Here's to tender hearts!

Y'all, this week we got some hard-to-swallow news. It wasn't unexpected, but it always hurts to read stark evaluation notes on a child who is so much more than a diagnosis... so my heart was tender today. It would have been sensitive, even without without all the harshness of the past couple weeks tenderizing it day after day before this, but the culmination of everything left me wanting to curl up in a fetal position.

But I went about my day as usual, crossing paths with person after person, most not knowing how raw I felt.

Even this morning selfie with my beloved doesn't give away that I was barely treading water to keep my head above the whirlpool of emotions in which I found myself this morning...

And it struck me, as it often does, that I don't know anyone else's story either.

The man at Bojangles from whom I bought our meal, who did all he could to bring forth smiles from me? The nurse who came for our quarterly assessment of Zoe's care needs? The vet I spoke with on the phone? The mailman who handed me a package? The volunteers who checked us in and then saw us off at day camp?

I don't know their stories. I don't know their raw places. I don't know if they just want to curl up under the covers for an extended holiday like I do.

But I know love. I know compassion. I know Jesus.

So I'm going to do all I can to show all I know to a world in need of it. A smile. Eye contact. An encouraging word. A countenance that says, "I see and value the humanity in you, my friend. We're in this together."

Hate doesn't win. Trucks driven into celebrations don't get the last say on humanity. And evaluation notes don't change the awesomeness of the kid about whom they're written.

After all, maybe our hearts are meant to be tender. Maybe that tenderness isn't the problem; maybe all the hard places we've cultivated to protect ourselves are. Maybe we're supposed to hurt and grieve and mourn sometimes.

Maybe, just maybe, we're not doing it wrong when life seems too much.

Here's to tender hearts, to making a more compassionate world one encounter at a time, and to kids who are so much more than what any label says!