LOUISE: Swan Lake

Today, I read a verse in the
Bible that made me stop and reflect on my life. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I
formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart…”
Awesome statement!  It made me think of
my own children, how I loved them and held them in my heart long before I held
them in my arms.  I knew them before they
were born. Knew their sleep patterns and activity, knew they would be
absolutely beautiful, but most of all, I knew how much I loved them and how my
heart would hold them forever. I knew I would have a special love set apart for
each child, not more or less than the other, but unique for each one. 

This past weekend gave me reason
to think about such things. My youngest son, Jay, and I met my oldest son,
Aaron, and his family in Tulsa for some bonding time.  It’s a halfway point between our homes, and
how appropriate that it would be Tulsa, where my husband, Carl, and I started
our lives together.  It’s where our sons,
Aaron and Travis, were born and though Aaron was still young when we moved
away, he has wonderful memories of his life there and wanted to revisit some of
those places.

Aaron and JayYou’d think we were vagabonds,
having lived in several houses during our seven years in Tulsa, so we took a
“town tour,” allowing Aaron to match memories to particular houses—the one
where he walked to kindergarten, the house with the kitchen booth, the
two-story where he fell down the stairs. . . . Then we discovered a favorite
memory for both of us. Swan Lake. I often took Aaron on walks to the lake, just
blocks from our little house. He was four years old. I was eight months
pregnant and the cool, shaded area was a sweet afternoon respite. After Travis
was born, Carl and I frequently enjoyed strolling beside the lake on summer
evenings with our boys, allowing Aaron to feed the swans. Such a serene and
peaceful setting in the middle of the city. 

What a pleasant surprise to find
the lake almost unchanged after forty years, with swans gliding gracefully,
fountains spraying and shade trees lining the walkway. It was like stepping
back in time, remembering the love and fun we shared during those long ago
outings. Of course there was one major difference. Two precious people were not
with us—Carl and Travis. A bittersweet moment. And though I can almost picture
Carl holding our blue-eyed baby boy in heaven, it is still a painful reality.
These past two years without my husband hardly make a blip on a heart-mending meter
after spending forty-five years together.

But the weekend with my sons,
daughter-in-law and grandchildren was wonderful. We even attended a family
wedding. And now that I’m home I think back to those outings at Swan Lake with
young sons, and the recent trip with grown ones, and feel God reminding me that
just like I loved my children before I ever saw their sweet faces, He also
loved me before I was born and set me apart for a unique purpose. I believe He
does the same for each of us. Even in our worst times, God reminds us that we
are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the Creator of the universe, set apart
for something special known only by Him.

Somewhere in time, deep in our souls, I believe
we all have a Swan Lake experience waiting for us—a reminder of God’s great
love and blessings, even when life hurts. 

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