Monday, April 2, 2012

You said "Hello" in the most special way!

For your 5th birthday we decided to take a family trip to San Antonio.  Not only is this your 5th birthday, but each day of the week fell just as it did the year you died.  We relived each day and the memories of that week.  It was an emotional week.

We drove to Austin on Thursday so we could watch the bats fly out from the Congress Street bridge and eat famous Austin food.  Our plan was to get up early and drive into San Antonio and spend your birthday at Sea World - of course wearing our We remember Adrian Joseph "A.J." MEND shirts.  Friday morning we got up and got on the road....and I-35 was a parking lot!

After sitting through traffic for a bit we decided to exit and go to the Natural Bridge Caverns and just go to Sea World Saturday instead.   We detoured through the winding country roads and arrived at the Caverns about 15 minutes before the next tour left.  We hustled in to buy tickets and get the boys to the potty.  The standard announcement "The next tour will be leaving in XX minutes, please meet your tour guide out on the terrace" was being made.  We were sitting on the terrace looking at the beautiful scenery around us as yet another announcement was made...although this one was slightly different.  "The next tour will be leaving in 5 minutes, please meet your tour guide, A.J., on the terrace."

My heart skipped a beat and my eyes welled with tears...was my imagination playing tricks on me?  No, about that moment a young 21ish year-old young man walked up with a name tag reading A.J.  I began trembling...this was not part of our plan...we were supposed to be at Sea World today...and we're not, we are here with a tour guide who has YOUR name.

I could barely contain myself.  I walked up to him and told him through the tears "Can I take a picture of your name tag?  I have a son who died 5 years ago today...and his name is A.J. and we were not supposed to be here, we were supposed to be at Sea World, and we are here instead...and God knew you'd be our guide...and we're here...and not there!!"  He smiled at me with an expression of "OH WOW" and read my shirt "Amber Zuckerman remembering Adrian Joseph "A.J." and said "My name is Andrew James".  He instantly ushered Eli and Alex up to the front of the tour group and we began.

A.J. took special care to point out the awesome cool stalagmites giving us a rather VIP experience.  After we were done, I was in the gift shop and A.J. came up to then it had all sunk in.  "So let me get this straight, you weren't supposed to be here today?  You were supposed to go to Sea World, but instead God directed you here?  With me as your tour guide?  Can I ask what happened to your son?"  So as I stood there sharing your story with this young man, all I could think about is how amazing God is.  It is your 5th birthday...somehow we survived 5 years...and God keeps showing us signs that renew our trust, our faith, and our hope....

...and once again, God detoured our plan - for His plan!!!