Monday, November 26, 2007


As I walked across the hotel lobby last Thursday morning to get a cup of coffee, I spied a few members of my extended family gathered around a dining table. I walked up and found everyone enthralled with little two year old Noah, the baby of our clan. Sitting in a high chair situated between his grandmother and grandfather’s knees, he was clapping and dancing in place as his grandmother, my aunt, sang to him.

I saw a small bruise on Noah’s forehead and remembered that he, just recently having learned how to walk, stumbled the evening before and fell to the ground. I ran my fingers through his hair and asked him about his boo-boo. He smiled at me and put his finger to his nose, remembering the game we had played the day before. He loves to mimic others.

My uncle explained to me Noah’s medication causes him to bruise easily and then showed me the mark on the little boy’s arm. Noah, realizing we were inspecting his war wounds, grabbed his shirt and pulled it up over his head to show off his chest. The scars of open heart surgery ran across his pale, delicate skin.

That was when I remembered hearing Noah’s mom praise her own mother last week as we sat with a small gathering of cousins tailgating before a football game. She said she couldn’t imagine being able to care for Noah without the help of her mom. I shared this praise with my aunt on this morning, and she spoke of what a blessing it is to her to be able to look after her grandchild.

As I returned to my room with coffee for Jill and me, I thought of Rosemary’s thankfulness for her mother’s help and my aunt’s thankfulness to God for receiving the gift of another grandchild. I thought of this little boy who would grow up with those scars and knew that one day he would be thankful for his mother’s love and support, and the efforts she put into getting him to the right heart surgeon. Just then I was thankful for the skill of that surgeon, the man who gave my family more joyful time together, who saved us from loss and sorrow.

That was when it occurred to me how many people were links in the chain of events that led to repairing Noah’s heart. Someone taught that surgeon how to do what he did. Someone helped that surgeon to get into medical school. His mom helped him study while a child, laying the foundation for the education he would later pursue. Someone taught her how to be a good mom. A dad was there, too, doing what he had to to help pay for his son’s education, a paternal role that his dad had taught him, I’m sure.

I haven’t even mentioned the nurses who cared for Noah while he was in recovery, the minister who stopped by to pray with Rosemary, the neighbors who brought food or the friends and family who made sure Rosemary’s older child wasn’t forgotten during the time that Noah lived at the hospital. I can’t even comprehend how many unknown people were behind each gesture any one of these known people made on behalf of Noah.

I just know that our good deeds are the result of those thoughtful things others have done for us, and our good deeds are the cause of what good deeds our beneficiaries will one day do for someone else. We are all links in the chain of events of life. The good, or the bad, you commit today goes on forever. Only you can decide what your legacy will be.

I took this picture of Rosemary, Noah and Hunter. As I focused through the lens, I thought of how I would leave Thanksgiving this year not only thankful for the food and fellowship I enjoyed, but for the renewed awareness of how we all touch each other. Thank you, Noah. Thank you, God.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Greg! God has truly blessed our family this year.
Love, Rosemary

Anonymous said...

Thank you Greg...this is a wonderful blog! As a co-worker and more importantly a personal friend of Rosemary's, I too have been deeply touched by the compassion and strength both Rosemary and her mother, "Miss Elaine", demonstrate. I too am so blessed to have them in my life!

They both share many "family" stories with me so I feel like I already know you. Keep up your awesome work, it is a true testimony of life!

Sharon Veal
Sandersville, GA