A Mobile for Tinsley: a Parable

Since my son was born, his mother and I have talked much about how we have seen God’s provision for him and how He has orchestrated our lives to make way for Tinsley and his unique challenges. I have often threatened to share that wider story, but perhaps for now a smaller story within that story will be a place to start.

Nearly 2 months before he was born, Hidi’s mother threw us a baby shower. Among all the gifts there was one that was decidedly unique. First I must say that my wife and I really appreciate thrift stores. I am constantly surprised at how often I can find name brand clothing for just pennies on the dollar; some even with the original tags. Well, our friends Denise and Patrick presented us with a mobile for the crib they picked up at a thrift shop. The catch was that it had no stand or arm to attach to the crib to hang it. “It could be a fun hat,” Patrick suggested.

Cut to a few weeks later. We went to Babies ‘R Us and asked if we could buy just an arm for a mobile. After almost laughing at the notion, the sales clerk had an idea. She took us to the back of the store and opened a large drawer in which were stowed various and sundry pieces for mobile arms. After digging through the drawer she found pieces that fit together to complete the thrift store mobile!

I am sure that plenty of babies live just fine without a mobile. There are so many crazy contraptions to distract babies in their cribs it seems like life is not complete without one. Well, not really. In fact I am not sure we had planned on getting one.

20120229-000847.jpgCut again to September 2011. Tinsley had spent more than half of his short life in the hospital. After much discussion and agonizing we agreed to a second surgery that would correct his reflux problem and install a feeding tube directly into his stomach through his abdominal wall. After the surgery he came out without the tube that ran from his nose into his stomach; his own posture showed how relieved he was not to have the tape on his face and the irritation in his sinus.

The nurses and doctors demonstrated how we would feed him by suspending a syringe above him as he lay in bed so that he could burp (something that he could no longer do on his own) and feed on a continuous drip. He would always have to have a syringe suspended above him in this manner, at least for the next several weeks.

Suddenly it clicked: God had provided a way. The pieces that both figuratively came together to form that mobile made a way for Tinsley to have what he needed.

I know we could have bought a mobile. I know that we could have found some other way to suspend a syringe above him with a bit of string. But to have something so special, to have the love of friends and strangers come together to make that simple kind of provision was absolutely beautiful.

And still is.

I write this months later because I am reminded every night of that simple provision, much the same way that bread and wine remind us of yet another and so much greater provision. God knows what he is doing, even though we have no earthly idea. We did not know that my son would have these challenges at the baby shower or that day at Babies ‘R Us. We had no way of knowing that Tinsley would be so challenged in such a basic way as his ability to eat.

Yet there he is, lying in bed with that feeding tube in his hand, swinging that syringe in the air and spinning that mobile with eyes like saucers and a grin that would melt any heart. How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear. How perfect are His gifts; how precious are His deeds.

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About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

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