It’s been a while since we’ve given a detailed update on Bowen’s progress, for the simple reason that he’s been doing great. He’s had a couple of cold type viruses over the past several weeks but they haven’t caused any bigger issues. Sarah took him up to U of M for an appointment last week and his cardiologist was very pleased with his progress.

This past weekend has been very busy for us and Mr. Bowen has been out of the house more than ever before. Last Friday night a local nursing student, Christie Grey, organized a broomball benefit game for Bowen at an ice rink in the Toledo area. I was in Louisville and regretfully couldn’t make it, but Sarah and Bowen made it to the game with some friends. You can watch the story on ABC News by clicking on the link below.

Christie and Bowen

Our friend Jen

Saturday night, we had the honor of taking part in the Griese-Hutchinson-Woodson Champions for Children’s Hearts gala at U of M, which raises millions of dollars for the pediatric heart program each year. I had the opportunity to introduce Bowen and Sarah from stage to those in attendance and briefly share our story. I also had the opportunity to sing All of Me on stage for the first time.

This photo is a little blurry, but it’s the only one we have of us

Our friend Nicole, who was also one of Bowen’s nurses, came with us

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook may already know that the song All of Me is going to be released at iTunes on May 31st. We will be releasing one song per month until September 13th, when the full length album Every Falling Tear will be available. My record label planned the release of the album on September 13th without knowing that it was the one year anniversary of Bowen’s first surgery.

 

Digging Deeper

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that it’s been while since we’ve given an update on Bowen’s progress, but it’s also been a while since I’ve had a chance to sit down and write for the Digging Deeper portion of our blog. If I’m to be honest, lately I’ve been pretty exhausted. I’ve been running full speed in the right direction since Bowen has been born, but I’m feeling the need catch my breathe. With Sanctus Real’s touring schedule picking back up, it’s been hard to carry out my desire to write more. Because things have been a bit hectic lately, I’ve planned a short family getaway for next week. Please pray that we will be rejuvenated during our time away. I believe that some great things are on the horizon, and that the most exciting chapters of our family’s story are yet to come. As some of the dreams that God has placed in our hearts begin to take shape, I want to be rested and prepared to continue leading my family in the right direction.

This week Sarah and I attended two viewings and a funeral. One of the viewings and funeral was for Sarah’s aunt Mary Jane, who was absolutely in love with baby Bowen. We weren’t able to see her often, but when we did it was an absolute delight. She was the kind of person that was selflessly invested in others, and made everyone feel accepted and loved. Although her family and friends will miss her, she was ready to move on and went home at peace with the Lord.

Her viewing was the first time that Emmy and Claire had seen a body after death. Emmy wanted to touch Mary Jane’s hand, so she did…twice. Both times she shivered from head to toe and said, “Ooh, scary!” I whispered to her that it was alright to feel that way, but requested that she maybe not say it quite so loud.

At bed time we asked the girls if they had any questions about Mary Jane or what it means to die. Claire made one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen and said, “I wiked hu shuwt.” We told her how sweet it was for her to compliment aunt Mary Jane’s shirt. Overall, I think they handled their first experience with death like a three and five year old should; with a sweet innocence that cheers up those of us who are sad.

There was another viewing that Sarah and I attended this week, and there was no light conversation to follow. As we approached the casket, Sarah and I couldn’t restrain our tears. We cried along with a set of young parents as they grieved the loss of their six-month old child. It was almost unbearable to look at the face of that adorable little boy who laid before us. There is no known reason why their baby boy didn’t wake up last Wednesday. The coroner said it was SIDS. Please join us in praying for this family, as our hearts ache for them.

At both funerals, several people spoke wise words to me. With soft eyes and voices they gave me valuable advice such as, “Cherish your family and friends while you have them”, “make the most of your life”, and “don’t take the one’s you love for granted.” I took every one of those words to heart.

No one wants to face tragedy, but in the midst of pain we turn our eyes toward the things that matter. Some of the sweetest words I heard this weekend were from Mary Jane’s daughter, Missy, as she spoke of her mother’s faith in Christ and the peace that she had as she passed into the unseen. It made me reflect on some of my favorite words of the apostle Paul.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18