Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Connections made...

I truly hope that my friend, Roxanne, doesn't mind that I took this image out of one of the photo albums she has posted online. But I just had to share it with you, as well as the link to her blog and her story in life at this time. It's been on my heart for a couple of weeks now. I blogged about how I wanted to pose some personal challenges here and invite some of you to join me in those challenges, and today is one of them.
In reflecting back on Teagan's life and how ours has changed since her death, I often think of the may 'connections' we have made; those friendships our family has formed with people whom we might never have otherwise met in life had circumstances been different. One of those people in our lives is Roxanne Robbins, who through a series of unusual events came to be a friend of our family. She 'learned about our story' when she was attending a White House biblestudy and one of the women in that group had read the article from my college alumni magazine telling the story of our loss of Teagan. Roxanne was moved by it and she ended up getting in touch with us through email. Chip did a radio interview with her as part of her job at that time and we kept in touch a bit through the internet. Later she was traveling companion to former tennis star, Andrea Jaeger, as she toured and promoted her book, First Service and raised awareness and support for cancer foundation, Little Star, and during that tour, Roxanne had the opportunity to meet our family and visit with us in our home. She is a fascinating person with stories to tell ranging from political experiences in Washington D.C. to professional sports figures that she has spent time with on and off the field. We fell in love with her and her generous and compassionate spirit several years ago.
I was not surprised when, last November, we got a link to her blog and an update that she was now living in Africa and working with people, especially children in hospitals, who need so much medical attention, love and care.
Late last month Roxanne posted another update to her blog and shared a very personal experience that she had just had with a little boy named Okello Dickens. She has several pictures posted of this little boy and I was touched. I was moved to pray for him often and still do, all the while wishing there were something more I could do for him and so many of the other children at the hospital who need special care. I have been thinking about how I wouldn't even know that little Dickens is suffering and needing my prayers had Teagan not died and our lives connected with Roxanne's.
So in that spirit, I have been reflecting on the reason for this long-distance 'connection'. Teagan's birthday is in a week. I plan to send a gift of money to the ministry through which Roxanne is serving the children of Uganda in place of the gifts I would have gotten for Teagan's birthday. Chip and I have done this in the past- we have looked for ways to give to others on Teagan's birthday as a way to honor her memory. I am inviting any of you who like to be a part of this special birthday gift to let me know by sending me an email with the name "Dickens" in the subject line. { nitty.grittyjody@yahoo.com } I would love for all of you to pray for Roxanne and what she is doing in Africa as well as specifically pray for Dickens and the other children who are suffering in the hospital alongside of him.
I will set up some sort of system- either a paypal account or just send out my address- in which you can send donations and I will make certain that our gifts make it to Roxanne. I hope to send my gift to Roxanne at the end of this month.
A piece of my heart will always be missing from the hole that Teagan's death has caused in me- in which there is no way of filling that void. But in giving to others and touching lives of those I never would have had the chance to 'meet' had it not been for Teagan, just helps put some of the pain of grief and sorrow in its proper perspective, as well as gives a sense of hope- that life and death is always connected. No matter how long Teagan has been gone; no matter how 'far away' she is her spirit still moves me to want to do good in this world. This month a piece of my heart has been in Uganda. I can only imagine that Teagan would be excited to know that her birthday present went to some kids who are touched by her love in Africa. Sometimes it just plain hurts to realize Teagan's not here and never will be. Other times it warms my heart to know the world is still a better place because she was in it.


mimisherry said...

As always Jody, your words have moved me and inspired me and indeed challenged me to do what I can do to make a difference in this world. My heart aches for that empty part of your heart where the memory of your little girl resides. I honestly cannot imagine your pain and loss, yet you have done a fabulous job at using it for good. Even tho it does not erase the pain, it does make the world a better place because you CHOOSE to do the things that you do in memory of your sweet, precious angel.
I enjoy your blog and have found myself wanting to check on how things are going at the Freelaks! I hope Wyndham is doing well and that the momma to be is feeling more energy with each passing day!
Love & Blessings! Sherry

Anonymous said...

Hi Jody, if you set up a paypal account for this, please let me know. I would be so happy to contribute and make a difference to a life so vastly different to that of my children.


Jane (an Australian Belle)

Holly T. said...

This made my heart smile. Thanks Jody for making my day a little brighter!
Holly T.

Bird's Words said...

Three years ago, our family was blessed to be able to spend 2 weeks in Uganda, very close to where your friend is working. We were there with a missionary family, and our lives have not been the same since! I am honored to pray for Dickens, to lay Him at the feet of the Great Physician daily. The people of Uganda are a beautiful, courageous and gracious people. It is a blessing to know some of them personally and a blessing to see such wonderful work being done on their behalf in even more ways here!
Thanks for sharing!

angi said...

Again....YOU. AMAZE. ME! :)

So Many Scraps said...

Your post leaves me wordless, yet so full of many thoughts! I will pray for little Dickens, I wish I could give but at this point and time I cannot. We are paying 2 mortgages and very strapped! Moved by husbands work twice in two years. If only the house in Mn. would sell! But I am a prayer warrior and that does great things because our GOD is GOOD! Thank you for blessing me with your post today and I will also pray for you that you continue to have a peace that passes all understanding! Your ministry is wonderful!