I would estimate 75 to 80 greeting cards, at first guess. That is the number of “cheer up”, “hang in there”, and “you are in our prayer” cards I received when Lucas was hospitalized all year in 1997. The mail ebbed and flowed throughout the year and I saved every card. A couple times over the years I read through them, reminiscing with a heavy heart, and then tucked them back up in the attic, storing the box near the furnace. Many baby treasures I was not ready to part with were hidden in the attic collecting dust, begging for a garage sale. When that furnace started our house fire in 2007, my meaningful card collection was a causality. Flipping through the remnants of those dated cards, again, I was reminded of the abundant love that was mailed to us when Lucas was very sick. They stunk like a chimney and most were unreadable or framed with burnt, charcoally edges, fused together. They only fitting place for these cards that once served as miniature cheerleaders, was the trash. I let them go.
Many of those cards that were sent to us said just the right thing at just the perfect time. Even if those cards are in a landfill now, some words they contained are still alive in my heart, encouraging me through struggles twelve years later. Some words I treasure most are, “The million mile journey takes one step at a time”. A wise, old bearded Chinese man said this somewhere in history and it landed on the front of my card. The visual picture of wanting to accomplish a goal, or in 1997, being forced to trudge through a painful medical process, requires baby steps that will eventually build that journey. Journeys have beginnings and endings and I am reminded with these words, patience is required in all of life’s journeys, whether you have chosen it or it has been pushed into your lap. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and soon those steps add up. When I look behind and see all the footprints equate to progress, I realize that each foot forward has a place and meaning to that goal. So, I keep moving forward. Thank you to the friend who sent the card and thank you to the wise old bearded Chinese man, your words made a lasting impression.