Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Early Goodbye From The Pilgrim Road

Dear friends,

I need your understanding more than at any time since November 8, 2009. This will be my last public entry on this blog. I made a commitment to write every day until November 8, 2010, and I will keep that commitment, but privately. It is with a profound sadness but a deep resolve that I conclude this communication, which has been a joy, a lifeline, and one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. But there is something far more important to me than even my own life. That is the feelings and needs of Hannah Mary Rejoice Smith, and it is for her that I leave this cherished endeavor behind, without regret, and not as a martyr, but as a mother.

Please don't ask her why. Please leave her to her own walk through a very difficult and steep path on the pilgrim road. More difficult and steep than I even knew. She is an extremely private person, unlike her momma, who deals with suffering in a far different way than her precious daughter. There are aspects to all of this I don't even understand. But I know you will treat her with kindness and understanding, as you have right along. Perhaps there will come a day when the last month of this blog will be published. If the Great One wants it that way, it will happen. He has a way of resurrecting things that have been put to death. I don't know how it will play out, I only know what I must do right now.

Eleven months ago, our lives were hit by a tornado no one saw coming. It changed everything, for ill and, ultimately, for good. To the first responders who came to the rescue, I say thank you once again. It is not adequate. But I have no other words to use to express the depth of gratitude that only the Lord really understands. In particular, I want to share my deep affection for Officer Ernie, who has been my friend through it all, from the moment he walked in the door of Albany Medical Center, to his presence at the sentencing of Oscar Lewis, to this very day. I will always hold you dear, Ernie, and pray the Great One will fill your heart with a knowledge of His love for you every day.

To the doctors, nurses and therapists and staff people who took care of Stephen and Hannah when their bodies were broken and bleeding, there are no words. Only gratitude equal to the stars in the sky for saving their lives and helping them recover. In particular, Dr. Bagchi, who put the pieces back together of a man who now can go to work and raise his children, deserves high honor. But so does Miss Rosie, the precious lady who sat with Hannah for countless hours, praying for her as she emerged from her injuries. And so do all of the amazing human beings at Albany Med and Sunnyview Hospital. Trish Regan, you stand alone. You are, and ever will be, my favorite nurse on earth. In all your troubles remember Jesus will never, ever leave you. When He created you for Himself, He broke the mold. And His heart will always look for yours.

To our families, I say I love you in a deeper and wider way than I ever knew possible. All our differences don't amount to a hill of beans after the year we've shared together. To my brother Donnie, you know well that I would step in front of a truck for you. As you would for me. And you've proven it in countless ways this year. To Richard, I will never forget you peeling me off the floor of the SICU at one of my worst moments. You are a man of action, dear brother in law, and God sees your great big heart of love. Remember He loves you even when you are sitting still. Tom, well, as a loyal bloggie you have made my heart so glad. Thank you for your kindness and love to us through this mess. I am so glad for the relationship we have recovered. To John, I can only imagine the heartache of a twin brother on the edge of death. How blessed he is to go on in this life with you! And to the rest of the family, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles: your love and prayers were rich and sweet. May every blessing you have given us be returned back to you a thousand times over.

To the many friends and strangers from far and wide who have loved us in a myriad of ways, I love you back with all my heart and soul. When I write the book of this saga, you will be firmly implanted in my memory. Indeed, far beyond when those words hit the paper.

And to my brothers and sisters in Christ from Delmar Full Gospel Church, well, all I can do is weep now, weep with joy and gratitude for all you have meant to our family. You have shown me up close and personal what it really means to be the body of Christ. You have been the very hands and feet of God in the thick of the worst muck that I've ever known. I'm glad we share the pilgrim road. To Pastor Dave the humble and Sweet Laurie - I love you greatly. I honor your lives of service and your true hearts of tenderness to the people in your care. May He who lives forever give you every great blessing this life has to offer. I already know He has life eternal and full of joy for you at the end of this winding, unpredictable highway.

If I did not mention your name here, it's only because this would be an endless ending post. You already know I go on and on, word upon word, probably way beyond what I ought. But I have loved writing these words. They have been the Great One's daily medicine for me. Still, if I need to let them go for now, I know that who I am is not defined by what I do, but by The One who created me for His own purposes. I am studying humility, and as often happens, we are put to the very thing we say we believe. I have tried my hardest to tell you the truth here, every day. I am certain at times my motives have been mixed. This is part of the human condition. But always, it has been my great aim to honor my Savior, and to show Him to you for the Great and Awesome God He is. Forgive me if I have missed the mark in some ways. But know this: my life is His. And I want yours to be to. Because He truly is the way, the truth and the life.

I so hope to see all of you, each one, at our Dessert Nite on October 23. Please come, to hear one more time how dear you are to me. I am humbled and beyond blessed to have shared my life with you lo these past 11 plus months. You are proof that there is no mountain too high, nor any valley too deep to keep friends apart. If God is for us, dear ones, who indeed can stand against us.

Forever and ever, your friend on the pilgrim road,



Tom and Sandy said...

All the best and Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

I will miss your daily blogs - it's the last thing I read before I go to bed every night. I know by reading this blog that many people have been blessed by what you have written and they, too, will miss them.

Hannah must be your main concern. Not this blog. Once a mother, always a mother.

God has chosen this time to end the blog and He has chosen to end it this way. God has used you to tell others about Him - some who may not have listened anywhere but here.

Change. No one is fond of it, but it happens anyway. Like the seasons.

Thank you for doing what God called you to do and writing faithfully every day.

You spoke about humility. I'll share a piece of what God has given me to share at our next meeting.

When you act with humility, people see through you and see God.

And they have.

We love you.

Lorraine & Ernie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts so beautifully over the past eleven months. We'll continue to pray for you, your daughter, and your whole family. God bless.

Bubba said...

God Bless You, Steve and Hannah Smith. I will miss reading these blogs, Loriann.

Stay in touch. Hope to see you Oct 23.


Donnie said...

Wondering if these tears are tears of joy for triumph as a new chapter begins,or sadness to saying goodbye to this blog and all that was shared over the past year.Maybe a little of both.Love you dearly.

Larry said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, LA and family. Does the word "blog" really do justice to what your remarkable, incredibly personal yet shared journey represents to your countless old and new friends and readers? It has been a stunning tapestry weaving the thin threads of highly charged emotions and intelligent insight into confronting our deepest fears, tragedy, family, friendship, death, healing, patience, rebirth and, ultimately, faith and love. Behind evey word there is an unending, timeless love for family, and there is constant faith. While this amazing narrative may end, we continue to pray for you and your family, and we rejoice in the amazing steps toward recovery your Loved Ones have made and will continue to make with your steady hand and bedrock spirit and faith. Love to all.
Larry & Family

Anonymous said...

Dearest Smiths- "To everything there is a season,and a time to every purpose under heaven..." Eccles.3:1 ...Though we can see,without a doubt,that you are doing a most noble thing,your intimate communications with us will be sorely missed.You are ,indeed,entering a new season.May this season bring you comfort, peace, and joy in ways that you have not yet experienced .And may our God's presence knit, mend, and heal in His own inimitable way!!! -All my love(in Him,alone)-Joan,the "Bed"-tender

Anonymous said...

Find myself still coming to your blogsite daily where I find help and encourgement from your beautiful, honest and insightful postings of life on the Pilgrim Road! MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY and a double portion for Hannah! We do continually lift you all in prayer! YFOTPR, Laurie D

Pam Letendre said...

I will truly miss your words each night but I know as a mother you do what you need to do. I believe you have touched so many more people than you can possibly imagine throughout the past 11 months. Even though we are not near please know my prayers, thoughts and love travel the miles to your most beautiful family. May Our Lord continue to bless all of you and give you peace. I will miss these daily blogs but will be the first in line to buy the book!

Lisa said...

I can't believe this but I just met you at the library today! My husband and I were praying for you since the time of the crash. We heard about it from our good friends Pete and Sarah Deeb! Hope to stay in contact with you! Blessings, Lisa

Anonymous said...

Hoping and praying your hannah is safe and returns home soon