tonight jon and i made it out on a date. we needed it. it was last minute but it couldn't have been more perfect. as soon as we sat down, i looked at the table across from us and said to jon, "that's stephanie nielson's sister." he couldn't see her from when he was sitting, but i recognized her from the today show clip.
the whole time through dinner we were trying to decide whether or not to say anything. we didn't want to bother them, but at the same time, what are the chances? when they got up to leave, jon stopped them and asked if she was stephanie's sister. jon introduced himself and she didn't recognize the name. jon went on to say he did a benefit by shooting family photos and she stopped him mid-sentence. she said, "you're the photographer?!?".
we continued talking and she asked how he knew stephanie. when jon told her that he didn't, she teared up a bit. we all talked for a few minutes more...us about our kids and them about the nielson's recovery. they asked how september was with 19 shoots in 19 days in 3 states. i was able to tell her that i was a bit apprehensive when it all started, but that it had turned into one of the most poignant and sweet experiences we've had as a family. then we all teared up. there were no words to express our mutual feelings of gratitude and love.
they all shook hands as they were leaving and then she came back and gave me a hug. that hug made all of those 19 days of blissful craziness worth it. what a wonderful, loving Father in Heaven we have to allow such tender mercies in our lives. i always want to remember the faith and strength of this family, and especially of these sisters. keep praying for them.