The Brave Little Soul

I received this story a few days after Max passed away. It was sent by a friend at Childrens Hospital. I read it once, that week, and filed it away because I wasn't ready for it. There were too many emotions washing over me. It resurfaced in my thoughts this week as I continue to read your comments about how Max's life has changed yours. How this little boy, my son, has made an impact on so many people - many who never even met him (which then brings to mind this):

Children with cancer are like candles in the wind who accept the possibility that they are in danger of being extinguished by a gust of wind from nowhere and yet, they flicker and dance to remain alive, their brilliance challenges the darkness and dazzles those of us who watch their light. - Unknown

The Brave Little Soul by John Alessi
Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, “Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?”

God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people’s hearts.” The little soul was confused. “What do you mean,” he asked. God replied, “Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone.”

The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, “The suffering soul unlocks the love in people’s hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this – it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer – to unlock this love – to create this miracle – for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people’s hearts! I want to create that miracle!"

God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you.”

God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, “Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed.”

Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God’s strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people’s hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys – some regained lost faith – many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

And what better to end a post than some random pictures of our brave little soul...

Father's Day/Daddy's Birthday 2008

"Baby Jack loves my red hat."

Cousin Chase is cool.


Anonymous said...

I am a true believer in this... All one needs to do is look into Max's eyes and the miracle is obvious. Melis and Andy assisting this beautiful soul through his brave journey is a miracle as well. Max has changed my life on many levels these last four years and I hope one day I get to look into his eyes again and say "Thank you Max. I love you." Carmen Luna

San Diego Mom said...

My friend's mother could not believe in this thought. Buddhism couldn't give her a peace nor a reason, neither could Christianity. She suffered so long after the death of her daughter, asking why, why, why.

I don't know if I can put myself in your shoes and think how I will bring myself back together if I had to go through your ordeal. But every time some one close passed away, I always go back to a verse in Ecclesiastes.

I hope you will find peace in your mind, though shaded by sadness, and would be able to say "a time to be born, and a time to die", and that Max had a great life here on earth, however short and brought out so much love in so many people's heart.

As always, hugs and kisses from Nor Cal.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast way stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain has the worker from his toil?
I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man's mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Anonymous said...

When I gave blood last month in Max's memory, the nurse and I talked about Max the whole time. She commented to me that children like Max with so much love and life are the brightest of candles that light the way for others. Max was our light and like him we need to live with that same love and vitality. The nurse and I also spoke about God's purpose and Max, and that it was no accident that he came into my life. God touched me through Max - what an awesome concept that is!

Max, our brave little soul, did change lives. It was good. The world is a better place because of him. Max was a miracle. God is pleased, and I'm sure welcomed Max with His everlasting arms saying, "Well done, my good & faithful brave little soul." xolisa

Shannon B. said...

That is a beautiful, touching story. I'm glad you were able to pull it out and share it with us. I'm going to read this to my kids...I hope it will help them understand & maybe open a window for them. xo, Shannon

Anonymous said...

Dear Andy and Melissa,

Thank you for sharing this story with us all. It is beautiful.

At first as I was reading, I tried to hold back my tears. It's difficult to set aside one's vulnerability and to allow yourself to experience the moment--feelings and all. Then my emotions got the best of me, and I find myself now with tears trickling down my cheeks.

Once again, our brave little soul Max is reaching out and reminding me to open up that goodness and love in my heart. And just maybe to not fear those tears that need to be let go of.

Thank you Max. I see you in so many things each and every day.

With love,

Anonymous said...

Nicely Done, thanks for the Hope...


Anonymous said...

Awesome....Beautiful...and True! Max was a loving, gentle little soul. He touched so many lives and still does. I know with every fiber of my body that God welcomed him with loving arms into paradise..a place none of us has any concept of. Max's purpose was done here on earth...and what a magnificant job he did. Everyone who was in Max's life was destined to be...no accident. Everyday I think of that sweet smile and the twinkle in his eyes...how estatic he must be in heaven. Thank you for sharing your precious son with all of us. xo Linny

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Max's sweet little smile ...Max went through so much, but he never lost his smile, what a boy. I am touched by his innocence, and mostly by his courage and grace. Thanks for sharing the light.


Anonymous said...

Dear Melissa and Andy,

We took Kira trick-or-treating tonight. As Kira and her friends ran from door to door, I thought about Max (one of her friends was a character from Star Wars) and you - wondering how you're doing with the first holiday without Max to share it with.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story that helps to make a little sense out of something that seems so unfair. Max was so brave and his light reached so many. Still thinking about and praying for your family here in northen Ca.

Anonymous said...

Max, the brave little soul, made the world a better place to live in. I think of him every day and think of you. He was so blessed to have your family to guide him, care for him, and most of all love him while he did his important work here on earth. You must be so proud of him. Peace

East Coast Friend

Anonymous said...

Your brave little soul will always be yours, and will always be watching over your family. D

Anonymous said...

Its so fitting that you posted this story, as it was written after the passing of another brave NB Warrior, Liam Kane. John's son was one of Liam's closest friends. I am sure that Max and Liam are looking out for each other, and I know that they are both looking down on all of us. May Peace find you and keep you, and may the beautiful spirit of your little boy stay in your hearts forever.

Anonymous said...

Thank you... for several things - for posting to the Brown family here in Clyde, I know they sincerely appreciate the support in this incredibly difficult time in their lives. As an added benefit, so many people read what is written there and grow from it. Also, thank you for sharing this website and beautiful story about your precious son and the brave soul, I will pray for his brave soul and your family's peace. I am so touched by both stories and know that I will use them in my counseling practice. May God continue to lay his healing hands on your wounded heart. Godspeed.

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