Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Happy Birthday, Brighton!


Oh man... this day.

Today is Brighton's birthday and if his race hadn't ended after 76 days he would have turned 11 years old today.

Happy birthday, Brighton Asher Hoffman!

The goofballs were super excited about picking out a cake for him and having the bakery write his name on there...


And Meron was especially excited about the colored flame candles she found for his cake.

Nothing but the best for their brother!


Man... this day wasn't supposed to get me like this... and it usually doesn't.

But today just seemed monumental for some reason.

... 11 years old, maybe?

... Laura being in country and actually visiting his grave today... could be.

... conviction around being too hard on the kids over daily dumb stuff... probably.

But whatever it was - today seemed to be harder than most of his birthdays for me.


Surrounding myself with these guys helped though!

I picked Z-Dogg up after school and apologized over and over and over again for being too hard on him about how CRAZY LONG he was taking to eat 1/3 of an egg at breakfast.

I felt so convicted during the day over it - and was fixated on the thought that I'd give anything to sit and watch Brighton eat an egg - even if it took him days to finish.


After we sang "Happy Birthday" to Brighton (complete with "Cha-Cha-Chas") - and the goofballs blew out the candles - we went around the table and shared something on our hearts about Brighton.

Meron started with:

"Every time I think about him - I think about how crazy (and cool) it is that I was in the same orphanage as him at the same time for about 10 days..."
I'm with ya girl... God knew what He was doing and knew WHO He was bringing to this table!

Mebbie was next and her profound self offered up this:
"If it weren't for Brighton and the plans God had for his life and his 76 days - things could be TOTALLY different. I mean we could all have gone to different families!"
She looked appalled at the idea! Good grief I love this girl and her deep, deep thinking... yes Mebbie - God was in control the whole time and He knew what was going to go down!

Finally, Z-Dogg - with eyes glassy and starting to wet up - whispered out:
"Us sitting here... singing to him and eating his cake and having a party without him... that's really, really sad..."
He started crying.

And I was DONE!

I wanted to share too... but I couldn't get words out.

Zechie came and hugged me BIG time, Meron was rubbing my back and Mebbie said:

"It's okay daddy... it's okay to be emotional about Brighton."

And she's absolutely right. I pray He never takes that emotion away.

Laura doesn't write on here enough (like ever) - but today she sent me an update after the team's day was wrapping up - which included a visit to Brighton's grave. Here's just a bit of what she said:
"I was asked today about the condition of the cemetery and why it is not cared for. I’ve never faced that question before but in all honesty, the state of it does not bother me.

For me, the overgrown weeds and plants, broken stones, and difficult path we walk, all represent the journey we are on. It’s messy. Broken. Full of places that seem too difficult to pass...

but the beauty we find when we continue to move forward outweighs the pain and ugliness of the path we took to get there. "
See what I mean? She has WORDS and needs to share them.


After we cleaned up and I pulled it back together - we headed towards bed - we prayed and I felt God smiling on us.

Look at this picture!

That's a dude with some hurt in his heart but completely surrounded by His joyous gifts.

I can't help but feel Him all around me all the time.

I don't deserve it - but He doesn't give it because we deserve it... He gives it cuz He loves us. And today - even in the weird, goofy hurt of imagining a million "what ifs..." of Brighton's life - i felt His love.

Happy Birthday, Brighton.

Your 76 days forever changed our remaining ones...

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