Usually, these things are small, like the dragonflies. But this one is pretty big. I've known about it for a while, but I did a lot of thinking about it today, and I had been waiting to get some good pictures before blogging about it.
A few months ago, I blogged about how we were having trouble finding a church to be married in, because ours seats thousands of people, and we're having a small wedding. Lots of BIG churches will have a smaller chapel in addition to the worship area for things like weddings and funerals, but unfortunately ours doesn't.
We settled on a church at Boystown. For those of you who don't know, Boystown is a "town" located inside of Omaha that helps at risk youth. It was started in 1917 by a Catholic priest, that was friends with my great grandfather, a Presbyterian minister. It began as a boarding house for homeless boys, and has grown into a huge campus for at-risk youth or kids/teens with behavior problems. The kids live with surrogate parents and several other kids in houses on campus, learn skills, attend school, church, etc. On campus there are 2 churches, a Catholic one, and a Protestant one. We will be married in the Protestant Chapel
After we had chosen and booked the church for our wedding day, I drove through Boystown with my mom to show her the church, because she had only been to the Catholic one in hte past. As we were driving down the little street that goes past the church, we noticed a little garden on the right side (the church is on the left). It is set below the street, so you have to go down some steps to get to it. In the middle of it is a big statue. Mom asked me if I knew what that was, and I told her I had no idea, but it looked like an angel.
To backtrack a little bit... while I was pregnant with Olivia, Kurt and I did a lot of talking about how to involve her in our big day. We knew that she would be much too little to really do anything, but if her dad and I were getting married, then it would be an important day for our entire family, not just for us, and we wanted to include her. She would have been wearing a sweet little dress, and carried down the aisle by my sister or another family member. One of the hardest things about planning our wedding is knowing that it is going to be completely different than if she had lived.
So back to that statue. Here it is...
It's the Angel of Hope. Here's what their website says about it...
"The Christmas Box Angel Statue, or the Angel of Hope, as it is sometimes referred to, was introduced to the world in the book The Christmas Box, a worldwide bestseller and hit television movie by author Richard Paul Evans. In the book, a woman mourns the loss of her child at the base of an angel monument. Though the story is mostly fiction, the angel monument once existed but was lost in the 1984 Salt Lake City flood. A new bronze statue was commissioned by the author in response to reports that grieving parents were seeking out the angel as a place to grieve and heal. The first angel monument was dedicated in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 6, 1994. Since this time, nearly 100 other angel monuments have been dedicated across the country and many other sites are being planned.
The Angel of Hope statue is made by Ortho and Jared Fairbanks, a father and son team. In its wing is inscribed the word HOPE. The four foot tall bronze statue of a little girl angel with arms reaching outward provides comfort to those who grieve.All around the statue is a sidewalk made of bricks. Bricks can be purchased in memory of a lost child, and are inscribed with their name, dates, and a message. Kurt and I are planning on doing it for Olivia's first birthday.
It stands as a symbol of hope for all parents and loved ones who have experienced the death of a child, no matter what age."
How perfect, right?
I took a picture of the inscription on the back, but if I make it big enough to read, it's too wide enough to post here. But it says, "This monument was dedicated as a place of reflection and healing to honor the memory of all children who live forever in the hearts of those who love them. In the angel's right wing is the word HOPE".
I don't really believe in coincidences, I believe that God places us where he wants us for a purpose.... and this is just too big of a "coincidence" to be a coincidence
Here's the view of our church from the statue...
Because the Boystown campus is so gorgeous, we've been planning on having our outdoor pictures taken there before our ceremony. I would love it if we could have some taken in the park with the angel in the background. I don't know how that will look, I'll have to talk to our photographer, but I have been trying to come up with a way to have something in one of our wedding photographs that represents Olivia, and I think that would be perfect.
So what are the chances, that out of all of the churches in Omaha (there must be hundreds), and out of all of the parks for a statue to be placed in, that this particular statue and this particular church would be placed right across from eachother, and that we would randomly choose this church to be married in, and discover the statue afterwards?
That, my friends, is a God thing!