True to form for a new mother, my sister Carla e-mails pictures of her six-month-old daughter about once a week.
In one of the recent pictures I noticed my niece Ashley riding on a fancy wooden rocking horse. I commented on it to my sister, who told me our father had made it.
My father is a real estate appraiser who dabbles in carpentry for fun. The rocking horse is, in my opinion, his greatest accomplishment thus far. But the story gets even better.
I inquired about the rocking horse, and my dad sent me the following e-mail:
"Here is the story of the rocking horse. Sometime in March 1974, we found out we were pregnant on a Thursday or Friday. The next week, I went in the hobby shop and saw this rocking horse kit. Over the next weekend, I started putting it together. Within a few weeks, we lost that baby. We never bought anything or did anything for that baby other than this rocking horse. Every once in a while, I would work on the horse a little, put in a few screws or put on some stain. I thought I might finish the rocking horse for Carla, but somehow it was never right. Then, when we found we were going to have April, I thought I might finish it, but that never seemed right. So, I have been carrying around this partially finished rocking horse for 28 years.
"Losing that first baby hurt greatly, but if we had that first baby, he would have been born in December 1974. Carla was born in July 1975. If we had that baby, we could not have had Carla. (Carla's husband) would not have been a part of our family. We would not be having that grandbaby."
My dad went on to say that he once asked my mother what her favorite Bible verse. He said she replied without hesitation that it was Jeremiah 29:11-12: "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you."
He quoted the verse when he sent the rocking horse to my sister Carla and her new baby, with the following message:
"So, enjoy the baby and the rocking horse. Remember the Lord has plans for you also."
If that's not proof that everything happens for a reason, I don't know what is. Sometimes when bad things happen, we can't imagine that any good could ever come of it. Sometimes it takes 28 years to find the good. But it's always worth the wait.
April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.