Thursday, April 18, 2013

for Boston, with gratitude and love

one of my favorite places in the world...
I have been heart-heavy this week, praying and thinking of the people of Boston, the tragedy they have endured.  These words were written months ago after a trip my husband and son and I took to Boston in January.  I share them now with gratitude and love for the experiences I have had in that glorious city.


He is navigating the subway like a pro, this son of mine, checking the map and making sure we are heading the right direction.  We are riding the “T” through Boston, clanking down the tracks side by side.  The sights and sounds of riding the subway have my southern California suburban boy enraptured.  We emerge onto the cold, bustling sidewalk at the Park Street station, and head through the Boston Commons.  I am guiding us, making a beeline toward the statues of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard who I remember are on one of the Charles St. corners of the Public Garden. 

We find them all dressed up for the holidays, and a kind stranger snaps photos of us together, us with the ducks. 

Stephen and I with the Mallard Family
And my heart fairly bursts with a kind of healing joy.

Oh, Jesus, how do you do it?  How do you line up these moments that go off like a flashbulb in our hearts?  My heart beats out a steady rhythmic thank you, thank you, thank you.  Every step we take through the Public Garden reminds me of the healing journey I have been on for the past six years.

When I look at photos of the first trip my husband and I took to Boston in the Spring of 2007, I am always struck by my eyes.  They look so sad.  And I was.  So very sad.  Five months earlier we had buried our fourth child.  We had planned the trip to Boston when I was pregnant, planned to bring our then unborn son, William, along.  I had imagined pushing a stroller through the garden while my husband attended his academic conference. Instead I sat by myself near the Swan Boat pond, watching families push their own strollers, journaling down my grief.

me and my husband along the Freedom Trail
A lot of life happens in six years.  Sitting on the bench where another stranger kindly offered to take our photo, I watched my son, Stephen, walk out near the Swan Boat pond, now covered in ice, and I felt Spring blooming sure right smack dab in the middle of an icy winter.

in front of the Swan Boat pond
This boy of mine is growing up.  Sharing the time with him in Boston was partly like spending time with a friend and also definitely like spending time with my son, and I loved it.  Stephen is appreciative and observant and funny.  He is smart and inquisitive and willing.  We walked a mile or so through the city in the cold evening air, and he mused about how alike we are.   We laughed and sang and quietly enjoyed one another’s company.

I know as I sat on that bench, six years ago, I didn’t sit there alone.  Jesus walks with us through our valleys of grief.  And I know that way back then, He saw ahead to the winter day when I would walk here with my delightful twelve-year old companion, and that inside my heart I would be holding a dream and hope of a child we would adopt into our family.  And so He sat with me, holding me in His love and grace.  And He walked with Stephen and me down that sidewalk in the wintry Public Garden.  And we rejoiced.


  1. So sorry to hear of your grief then, and so blessed by your joy now. What a sweet tribute to overcoming something horrible as this city's facing its own huge loss. Thank you, Amy.

  2. I have such a tender place in my heart for Boston, and for all the kindnesses I have enjoyed there, the healing I have celebrated there. It felt right to add my tiny little bit to others' words after what happened on Monday. Thank you for reading here, Laurie, and for commenting. You are a blessing to me!

  3. I was in Boston on Monday, just finishing up a visit with friends and an "accepted students" day at Boston College. We were literally an hour away on the Mass Pike when the radio reports cut into the music. So shocking. I too love Boston. It has a special place in my heart as my college town. Such fond memories and friends I've known since I was five. Time does heal...and somehow we go on despite sometimes devastating grief. And we return to that heart that beats out a steady rhythmic thank you, thank you, thank you. Bless you!

  4. Oh Amy, what a touching post! Thank you for sharing your heart, dear sister! I love it and am so touched by your words! God is SO good and mighty in how He heals, but I too know those moments of grief. Thank you for being such a blessing to me!