many blessings he gives me all the time. No, there was nothing overtly spiritual about the birthday party, but there was something special as regarded the realization that William truly is so very fortunate to be alive. We are all very fortunate to be alive. It is only by God’s grace that he ever deigned to give us the breath we need in order to be able to have life, and through that life, the ability to see God as he’s revealed himself in this world. I praise God that he gave William the chance to see him.
There was a time when I thought that my little Jonah wouldn’t see this world, just about 5 months ago, and tonight I was thankful to God for Jonah as well.
So, although I really don’t like bday parties, tonight was an exception to be sure. To watch the slideshow of little William on the day he was born, needles and cords sticking out of his minuscule body, and then to look at him now…it really is a miracle! I hope that today, you would remind yourself of the wonderful gift that children are. I hope that you would remind yourself of the joy that they can (though don’t always) bring to our lives, and I hope that you would take a moment and remember how truly marvelous it is that God would ever see fit to knit us together in the first place. “Who is man, that you are mindful of him?”