Meet Melanie. She is Beauty Revived.
This story is made up of lots of words (800 to be exact) and I’ll even share some important numbers and even dates. Please know the words matter, they really really do. They are how I tell Melanie and Leon’s story. The significance of numbers and dates matter, they are how we organize the how, the when’s and they whys, but the greatest message I have to share is a symbol. It’s a dash.
An important date:
January 7th, 2006. The day Melanie and Leon became husband and wife. “The most fun day of my life” Melanie would share. This day Melanie would say “ I do” to her 6’7 brown eyed, black haired former football player prince! A man she described to me as a glass is half-full kind of guy. Her 6 foot prince whom she called “All puppies and rainbows”. He was kind beyond belief, loyal, genuine and honest. She looked forward to growing their family and building a life together.
A year after marrying, they welcomed their first son, Brodie. Melanie was a little nervous to tell Leon about their first bundle of joy since he wasn’t necessarily planned. However God had it all planned out AND Leon was ecstatic. He read the sports section to Melanie’s growing belly every night, counting down the days to meet his little guy. The day that Brodie came into this world, Melanie fell in love with Leon all over again. She shared “Leon, now a dad, was the happiest and the most proud dad you’d ever meet.” Two years later they welcomed their second son Carson. Life was good, they were saving for a home, in love, and even talking about trying for a daughter down the road. However, God needed Leon and in 2012, Leon was called home. But Melanie never really said to me she lost him, in fact, she shared after he was called home she felt his presence often and just when she needed it. She knew he was there, holding her through this transition. This isn’t to say it was easy or Melanie didn’t struggle, she most definitely did. However, as the days, weeks and months passed she felt Leon holding her hand and giving her little gifts. The first gift; another child. The day of Leon’s funeral Melanie found out she was pregnant. She told me “Leon knew”. He knew what I needed. It was like he was promising me he’d always be with me, similar to the promise God made to his people when he said he’d never send another flood. There was a rainbow; a sign. Melanie named her third son Noah, one of many signs and gifts she believed God and Leon gave her.
Another gift, a poem. A collection of words, but those words became meaningful. Life changing was how Melanie described it me. So much, that Melanie wrote the author of the poem, Linda Ellis to tell her what her poem had meant to her and her future.
A collection of words:
The Dash written by Linda Ellis has a beautiful message. She reminds us it’s not the date we born or the date we are called home that matters, it’s what we do in between. Our dash.
From a symbol a cause is born:
Melanie knew the date was not long enough on the right side of Leon’s dash, but she knew his dash was powerful. She knew she needed to honor, in a way extend his dash, by honoring his life. To ensure Leon’s kind and loving heart would continue to touch lives.
Leon had given Melanie so much hope and all in a matter of minutes, driving down, the road she thought of Operation Lotus. Melanie knew what she would call her mission before she could fully explain what was inspiring her. It was that HOPE; and she knew she wanted to restore hope to others who had experienced a loss or tragedy. In the years since Operation Lotus began, Melanie has organized school supply drives to honor a teacher who passed away. She meets with families, connecting and coming together to honor the lives of the person dear to them in a way that fully honors the life they lead. She has helped a local victim of a brutal attack live out her dream to visit Disney. She helped a young man relocate back home after loosing his partner. The list goes on and on. Every day that Melanie pours into others and helps give them hope, she extends Leon dash, she lives a fuller dash of her own and inspires us to live our own to it’s fullest.
To read Linda Ellis’s The Dash, please visit her website: Linda-Ellis.com
Learn more about Operation Lotus at : https://www.facebook.com/operationlotus