I met Matt Mooney a few months ago through a mutual friend, Amber Haines, and realized soon after that I’d met a brother. Matt is one of the most honest, genuine and caring people I know and it’s my true honor to introduce him to you today, and to tell you about his new book, A Story Unfinished, highly endorsed by our own Ann Voskamp, and dedicated to his son Eliot who lived for 99 days.
I loved the question so much, I feigned maturity and tried to let him finish it; but unbeknownst to him my answer had been 6 years in formation.
Eliot would be six. Or should I say he is six? This is just the beginning of the complications that come when your son flees this world before you do. And, for today, though I remain undecided, let’s just say he would be six.
That interrogative that leaked from the lips of a friend can be surmised as follows:
Why after all the hard, did you choose hard again?
Now, let me take this moment to jump up on one of my many soapboxes and set some things straight. This is just the sort of question that many people wince at upon hearing – because people say such stupid stuff and when they do we wince. Anyone who keeps one foot in church circles and has also walked through something as immensely painful as losing your child knows the sting of stupid.
But this is not that. This is honest. And I celebrate honesty wherever the endangered species pops it head up. I love this question.
Now let me sprinkle in some context to help you understand why someone would ask me that:
Eliot would be six because he lived for 99 of the most beautiful days that I have known. Within these passing years we have been blessed with two biological kiddos that are both perfectly healthy and perfectly behaved (as far as you know; excluding that Chik-fil-A scene last week whereby three small girls came screaming out of the playground with minor injuries inflicted upon them by my son… I’m sure they had it coming.)
And so, losing Eliot was the hard that the question referenced.
Just over a year and half ago, my wife and I spent six weeks in Ukraine in order to bring home our fourth child. Her name is Lena. She has a medley of profound disabilities which I will spare you from trying to explain. On top of her special needs, the majority of her life had been spent within the walls of institution. She was non-verbal and immobile when we brought her home, as well exhibiting behaviors associated with a life of cribbing and neglect.
And so, she represents the choosing hard again part of the question.
Remember, I’m not wincing with you.
If I have learned anything from walking a road of loss – one I begged not to go down, then it is encompassed in the following words as best as I am able. God is not about our comfort. He is about His kingdom coming to this earth. And when we seek our own happiness in the ways that seem so native to our mind, we walk straightway into a most miserable life.
His ways are not our ways.
Therefore, where I pinpoint my own happiness lands me instead on an island of death. He is found on roads that we would not trod but for His voice calling us down them and our recognition that it is He who awaits at the end of the trail.
We did not rescue Lena. God, through her, is rescuing us. Saving us from a life spent seeking things only found in Him but on a road where He is not.
Reading Eliot’s story is an ushering into the holy grace of God everywhere — the art of now that could make life a masterpiece.” ~ Ann Voskamp, author of the New York Times Bestseller One Thousand Gifts
**Matt is giving away a copy of his book, today; leave a comment and we’ll choose a random winner within the week. **