Tomorrow is the day.
The day that our sweet little booger-butt, Chance, went to Heaven; seven years ago. Every year, I write something, in honor of his Angel-versary. Today I'm choosing to edit something I wrote last year, to share here. This is because our supporters have kept me so busy, I haven't had time to write and that is awesome!
Usually, when I write these memorials, they are full of discussion of Chance’s life, his struggles, our lessons, those final 17 days, those final hours and minutes. This time, I I choose not to focus on or highlight the pain.
One day, when Sean and I were working on tagging toys, he made the comment that if Chance hadn’t gone to Heaven right before Christmas, we may not have even started this project. Perhaps not. I mean, it all started because we’d already purchased some Christmas presents for him. We remembered the times that random people randomly (as if anything is ever truly random) dropped by to give Chance a toy or blanket or something to brighten his day. For his memorial, we didn’t want our home filled with funeral home flowers, in the aftermath. Though they are always beautiful arrangements, they didn’t seem right for our little angel-turd. Instead, we asked for toys. We took those, along with what we’d bought for Chance, and delivered a car load to Norton Children’s Hospital (formerly Kosair). You know the story, thus the Heart of Chance Toy Chest project was born.
After that first delivery, I thought it would be cool to develop this project into an official nonprofit. I’d enrolled in school though, and was barely keeping my head above water balancing everything. I had every intention of taking that step after graduating. But, when that time came, it just didn’t feel right. Thus, we continued the project, as a project. Each year, we were comforted by channeling our pain and grief into bringing joy to other children and families, in honor of Chance.
Looking back at these last few years, I now realize that we have been on a very intentional path, precisely illustrated by God. I felt God first telling me to grow the project, to spread the word. That’s when we created the Facebook page. At first I only kept the page active during our busy collection times. Otherwise, the posts were quite infrequent. Slowly, I felt urged to keep those posts active throughout the year, engaging more followers.
It was almost mid 2017 that I GOT it. The Heart of Chance Toy Chest project is not meant to be predominately about Chance or our grief. Chance is the instrument. Our grief is the instrument. The project is the instrument. In writing the mission statement and moving forward in incorporating and filing for 501c3 approval (after much prayer), I realized…this is about glorifying God. This is about taking Chance’s story and using it to honor and glorify the God, who loves us eternally and unfailingly.
When people ask, why do we do this? We do this, because God gave us this adorable, stinky, sweet, snuggly, little boy, with half of heart, but more heart than us all. And in my friend, Nikky’s words, God needed him back. Chance’s job was done here on Earth, but OUR job is not done. Our job is to use Chance’s story to share God’s love with others.
Chance’s bedroom, once filled with medical equipment, is currently filled with toys and gifts that will bring joy to other children, as they are journeying through their medical battles. This year, those toys and gifts have spilled into the loft! A door we kept tightly shut, following his passing to Heaven (to keep his smell trapped in there, we didn’t want to lose it!)- is now wide open, because we are constantly in there working in “Heart of Chance Toy Chest headquarters.”
Let’s be realistic, the pain will never go away. Pain and grief absolutely cannot be replaced by purpose. However, purpose gives pain and grief a reason to have existed in the first place. The Heart of Chance Toy Chest mission is to honor God’s command to love one another, by bringing joy to children, as they journey through their medical battles. We would love for you to be a part of this mission.
We love you. More importantly, God loves you. Even if you don’t know Him. Join us, in loving one another! We can't and certainly do not accomplish any of this on our own. Thank you, to our supporters, for bringing joy to the kiddos and their families. Our family experienced those moments of kindness from strangers and can tell you, first hand, it makes a difference.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34