I held an angel today.
This morning was the Joy School end of year field trip. Nathan (my four year old brother) has been participating in Joy School for the last year, along with three other children - two boys and a girl. To celebrate their commencement from the Joy School program, a trip to the zoo was arranged. So each Joy School mother packed up her children and brought them to Salt Lake, where we met at the entrance gates. The McKrollas came with three children, including their Joy School student. Among the three was Collin.
Collin McKrolla came into this world two months ago. He was diagnosed with down syndrome before birth, via ultrasound. He was also diagnosed with an aortic coartation - the same heart condition I had when I was born. When he was born, it was additionally discovered that he had clubbed feet. Miraculously, however, there was no sign of the anticipated coartation. No heart surgery necessary.
As we went through the zoo, he lay in his stroller, half asleep most of the time. His legs were both completely encased in plaster casts to correct his feet, and he wore oxygen tubes in his nose to keep his breathing regular as he slept.
Part way through the day, I had the opportunity to hold him for a while, and even take a turn carrying him - always close to the stroller, to keep attached to the oxygen tank, but at least giving him a chance to get out of it for a while. He lay almost perfectly still in my arms, occasionally shifting when the sun got in his eyes or his position was uncomfortable. Once or twice, he even pushed his eyes open and looked up at me.
I felt I was holding an angel. I was certainly holding a miracle - to have a heart defect disappear as it did was nothing short of that. He was so pure, so perfect, despite the hardships his physical body had suffered, and would continue to suffer later on. However, I knew also that despite the hardships, he would continue to be an angel for the rest of his mortal life. I have known several children like him - those sweet spirits who are not held accountable, who are incapable of evil. Those beautiful souls who come to this earth with bodies and minds incomplete, but who bless the lives of all those around with them as much as they are able to give. Collin was pure, and would always be pure - until that holy day when all shall be restored to its perfect frame.
It was a humbling, almost sacred experience to help care for that baby boy today. I held an angel. I kissed an angel's head. I comforted an angel when he began to cry. I pushed an angel in a stroller through animal exhibitions and crowded walkways.
And I can truly say that in doing so, I was brought closer to God and His angels above.
Yours always, my friends, 'til next we meet...