Going home took on new meaning for me one day in the NIC unit (Newborn Intensive Care) at the hospital.
It is always the hope and goal of the care team that these little ones get to go home someday and most of them do. Since I’m not always present when the babies are sent home, I usually give my blessing to the family when their time to go home is near. And when I return to find the infant’s bed in the NIC unit empty, I rejoice that another infant got to go home.
I was called to the NIC unit on a Wednesday evening. Little baby John had entered the world early and with great difficulty. He was breathing with the aid of a ventilator. He had suffered severe brain damage because of respiratory arrest and the nurse informed me that the parents were struggling with the decision of continuing life support. The parents wanted baby John baptized, so we gathered around his bed and gave him the gift of new life. It was a bittersweet moment because we all knew why we were baptizing John in the hospital. Baby John was soon to go home — to heaven.
As I left the bedside and started out of the room, I saw Annie and Jake. They had twins three months earlier. One had died soon after birth and the other, Mason, barely survived. Today Mason’s parents were taking their son home! There were lots of smiles and congratulations, but there were also tears. I was overwhelmed by emotion; two babies going home, but in such different ways. Mason went home with his parents; a short time later I was holding baby John as he died and went home to heaven.
“To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Php 1:21).
Baby Mason and baby John embodied those words and touched me in a special way. What a privilege to be present at this time of such great emotions of both grief and joy. What a privilege to be able to share the love of Christ.
Family albums — what a priceless treasure. They contain baby and toddler pictures, pictures of the first day of school, report cards, graduation announcements and newspaper clippings of weddings, births, even deaths. From cradle to the grave, the family album tells the story of our life and love.
God’s family album is much the same, and while it doesn’t contain a single picture, it is…