Over the course of my life I have met a handful of genuinely beautiful people. Matt Mooney and his wife Ginny are among those people. We have invited him to share a part of his story today in advance of his book release, A Story Unfinished (available June 1).
Pull up a chair and meet Matt Mooney.
Eliot would be six years old. How I wish I could replace “would” be with “is.” His heart didn’t hold that long, though it did battle plenty long enough to leave the wordly-wise quiet; quiet–just as he was. His silent life seemed to have that effect on those around him. Quiet down, this is holy ground. Others would constantly ignore phone calls in his presence or step outside for side conversations though none of this was required nor expected; his life had a way of demanding reverence, even from the ones who typically seem to miss such nuance.
We take for granted now the fact that he lived for 99 days, but remembering the moments he was present is remembering the uncertainty of what each next minute held. Fear and wonder held hands tight within this realm and you could feel the aging of a day’s weight under this reality.
And we, his mom and dad, were left looking for some escape, some miracle. Any hint of relief from the onslaught would be sufficient. We found but one.
In days since Eliot, we have been privileged to share the story of Elliot’s life and passing in some large ways. When we do, folks line up to reciprocate the vulnerable gesture of letting them gaze upon your greatest wound. And we would listen as others shared their own stories. Each story stacked one upon the other like saucers climbing from our shoulders, and these piled up hurts would sway, foretelling of a fall. We would run, dodging the spotlight to catch our balance again.
And when you are the one on the listening end a funny thing happens. It is only then that you can see where your own story is unique. I would nod in agreement at the familiar telling of a journey no one wants to travel. It seemed that for so many that walked through the bombshells of a child’s diagnosis or loss (or anything akin to it), the event had so often exiled them to an island of isolation from the community around them.
But not us.
It was upon tearful 4 am mornings whereby She would knock at the door in the visible form of a friend, stopping by unannounced because these were the hours where fear took on physical form and traded taunting whispers for shouts. It was precisely at the lowest point in our lives that we experienced the best of the Bride.
We were propped up by folks who will not write books. Those who took care of us so we could take care of our son. God came near to us in the hour of our greatest need through familiar faces. His hands made meals; these same hands that never before seemed divine now sparked of a not-so-distant love ablaze for us from the very One who has not answering our most requested petition.
Though He did not give us what we asked, He did not leave and would not forsake. He showed up with shorts on and we are left asking to be the same to someone else–turning what could so easily be the loneliest hour into instead a deeper definition of the church.
Matt and his wife Ginny founded 99 Balloons. Many know Matt through the story of his son, Eliot- whose 99 days on this earth were gave rise to 99 balloons, an organization which assists families with special needs children. He is the author of the book, A Story Unfinished, which chronicles this journey.
Matt lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas with his wife Ginny, and his three children Hazel, Anders and Lena. He blogs at The Atypical Life.