Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?.... Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the calm the storm with His hand?... Lyrics from "Mary Did You Know" originally written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene
This year, in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas, one of my favorite songs has been running through my mind, "Mary Did You Know". Clay Aiken's voice makes the words resonate in my heart. While I'm listening and singing along to it, I think of something that is not mentioned in the lyrics and want to ask, "Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will die a tragic, painful death? Mary, did you know you will only have Him for 33 years? Mary, if you knew the pain and loss you'll suffer, would you still have been so joyous when the angel shared the news?"
Why didn't God tell her what was going to happen to Jesus? Why did He only have the angel say to her, 'He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.... his kingdom will never end.' Luke 1:32/33(b) From this statement it sounds as if life would be all good for Jesus.... not just good, but great! It doesn't mention pain and suffering...
Then I think about losing Austin. If 23 years ago I had known the exact amount of time I would have with Austin and how he would die, would I have focused more on the fact that I was going to lose him, rather than enjoying the time I had with him? Would the time I did have with Austin been clouded, knowing how it would end sooner than I wanted it to? Would I have felt pressure to make sure certain things happened before he left us, instead of loving who he was at each point in his life? Would the joy of Austin's birth been less because at the same time I was thinking I would only have 21 years with him, which is not nearly enough time in my book?
Our minds have a preconceived idea of how life should be. We're born. We grow up, get married, have kids. Our kids get married and give us grandkids. We get old and our time to leave this Earth comes before our children's. The end.... This is the way it's supposed to be. But, life rarely works out exactly as we plan. The way we think things should happen and the way they actually do sometimes conflict. In actuality, there are only 2 things guaranteed: we were born and we will die. The way the rest of our story unfolds often remains a mystery until it happens. Sure, some parts we seem to have a say in, but others not so much.
Yesterday marked the 18 month anniversary of Austin leaving us. It has been 18 months and 2 days since I last spoke with Austin on the phone, since I told I loved him. As I reflect on this and on the question, "On the day Austin was born do I wish I had known how long I would have to hug him and love him?" the answer comes to me quickly. "No. Because I know I would have spent much of that time worrying, counting down the days, all while losing out on enjoying the actual time I had with him - both the ups and downs of raising him to be the beautiful, caring young man he was becoming.
Then I think about Jesus' story some more. God sent His son to Earth, knowing what was going to happen, knowing Jesus was going to suffer terribly, but He did it anyway. Thirty three years later God allowed Jesus to be crucified and God felt the pain of His son dying (before he rose three days later) so we could all go to Heaven. God felt the same kind of pain I did when I lost Austin. God understands my hurt and sadness.
Today, as I celebrate the birth of Jesus, I am thankful that, because of Him, I will see Austin again in Heaven. I don't know when this will be, but am looking forward to that day, when I can once again hear his voice, see his smile, and give him a huge hug. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the days (hopefully years) I have with my other two boys and husband, with my memories keeping Austin alive in my heart.
PS: Here is the link to the song, "Mary Did You Know". Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07SQgt-Jmws&feature=related