The Birthday Party

Last week, Helen went to a birthday party.  Honestly, we usually decline these invitations because parties are just too much.  But we had two things going for us. First, the party was held at our church.  So, the place was familiar and I knew where to escape.  Second (and much more important), was that this family is the very best kind of people.  Their kindness has done more to bolster our family’s courage over the last 4 years than I can put in words.  So, we went.

I could tell you all the things we did to make it happen.  But, honestly, it’s the same as everything else: Prepare before, Recover after.

I could tell you about how she maintained eye contact, answered questions, followed directions.

But, really, the day came down to a small stuffed puppy and a blue balloon.  Party favors from the birthday girl.  Helen held them tightly in her hands all the way home.

Momma, I had fun with my friends!

I barely had her unbuckled and she was running up the driveway.

Daddy, I had fun!  I had cake.  Look, I got a puppy and a balloon!

When joy comes like fireworks, it’s easy to see it.  Weddings, new babies, the perfect job or first house.  And all those things are good and right to celebrate.  But those things don’t come so often.  And in the pause between, it can sometimes feel like nothing great is happening.  We finish one day to start the next and don’t see anything all that remarkable. But joy doesn’t always shout.  Miracles often whisper.  We have to be paying attention or they slip right by.  And then what we miss!

Today, joy came without a lot of fuss or fanfare.  But I saw it.  I watched it in my rearview mirror over and over on the way home.  It was a little stuffed dog, a blue balloon and a little girl who had fun with her friends.

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