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A Lion In Space

Once there was a deep dark nothing.

A nothing that was full; full of blackness, space, and of course, it was full of nothing. Then somehow, in some miraculous way, into that deep dark, a tiny spark was given. Birthed into the darkness, quietly, unannounced, and it grew slowly. But not that slowly. Soon the nothing wasn’t empty anymore. And the spark, it grew into a roaring flame, so bright that the nothingness resounded with its fullness and brightness. It was no longer empty. From the nothingness of the deep, the spark burned. It was not nothing. It was alive.

And it loved being alive. Thriving and growing the spark looked round at itself and saw that there was something wrong with his bright shape. Yes, he realized that he was a "he" and an "it" no longer. His heart was shaped like a lion, strong and fierce, but there was still something not right. He looked and watched and though he felt safe, he was afraid. The dark nothingness comforted him, and gave him faith. The deep taught him how to trust. How to trust in the darkness to show him the brightness. But it was hard.

Then came a day when everything changed, the full and tender darkness hid from him, and his lion's heart shook. He was assaulted with pain, with strangeness, and he cried. Then in the midst his lion's heart calmed, as he felt the presence, and the soft touch of love. Though it was all new, it reminded him of the nothingness that was everything. His heart stayed strong, and the wrongness in his body wasn't so wrong, as it was just there; a part of him, just like an over large ear, or a listing eye.

But it held him back. He knew that he couldn't run as fast as a lion should. And he wanted to. But to run, he had to go through a trial. It was scary and tested his very core, but he was strong, he always was and the deepness was with him. He survived it, healed from it, and though imperfect, he learned to run.

He knew that he was still different from others, weaker in his skills, but he had faith in the fierceness of his heart, and the hearts of those who loved him. And he had joy. He was alive, and he lived and found the strength to say no to fear, and most importantly, he saw that without the darkness, there would be no light. 

A year ago today, Leo was born. Not as we know his actual birth: that mystical passage from the maternal darkness into the light of the world that happened a year earlier, but his rebirth through the faith and skillful hands of two surgeons. Two surgeons and a whole lot of prayerful people, who took a risk and with it, made it possible for a lion to run.

It is the first anniversary of Leo's big fat huge cranial surgery, one that has never been done in this area, and only three others ever in the whole country. As I fill out the pre-op papers for his eye surgery which is coming up in a couple weeks, I can't help but think of this time last year and how much our lion has grown in strength and skill. How this time a year ago, we sat in the sun outside the hospital and prayed. We had no clue how intense and scary the recovery was going to be. We didn't know that he would hang on a thread while his wounded and changed body tried to cope and survive with his newly refashioned skull. But his lion's heart never failed him, or us. Nothing is actually always filled with something, I heard recently, and it awed me, and instead of making me believe in science, as was the intent of this knowledge, it affirmed that deep, loving all fulfilling presence of God. Who else could have held, nourished, and sustained our lion through life threatening hardship? And I know, because that nothing filled our hearts and gave us courage when we needed it the most. Even in my flawed way, I feel like in that darkest and scariest time of my life so far, I was given the gift of light, and in the darkness it burned the most fiercely.

Leo a couple hours after cranial surgery

A week later 

And Leo now, a year later in which he learned to sit up, crawl, cruise, say a couple words, and make signs, and also had another, more minor cranial surgery to bump out his forehead in Feb. 

Can't keep this lion down.


  1. And then a mighty roar
    Will start the sky
    To cryin'
    But not even light'ning
    Will be frightening my lion
    And with no fear inside
    No need to run
    No need to hide
    You're standing strong and tall
    You're the bravest of them all

    If on courage
    You must call
    Then just keep on tryin'
    And tryin'
    And tryin'
    You're a lion
    In your own way
    Be a lion

    Come on be a lion

    -The Wiz

  2. What a doll baby! He is so handsome and smart. Have been following his progress and am so impressed. I pray for the continuation of the great things that God is doing for Leo. I'm looking forward to the seeing and hearing of his next progression after surgery. I know that his little life is carved in the palm of our Lords' hand and your little lion will triumph once again!

  3. It's almost unbelievable how much Leo has changed in a year. Yes, as an outsider I would say he is thriving. Praying for a successful surgery.

  4. Catching up on some past blog posts. This one brought tears to my eyes, Anna - such a beautiful image of a baby being born, and of Leo's struggles. And what a testament to God's grace, to your own love, and to the little Lion's strength. Love you all!


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