Monday, January 24, 2011

A Loving Relationship

Olivia wasn't much more than a smidgen over a pound when she was born prematurely. You know, even five years ago, there would have been little hope for Olivia's survival. All odds seemed stacked against her. But Olivia was a fighter, so was her family, so were her doctors, and her little, tiny newborn life was placed in God's hands. Only by the wonderful grace of God and through today's technological advancements that God gave us wisdom to invent is Olivia alive and thriving today. Now, I believe she tips the scales at over nine pounds. She is alert and interested in her surroundings. And, oh, is she a living doll! Sure, her parents are proud and very loving. Our community and church family has 'adopted' Olivia as we witness this miracle life. But I'm not sure anyone is more proud of Olivia than her big brother, Durham. Last night as I attended a church committee meeting, I watched with admiration as Durham cared for Olivia while his mother also attended the meeting. Durham is not a "typical" teenage boy because he always has time to speak to everyone--adults and children alike. He enjoys playing sports, hunting with his stepdad, playing practical jokes on friends, and just being a boy. But when it comes to Olivia, Durham seems to literally hold the world in his hands. His eyes lovingly gazed upon her as he gently bounced Olivia on his knee. She would look at Durham, then sneak a glance at her younger brother, Haden, who sat by Durham and busied himself reading a book. Durham would stroke her hair and then gently rub her back. And then he gathered that little bundle into his hands, pulled her near to his face, and gently kissed her angelic face. I felt the tears beginning to well within my eyes. It was beautiful--this relationship between a seventh grade boy and his "miracle" sister. It was a lesson that Durham, undoubtedly, had no idea he was sharing with adults in the room. There was a message in this relationship. I could tell that Durham thoroughly loved, not enjoyed, but loved his babysitting time with Olivia. He did not wait for his mother to hand Olivia to him--Durham took Olivia from his mother's arms. There was pure joy in this relationship. Nehemiah 8:10 states, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Durham has realized the joy of the Lord and the joy of calling Olivia his sister.

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