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This past weekend while in the cold grips of a Michigan winter, I spent some time in the room where, just six short months ago, I said goodbye as our tiny little baby that we’d already grown to love in the womb was en route to Heaven. Our previous trip back home didn’t end like we’d thought, with love and hugs of celebration from family, instead it was a painful turn that we didn’t expect. A turn that brought love filled tears and sympathetic hugs from comforting arms, because as my water broke that fateful evening, so did my heart, in pieces spread across that tiled bathroom floor. But when life makes you climb aboard the train of ache, there also rides an unexpected passenger called opportunity. And this was ours. Our opportunity to mature and thrive, though at the time, I wasn’t sure how to make it through the growing pains aching through my entire body… from the inside out. It was our chance to become better and not bitter. To see with a different perspective and to look at others from all walks of life, though all on board that train, with a new lens.

People are strong, people know how to grow, we know how to overcome. But without the opportunity, without the chance to become, we may never see ourselves flourish.

This time as I tiptoed through that space that almost felt like sacred ground, the connection with that room, with that sweet little spirit in Heaven, wasn’t painful. This time, I smiled. The thoughts of “what if” and “what should have been” have been replaced with thoughts of “what will now be.” I unsuccessfully tried to choke back tears so they wouldn’t be misconstrued, for this time, they were tears of joy for that little round belly I’m once again able to hold. I’m amazed by the cycle of life we live, by the ups that make us smile and laugh and throw our hands in the air while dancing and flowing with utter abandon, and the downs, that teach and stretch and grow our hearts, our compassion and our attitude towards others… and life itself.

This past weekend, my perspective changed, again.