May 18, 2016



Today is May 17th, a day that is etched in my memory, doubtful that it will ever be forgotten or go unnoticed. Four years ago today May 17th was the day my grandson Jesse perfect and curious as he was fell into our backyard pond at 10 months of age, drowned, and was rescued by his mother. His survival has been called a miracle by so many as Jesse somehow clung to the tiniest golden thread of life and survived to be the boy his is today soon to turn five years old. One year ago May 17th was the birth date of another grandson, our boy Calvin, the child of our youngest daughter and her husband. May 17th had redeemed itself in the unbelievable timing of this event as we all experienced a profound paradygm shift. Once again a date that we will hold close to our hearts for the beautiful, joyous and miraculous occasion that it was.


But today was a day that honestly speaking was full of trouble. My wife and I sat exhausted in our living room between the end of our work day and sitting down to a take-out dinner. The day had not been kind to us. We could feel the emotional bruising we had suffered and the battering that had seemed to test us as each hour passed. How could a single day offer so many issues that all seemed insurmountable. It was like a barrage of punches that left us face down on the mat after a brutal twelve rounder. We sat staring out the front window of our home and thought about all the family fires we had put out this day and wondered what  was so special about May 17th that seemed to bring so much of the good and bad of life to the surface and into both our lives. It was just then that a car pulled up in our driveway and a man whom I had never seen before got out and headed up our walkway. His two young sons following right on his heels as his wife brought up their toddler behind them.


As I answered the door this stranger introduced himself to me with a question, "Excuse me, sorry to bother you sir but is this the home of the little boy Baby Jesse who..." Yes it is", I interrupted. "Are you his grandfather?" "Yes I am, but Jesse is hardly a baby any more. He is about to turn five." The man began to tell me the reason for this surprise visit. His sons had had a birthday last week but this year the family decided they would do something different than past years when all the birthday toys would too soon end up broken or abandoned. This year they would decide to receive money instead of toys and the boys would offer it to our Jesse to contribute to his therapies.


May 17th had done it again. I explained to the father that it was this very day four years ago that Jesse had changed all our lives forever.  The father was unaware of the significance of this date and was amazed, almost shocked that they had chosen today to deliver their gift to our door. Once again it reminded us of the great compassion and yes, great love that mankind has the capacity to express. As we stood in our doorway and spoke I knew that my wife could hear our conversation but was not joining us, and I knew the reason. She would be standing out of site as she heard our words, her heart racing as tears flowing like rivers down her face. Another intense but healing moment had finally come in this day. This was the Carnevali family who had made the twenty minute drive to our front door to make their offering. While their toddler (whose name escapes me) kept mom chasing after him a toddlers do, the two boys their smiling faces shining like beacons of hope stood completely aware of and committed to their mission. I wondered though if they truly understood the impact of their unselfish giving.


I spoke directly to them both. "Matthew and Jonathan, you boys have really done something special you know. This money is going to go a long way to help Jesse be better because he is always trying his hardest to get better." I was forced to cut short my little inspirational talk to them as I could feel my throat began to tighten as I looked down into their excited eyes. I knew if I continued my emotions would rob me of the strength I needed to hold back the tears that would be sure to come. Then in those silent seconds of my hesitation Mrs. Carnevali said, "It's not much, it's just $600."


Is it coincidence? Some strange universal magic, or another reminder that the God who sees every sparrow that falls also saw the wounds this day had left on us and once again supplied all our need. No it's not just $600., it's so much more. It's another investment into Jesse's ongoing therapies. It recharged us. It restored us. It dried all our tears. It's another May 17th that we will not soon forget., one of survival and love and miracles.


Bob Arrigo

Please reload