I met Amber when I was just 18. Both of us freshman at Hendrix College, we temporarily abandoned studies for a night of partying the time our paths first crossed. Martin Hall was holding a huge bash that wasn't to be missed. I walked into the dorm room of my destination and there she sat. I don't recall whether or not we even spoke, but I do know that as I sized her up I didn't like what I saw. I later learned that she felt the same. Men are definitely not the only ones who mark their territory. Females are actually worse, and I felt she had absolutely crossed a line that divided her rightful place from mine. So, as females do I spent the evening casually shooting her looks of contempt and distrust as if to tell her, "I better not see you over here again." Whether she missed my message or I simply failed to properly deliver, it wasn't the last time I saw her. Little did I know that night, she would become one of the best friends I ever had, a true champion of my cause, and thirteen years later, a woman I admire from the depths of my soul.
I received word today that this beautiful and amazing friend was introduced to the pain of losing a child just this morning. As she went to retrieve her toddler son, she was met by the cold and gusty winds of death. Only yesterday, she watched him play innocently in the mud, but today found his tiny body without life. "My problems suddenly seem so trivial," I thought as I wept bitterly on the floor. "Why, God? Why Noah?" I asked as I know she has also asked many times throughout this day. I received no definitive answers, so after I offered her only the love that I have, I went for a walk to clear my head. For the first time ever, it didn't work. My mind raced on an endless search for answers that I fear may never be found. I can only imagine what she must be feeling.
I don't know why God chose to take Noah home, and my heart breaks into a million pieces each time I try to figure it out or reach conclusive answers. I decided to let go of my search and work with what little bit of information I know. It's not much, but it begins 13 years ago in a dorm room of Martin Hall. I met you and instantly decided against liking you because you were unknown and threatening. You had a contagious laugh, but I refused to be taken in. You thought I was a snob. You were right; I was. I don't remember the first time we actually spoke, but somewhere between that night and today, you grew into a woman whom I've always considered a brilliant and beautiful pillar of strength. On countless occasions, you were strong for me and so many others. It's time to let yourself be weak while others are strong for you.
You stood by me through the hardest decision I ever had to make at the age of 18, and you didn't judge me for doing something you would never do. Instead, you held me by the hand and walked me through it as you told me you loved me no matter what I decided. You're loyal, compassionate, and understanding. You dare not judge someone because you know what it means to be judged. You are so gracefully humble and you don't just talk about it; you walk it with every step you take. Your heart is one of the biggest I've ever personally known, but even the biggest break. Let yours stay broken for as long as you need.
You're strong, independent, and feisty in ways that never cease to make me smile. You introduced me to so much about what a person should be, and I don't believe I've ever told you just how amazing I think you are. I can't write about what or how you should feel over the loss of your precious child because I'm utterly inadequate to speak on it at all. All I know is you - and based on the woman I've known and loved for 13 years, even if from afar, I know you'll be held tightly in the arms of your own angel as you endure the pain that is and is to come. Call on God who has already assigned multiple angels to walk you through.
You are beautifully gifted and chosen for so many great things in your life. Your mark on the world has only just begun to take shape, and though right now it feels hopeless and dark, brighter days do lie ahead. Noah isn't the only one wrapped in the arms of angels right now. I love you, Amber, and you can walk the path before you. When you start to doubt your ability, remember that it's His strength and ability, not your own, that will see you through. In the times to come, I will cry with you and have my heart broken with yours. When the day arrives that you're able to laugh again, I will laugh with you. You are never alone.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
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