I have been struck with a harsh reality.

When Annie was sick, we did what we could.  We didn’t stop to ask the cost of anything, we just did it.  We had insurance, sure, but even without it, we would have done what we needed to do.  When the bills started rolling in, we were shocked at the cost of her short stay in the hospital (which have been miraculously taken care of!).

Then somewhere in the blur of those first months, I realized something.  Of course I knew it before, it just had never slapped me in the face before.

There are millions of Mothers in the world who lose their babies simply because they don’t have the basic necessities.  Namely, clean water.

They don’t love their babies any less than I love my Annie.  They’d do anything to keep their babies alive, just like me.

Now, giving money is one thing, but I wanted to do something that would impact my kids.  I found this post on one of my favorite blogs and I was hooked.

On New Year’s Eve, we had both sets of Grandparents at our house.  We decided we’d start our new tradition with them.  We made rice and beans and put it on a big sheet in the living room.

Everyone had to find a dollar to put into the jar before they could eat.  It represented money that we would have used to make our meal, but instead will be sent to dig wells.

And then we talked about those babies and kids.  Kids who die simply because they don’t have clean water.

To say it made an impact is an understatement.

We plan to regularly have these meals and make it a practice to do something about it.  William and Kate can hear from our lips that we give money, but it doesn’t mean a thing to them.  Making it tangible to them, though, has brought it to the forefront of their minds regularly.

Out of the blue at dinner the other day, William said,
“Dad, why wouldn’t God use one of His miracles to give everyone in the world clean water?”

Oh my.  I love how that boy’s mind works.

And so, though I would do anything to get my sweet baby back, I am thankful that her absence in our lives is reminding us to be more thankful.  To face hard truths.  To force us to tell our kids that there aren’t always easy answers.  To wrestle with the “whys”.  And to choose to use our loss.

P.S.  I wrote this blog post a few weeks ago and hadn’t gotten around to publishing it.   Today as I was flipping through Newsweek and saw the horrific pictures of Haiti’s earthquake, I was reminded that I still needed to post this.  Now,  more than ever, we need to be moved to compassion and giving.  There is so much hurt in our world.    Come quickly, Jesus!