Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1.169 million blessings...

"I can't imagine what you all have gone through in Nate's life."

It's a statement that has been uttered to us countless times over the past 5 years, but none before evoked the kind of emotion that this time did. The empathetic sentence was uttered by one of the dancers at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center at the University of Florida Saturday evening as she participated in the 26.2 hour Dance Marathon that raised money for Shands Hospital for Children at UF.
We had made our way down to the dance floor to enjoy the festivities and help boost the morale of the dancers who had to stay on their feet for the entire 26.2 hours, showing enormous support for the trials experienced by the children who grace the walls of Shands. But instead of us boosting the morale of these dancers, they boosted our's.
Being surrounded by over 800 students dancing "for the kids" and several hundred more working hard to make sure the event went smoothly, coupled with the subject of the conversation, was almost more than my emotions could tolerate. I never envisioned any of this in our life when we were forming our family...the heartbreaking realities and the intense uplifting moments that shine blinding light through the darkness. I never expected any of this.
My eyes filled with tears as I tried to explain to her that while I would love with everything in me to take away the medical burdens of my son, none of us would have experienced any of this if it weren't for his trials. It's a dichotomy of feelings that is quite difficult to explain sometimes. We would not know the hundreds of people who have made a lasting impact on our hearts or lived through the immeasurable blessings in his life and in our's if it had not been for his broken body. Nate's difficult plight on this earth has given all 5 of us more blessings than we ever thought possible. God has a plan for all of us. And through His plan for our family that has been so excruciating at times, the light that has come from the individuals placed in front of us along this journey has enriched our lives beyond belief.
We were privileged to witness history this weekend. Because of the hard work, passion and full-time commitment of the overall team and captains all year long, the incredible fundraising efforts by each student, and the persistence and strength portrayed by each dancer, Dance Marathon at the University of Florida raised an astounding $1,169,722.16 for the kids at Shands Hospital for Children at UF. There didn't seem to be a dry eye in the entire O'Dome when the ground-breaking total was revealed. It was truly a remarkable instant in each one of our lives to witness such a highly emotional moment in time.
1.169 million blessings in our life and in the lives of countless others...

Two worlds. One family.



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