In case you are wondering, none of the tricks actually work. No matter how hard you try you will never be able to stop time. Of course, during this quarantine for COVID 19 we may all feel that time has come to a grinding halt, but with all of the cancellations COVD 19 has brought our way, the one cancellation I was hoping for pressed on and pressed hard. Today marks the day when the world became a better place for me and for many others. May 29, 2002, my precious Caroline Donnelle Permenter entered the world with a heart of independence and passion. Oh how I thought I could hold onto every moment, while all along the moments were slipping by.
New born became preschool which became elementary school which became middle school which became high school which now will become college. Why are our lives marked by the educational levels we have reached and surpassed? We have pictures to remind us of school plays, of dances (my daughter is the most beautiful dancer you will ever see, by the way - and of course, I am not biased), of sporting events, of birthday parties, of proms, and of so much more. Photographs fail to grasp the most important part of humanity and more specifically the most important part of my princess.
Deep beyond the shutter, the flash, the negatives (for those who are older) and deep beyond the three cameras of the latest iPhone (for those who are quite a bit younger), a daring and brave little girl waits for the next chapter of her life. Deep behind the smile, a caring and brave young woman anticipates all the future holds. Deep, deep in her soul, one blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places reaches forward to embrace life to the fullest.
Because of Caroline's life, friends have been encouraged. Because of her life, a little brother has been protected. Because of her life, an older brother has learned to deal with various emotions (which will aid him greatly as he enters marriage in a few months.) Because of Caroline, younger girls have grown deeper in their walk with Christ and Christian leaders have been challenged to be true to their own teachings. Because of Caroline some children who are victims of trauma will have a caring advocate working to help them recover and rebound. Because of Caroline I have seen the value in taking an honest look at life and doing the hard work to change a trajectory heading toward destruction. Because of Caroline I have seen what a Christ follower with a bold tenderness can do in a world that rejects you more times than you might prefer. When I write "because of Caroline," I am thinking "because of Christ in Caroline" because when I take time to stop and consider who she really is, I see Jesus - and more than anything seeing Jesus in her makes me smile.
I have a playlist on my phone entitled "Caroline." The time I lost with her during a trying part of our family's history provides the context for the playlist. As the songs resonate in my inner being, I am challenged to take every moment and ask "What now?" No one can change the past, but we can certainly adjust the future. Two songs on the playlist are Cinderella by Stephen Curtis Chapman and My Wish by Rascal Flatts. Caroline and I used to dance together to Cinderella, and My Wish reflects much of what I hope for her moving forward. What is my wish for Cinderella? My wish is that midnight would never come. My wish is that she would know deep in her soul that she is a princess no matter what the world may tell her. My wish is that she would embrace her belonging in the world, with her friends, in her church, in life. My wish is that the evil of so called high school friends would make her stronger and more discerning. My wish is that any pain I have caused from the mistakes of figuring out life after my own trauma will diminish and blossom into a beautiful rose. My wish is that above all Caroline will love the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that she will love her neighbor as herself. What a blessing the Lord gave me 18 years ago to participate in the life of this dynamic, distinct, deep spirited, dearly loved lady.
Happy Birthday Caroline.