What a day we had Saturday! I am coasting on a high that is overwhelming of love and support. There aren't words to describe what my heart is feeling, or words to express the gratitude for all the generosity and love we experienced. Thank you so much for coming out, for the love you have given, and the support you have shared.
Saturday began early with a buzz of so many friends and family at the park setting up, decorating and spirits were alive with hope of a successful day. The day began with an inspiring blessing--a family volunteered to come help without knowing any of us. They had read our story in their parish bullentin and felt called to volunteer their family's time to help be a part of the day. And let me tell you, what a help they were! What a heartwarming way to begin our day, and what an example of what Vivian's Victory was all about, and a great reminder to all of us about what true Christian love is.
As the hours passed and 10 am came closer and closer, the sky opened up allowing rain to just pour and pour as the first registrants arrived. I will admit, my heart sunk to my feet. I had prayed and believed there would be no rain. I know how I would have reacted to the rain--I would have stayed at home. I would have sent a donation, but not have showed. I could not believe every time I looked to the parking lot, a new surge of people were walking up to the registration tables. The rain did not keep people at home, it encouraged them to come. I couldn't help but think of the famous line from Field of Dreams, "If you build it they will come". The walk was built, and people kept coming and coming, SMILING despite the downpour. As I apologized to many for the rain (as if I could help it), I received a remarkable response from my uncle. He said, "We have been praying for rain for weeks. Look what Viv is already doing, and she isn't even born yet".
We received a break in the clouds in perfect timing for the walk. There were so many things I wanted to share with everyone there, but I couldn't. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, all that would come out were tears of incredible joy and thankfulness. Each time I turned around I felt like there were more people coming up from the parking lot. It was something out of a movie. Completely overwhleming.
As I look back on Saturday, there are so many moments I want to cherish. I want to hear everyone's view, what they took from it because each person sees things differently. For me though, even days later, the most touching moment was not seeing my sister shine, or seeing how blessed my mother was when her college friends surprised her, or even seeing the quantity of people despite the rain. Those are all images I pray I never forget, but the memory in the forefront of my mind is welcoming Carson to the walk. Carson is a young thing, I think 5 or 6 that lives with a very rare skin disorder called Epidermolysis bullosa (EB). Carson arrived to the walk between cloudbursts. Many walks have been done in his honor to raise money to help his family with medical costs as well as raise awareness for his disorder which effects 1 out of 50,000. After saying hi to Carson, the first thing he said to me was, "has Jesus answered my prayer for baby Vivian?" I couldn't control my response. Tears ran down my face and I responded, "Carson, he is everyday. But you keep praying--I know Jesus listens especially to your prayers". His sweet and compassionate thoughtfulness is something that is so easily lost in our day to day lives. And here, this child, who has every reason in the world to be thinking about himself and about what pain he is living is first and foremost concerned with Vivi. I pray that my children, and myself, learn this lesson from Carson.
Reflecting on preparing for Vivian's Victory, I look back on the Thursday meetings we had at my moms. It was amazing the way people kept doubling every week, and how each person wanted to share what they were good at for the success of the walk. I still go back to one of the first Thursday nights as my favorite. It was very early in the process, and we were trying to decide what to call the walk. There are so many HLHS organizations that do so much good for children and families. We had looked at some of their logos and slogans, but they all seemed to focus on the 'brokenness' of the heart. There are images with bandaids over the heart or a heart with a puzzle piece in a different color, and although cute for many families, not cute for this mom! My entire focus and attitude about Viv's heart since the beginning is that she is not broken. She is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God which makes her perfect how she is. "broken" heart and all. It is amazing thinking back to that night, because as always, God was there. As I went on my soapbox demanding in Mama Lion fashion that her heart willnot be seen as broken, the Holy Spirit started stirring and Clare immediately had an idea that went along with my feelings and a few more minutes of a hurred buzz and next thing you know, Vivian's Victory was born--image, tagline and all.
Saturday was a clear message of Vivian's Victory--what she has already accomplished from inside my womb. She had people there smiling in the rain, and showing up despite the weather and sticking around despite the weather. There was a current of love and comradery that gave life to the event. All the people there acted as a tangible fraction of the prayers we have been receiving which is unreal. Storms in life come and go. We are currently in the middle of a big one. But we are not alone. As we witnessed first hand Saturday, the rain comes, and a pocket of sunshine gives us relief. And in the middle of the storm, there are so many people there to share with us the hope and love we need to hold on until the sun comes through. Vivian already has a huge victory--teaching us that life isn't about learning how to dodge the storm, it's learning how to dance in the rain.