I saw you for the first time yesterday since this whole thing started. A lot has changed since then, hasn’t it, little man?
Reporters with big cameras and microphones want to talk to you these days.
There’s a brand new swing set in your backyard — a gift from some of your friends.
A bunch of your aunts and uncles and friends and grandmas — and even strangers — wear brown shirts with your name on them. We wore them to your party yesterday, when we all got a chance to welcome you home and say “thank you” for the lessons you’ve taught us about courage and patience and perseverance and love.
People in grocery stores mention your name in the aisles, and they don’t even know you. I know, because I’ve overheard them while I’m putting cereal and fruit snacks in my shopping cart.
People have been writing about you in emails and blogs and newspaper stories. I know because I’ve read them.
People have been praying for you. I know because I’ve prayed with them. When this all started, Isaiah, I watched about 50 people gather in a big circle, hold hands and bow their heads in silence. Someone else’s daddy, with big tears running down his cheeks, started praying for you. That daddy didn’t know you, buddy, but when he prayed, it sure felt like he knew you.
Even to them — the strangers — you’re more than some cute little red-headed boy whose life was changed. You’re the cute little red-headed boy who changed the lives of others.
We’ve all been changed.
Amazing, how that can happen, how an icky sickness from E-coli can birth something so beautiful in the lives of so many. We feel so bad that you had to go through this, Isaiah, but we want you to know how we’ve been changed because of you. Today, you stood up in the back of my church, right by your Grandma, and said two words loud enough for the whole church to hear: “Thank you.”
Oh, Isaiah, we thank you.
Thank you for teaching us what it means to be brave. Thank you for teaching us what it means to praise God — even in the storm. Thank you for teaching us what it means to pray with believing hearts, knowing He hears us when we call. Thank you for letting us into your pain, and letting us give back a little in return, and thank you for letting us watch the miracle that is unfolding in you.
Your mommy says she wishes she could think of a word that means something bigger than thank you, because “thank you” doesn’t seem adequate. Little buddy, if she finds that word, can you let me know? Because saying “thank you” doesn’t seem enough.