On Friday, September 22, 2000, at 7:45 PM, in Camp Hill, PA, a little boy named Isaac Andrew McCleaf left the comfort of his mother’s womb and entered into this world. It was a beautiful sunny day, with the temperature in the 70’s. Isaac weighed 6 lbs., 11 ozs. and was 19 inches long. He was full of life from day one and never let up for the rest of his life on this earth.
It seemed from early on that Isaac was fascinated with trains. It wasn’t too difficult for relatives and friends to know what to give him for a present (and just in case you weren’t sure he was more than willing to provide you with a list!). During 2010, he really developed an interest in Civil War history. He enjoyed reading about the battles and was interested in understanding how the faith of men like Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson guided them during the war. Isaac was also interested in the character of Col. Joshua Chamberlin. We were blessed to be able to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park on three different occasions during the spring and summer of 2010 and to also visit the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA in February 2011.
We probably made the most parenting mistakes with Isaac since he was our firstborn (not that we have parenting totally figured out yet!). We believe that God gave him a resilient spirit to compensate for our parenting shortfalls. His resilience really shined through his struggle in overcoming his health ailments, especially his asthma. He approached his allergy treatments with such bravery and was an example of courage to me. I remember how forgiving he was towards me when I messed up as a father.
Isaac believed in Jesus Christ. He enjoyed listening to Bible stories either read by us or on media. He also liked to listen to the Jonathan Park series from Vision Forum. At one time, Isaac wanted to be a creation paleontologist and defend the Biblical creation account against the theory of evolution. I remember talking to him about current events and he declared about wanting to be president someday so that he could set things straight in this country. While this was not God’s mission for him in this life, he certainly left a lasting impact on us and others. We thank everyone who has shared some incredible stories over the past five months about how Isaac’s life and death has impacted them. We give all the glory to God!
We don’t know if birthdays are celebrated in heaven, but we wish you a happy 11th birthday, son. We miss you so very much and can’t wait to see you again someday. We love you and thank God for all that He has taught us through your life.
Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. (2Sa 12:20-23, emphasis mine)