I´m so happy to have Dani share a post...a lovely tribute to her big sister!
We are so glad she can be here at this time; she´s been such an encouragement.
Her contemplative gaze, encompassing the whirling thoughts, desires, and emotions of her heart. Her distant gaze that reveals only a small fraction of the overflowing thoughts that go on in her mind and that is more than my mind can process. Her pensive gaze that reveals, yet simultaneously hides, the secrets of her soul. Her gaze, that heart wrenching gaze that with profound desire looks through the glass doors that keep her captive inside the hospital walls.
Some may think of her as closed or private, and understandably so, considering the scorching fire life is putting her through at this time. But she is only closed to those who have not watched her closely enough, or long enough, or have not simply sat with her, observing her, looking into her - into her eyes. Her deep-set eyes are a window into her soul through which she shares many of her deepest secrets. They may not be put into words, but if you look closely enough, her eyes that are so profoundly marked by many kinds of suffering, say all that needs to be said, tell all that needs to be told.
A reflection of her humble acceptance of trying circumstances, blaming no one for her pain. Her smile, completely void of bitterness, overflows with grace, innocence, and simplicity. Her graceful and hopeful smile humbles those around her for taking for granted the freedom of life. She does this with oblivion and without judgment; it is simply the sweetness of her spirit that brings unknowing conviction.
As we fight back tears all the way to the hospital and while in the waiting room, she throws up without ceasing, or is wrenching in pain while we all sit close by unable to take her pain away - but a smile always follows. Her sweet smile full of acceptance, forgiveness and hope - and completely void of bitterness.
As we all sit around her talking animatedly, telling stories, she looks from face to face with wide eyes full of anticipation, soaking in every word, overcome by the pleasure of being surrounded by those who love her so deeply, trying to cheer her, being with her, accompanying her.
Just like the peace seen on the face of a sleeping baby. Her face, her body language, her voice, her whole self radiates with a peace that surpasses all understanding – or at least mine. There is a sweetness about her very being that no matter how hard I try, I cannot understand; simply watching her sleep brings immediate tears to my eyes. I cannot wrap my head around the sweetness that her presence projects.
However, though peaceful and sweet, it is not weakness. Despite the frailty of her physical condition and her constant awareness of her lack of energy, there is a deep, inner strength that she has, that has been given to her from the One above. It is an animalistic strength that her elegant body disguises, that the sweetness of her spirit overpowers, and the boldness of her smile, amidst the suffering, camouflages. Yet it is bluntly evident to all those who see her fight for her life every day.
From this stems her indescribable beauty. Just as I cannot understand how she can express such integrity through her smile, her gaze, and retain the hope and the peace that she does, so I cannot comprehend how someone can be so naturally beautiful and possess such raw strength. Whether she laughs joyfully, smiles gently, or cries sorrowfully, whether she is awake or asleep, there is an unfathomable and indescribable beauty about her presence, one that must come from the One who abides within her, never leaving nor forsaking her.
For me, Jenna’s striking beauty and perseverance are a declaration of the glory of God, just as the heavens and the earth are. The fact that she is a miraculous creation of art is not a topic up for debate - it is a fact. And here I am, holding the privilege of being by her side daily, watching her fight continuously, yet unable to protect her from this pain or take it away from her. I feel completely unworthy to be the sister of such a stunning, elegant warrior, but I praise God for this opportunity, and I praise God for allowing me to see Him through my gorgeous sister who He so beautifully, intricately, and wonderfully knit together.
I love you, Jenna <3