I had a great post to write today. It was good. Witty. Light and Fun. We have a Tucker milestone to share. And I will, later this weekend. But this morning, my post shifted. My perspective, as it has many times on this journey, shifted and I have decided to share something different. It will hurt your heart. So if you’re not in a place to take on a sad post then skip this one and check back this weekend. I won’t be offended. I Promise. But I feel compelled to write about the errand today that left me in tears.
The day after Tucker was born, Darrin and I were in our hospital room trying to decide how we could get a reduced rate at a hotel. We knew we had a long NICU stay ahead and we couldn’t imagine staying at home and being 45-50 minutes away from the hospital. A NICU social worker walked in and asked how we were doing. Asked if we knew where we would be staying. We told her our plan. She said, “Oh you don’t have to do that-let me check with the Ronald McDonald House and see if there’s a room available.” There was. And we spent the next 5 months in a house where our every single need was covered.
You would think that the Ronald McDonald House might be a sad place to stay. It is, after all, a place where parents can stay while their very sick children are getting treatment in a hospital. There were many families like our’s with very preemie babies fighting to make it in two children’s hospitals right down the street. But it was not a sad place. There were stories of hope all over the place. We watched several families come and go celebrating their discharge from the hospital. And miracles, like Tucker were smiling back at you in pictures all over the walls of the house. I could write forever about how the house and community served our family over the 5 months we were there. The Ronald McDonald House will always and forever hold a part of my heart. It is truly a place of hope.
So today, I stopped by the House, to drop off some diapers and catch up with the staff. When I walked in, I smiled. It smelled like cookies. Volunteers bake home made cookies every single day there. And yes, this is a clear frontrunner in the list of excuses as to why I was still wearing maternity jeans when we moved out of our room there.
I dropped off the diapers and sat down for a minute to catch up with a staff member. We caught up on Tucker and her daughter. I asked how the House was. She sighed. It has been a rough month. In the last month, 4 of the families who were staying there, lost their children to the illness that brought them there. One, a preemie who started much like Tucker. It had been a long time since the House had lost a child and to lose 4 over such a short time was weighing heavy. The House has lost 9 children since opening a little over a year ago-so 4 in one month has been devastating. We talked a little longer. Hugged. I promised to send Tucker’s Halloween pictures. And then I left.
I got in the car, drove out of the parking lot and my eyes welled up. I haven’t been able to shake it the rest of the day. These families checked into the Ronald McDonald House, hoping, praying for a miracle. And they are no doubt, broken in heart and spirit tonight. So I’m asking you to pray for those families. I don’t know their names. I don’t know all the circumstances. Please pray that God would give them everything they need in this time of despair. That He would sit with them as they grieve. That they would feel His presence. Pray for the months to come. And pray for their broken hearts.
I know this isn’t my typical light hearted post. And I will post a Tucker report this weekend. I went back and forth this afternoon on whether to write about it all. There are so many stories of hope that come from the Ronald McDonald House and I am thankful to God that healings far outweigh the heartbreaks in the House. But these 4 families are hurting. And they need some healing of their own. So I would love it if you would lift them up in prayer tonight. And thank God for the Ronald McDonald House, that it is a refuge and place of hope for so many weary families. And say a special thank you to Him for all the miracles in your life. I can’t stop thanking him for the one I just tucked in.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”