Well, today was busy. We ran a race this morning with our boys in Newport. It was lots of fun and very wet. Thane and I finished ahead of them and then we got to watch each of them cross the finish line. We stood in the rain and cheered for them one at a time as they finished. As they approached they were looking up to find us waiting to hear us yell their name. As I stood there, cold and wet from a typical Spring day on the Oregon Coast, my heart was so warm. What a blessing...five boys, one at a time, running with their friends, racing to the finish with determination and joy. I hugged them one at a time and told them how proud I was. I told them they finished because they were Syversons, which I also told them was Norweigan for "guts" (not really!)
As I sit here tonight, I am reminded of a boy with more guts than any I have known. May 6th is the anniversary of my nephew, Glennie's, death. The Lord layed him on my heart tonight, because he has a story that needs to be told, and he leaves a legacy that is a testament to all who new him. Left behind is a mom and dad with an aching heart, but a strong faith in our Savior, and I am reminded tonight that they are still in need of prayer. Because the loss of a child lasts a lifetime.
Glennie was born in 2002, he was my brother Glenn and his wife Amanda's first child. He was a beautiful baby boy and his entrance to the world was rather familiar. Two loving parents excited to become a family of three. They brought him home, fed him, loved him and nurtured him. They thanked Jesus for him. When he was six months old, he was diagnosed with a genetic disease, called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Type 1. None of us had ever heard of it, but we have come to know it very well. SMA is a nueromuscular disease that causes children to lose their muscle control. They are completely mentally and socially appropriate, but cannot move. The disease is progressive in nature. At birth, Glennie seemed perfectly normal, but gradually he was unable to lift his head, couldn't stand to be on his belly and then became unable to move his arms or legs. Eventually the disease progressed and Glennie was unable to breathe without the help of ventilators and biPap machines, he wasn't able to eat without a feeding tube. But he was always able to smile and had more joy in his eyes than I have ever seen!
Glennie's struggle was heartbreaking to watch. His parents had difficult decisions to make on a daily basis. They always weighed the information the dr's gave them and fought to choose what was best for Glennie. He lived 20 months, and then he went to be with Jesus. I will never forget the last time I saw him. He was hospitalized in Philadelphia, and I flew out to see him. It was Christmas and he was in the hospital again. Glenn and Amanda were there and I visited with them as I played and talked with little Glennie. His eyes lit up when I spoke to him, it still amazes me how much he communicated with his eyes. He loved to watch Sponge Bob, and there we sat watching Sponge Bob, the night before I had to leave to fly home. I kissed him that night, and told him I loved him. My heart ached as I boarded the plane the next day for home.
Glennie died that Spring, May 6, 2004. I remember feeling so broken hearted for his parents, yet relieved for baby Glennie. You see, Glennie never got to walk or run. He never raised his arms to hug his parents or skipped and played like other toddlers. And all I could picture that day was Glennie running into the arms of Jesus. It is a testament to Christ, how many lives were touched by this little boy. I miss him so much yet I have joy in knowing I will see him again.
So I guess this brings me back to where I started. How much greater the joy of a small boy, crossing the finish line, to the arms of a loving Saviour, who knew exactly how his life would be. I know He welcomed Glennie with the word's "well done" to a faithful little servant. O Lord, we miss him. Thank you for the hope you give us in Christ Jesus!