I have not written about Stephen's baptism much and have not shared the details of that day before now. I sort of put away all the memories from that day, physically and mentally, and haven't really pulled them out until now. At the time, I felt like that day was a very special moment that Bill, Stephen, and I were able to share together...just the three of us. But now that a few months have passed and Stephen's health is so much better, I can't help to (selfishly) feel a little robbed that we weren't able to share that special moment with the rest of our family, Stephen's god parents (my sister and brother-in-law) and the rest of the world. And celebrate the day like "normal" families do. But today as I pulled out a copy of the liturgy from the service and looked back at the pictures from that day, I can't help but thank my lucky stars and God that we are where we are today because little Stephen was so incredibly sick at that time (he was 5 days old and less than 24 hours before his surgery when he was baptized). It's a good reminder about how far we have come since that day.
Reverend Anne Holmes performed the baptism on Sunday, January 9, 2011. As luck would have it, that Sunday was actually Baptismal Sunday and baptisms were being performed at churches all over the world that day. She had been the chaplain on call the night Stephen was born and had blessed him that night and every day thereafter. She continued to visit him for weeks after he was born and felt a special connection to him. She wrote a very special note to Stephen and read it him following his baptism and gave him a small rose quartz heart. I'd like to share that note with you all:
On the occasion of your baptism, I am giving you this rose quartz gemstone in the share of a heart as a reminder of this special moment.
Rose quartz if known as the love stone. It helps the user feel a strong sense of self-worth, and therefore being worth love. Rose quartz is the stone of universal love. This meaning of rose quartz includes love of the self as well as love of others. Rose quartz symbolizes the ability to open one's heart to the fullness of love.
This particular stone was given to me when I was having a difficult time and struggle of my own. It served as a symbol of the love my family and other surrounded me with as I walked on my journey. It served to remind me of God's love - that knows no end. It helped to remind me that God is always with me no matter where my journey leads.
Stephen, as I pass this tone to you my prayer is that it will be a constant reminder that you are not alone, that are a beloved child of God - A reminder that no what - God hears your prayers. A reminder that you are surrounded by doctors and nurses and hospital staff and chaplains who love and care about you. I hope that this stone will also let you know that your life and your very presence has been a gift to those who have come in contact with you.
You are little guy blessed with parents who love you so much that they have done everything possible to help you stay with them. They are wonderful people who, just as you touch those around you, they touch those around them.. They have brought strength and unconditional love to you and give of themselves freely to those who care for you. You may share your gemstone with them as they travel with you on this journey so that your hearts remain open to the love of God, the love for each other and the love from those who surround you.
Stephen, your journey in this life is not certain, what you life will be like remains to be seen. But know that our lies are not measured by length of time but as Abraham Lincoln said "In the end, it's not the years in your like that count. It's the life in your years."
Stephen, you have truly lived a very long life in a very short amount of time. You have shown many what love can be. You have shown many what strength is. You have surprised, amazed, and delighted those around you.
May this gemstone remind you that you are surrounded by many who love you mightily, with a deep, powerful, and abiding love that will never end.
May God bless and keep you
The Reverend Anne E. Holmes
Thank you Anne for your beautiful words. I hope that you are still reading this blog so you know how much your words meant to me that day and still mean to me today. They will forever be a reminder of how close we came to losing our little boy, but how special he is that he was chosen to live and go on to teach others, including me, about strength, patience, kindness, and the power of prayer. I hope that someday we will meet again so that you can see how far we have come!
Here are a few pictures from that day: