So Barbara is doing a blog carnival as she does every year and this year I missed it because I was too busy stressing myself out over the purchase of equipment. I’d had a story in mind that I really liked, though, so I wanted to share it even though I missed the official carnival.
I’ve already shared with you guys that the days after Charlie’s birth were hard. I think it was even harder when I brought him home five weeks later. The hustle and bustle and distraction of the hospital was gone and it was just me and my tiny baby whose future was entirely unknown.
I wanted to go see a counselor and to do that I needed to go see my family doctor and get a referral, so I went to the base to get my referral. Visits to see a base doctor are never quick, so I sat and waited for quite a bit. People would come by and coo at my tiny, sleeping babe and all I could think was “get me out of here.” I was hard-core into the bargaining phase of grief at that point. I would think things like “just let him suck his thumb, God, and I know he’ll be OK.” I also asked God to send me a sign constantly. I was asking and asking and asking–it’s like I wanted God to call me on the telephone and say, “Look, he’s gonna be just fine, OK?” So there I was, waiting, asking God again to send me a sign and then this guy walks by.
You know how some people talk really loud on their cell phones? Well this guy was doing that and this is what he said:
You need to stop asking yourself why this happened to you and you need to start asking yourself why did God bring this to me?
That was the message I needed to hear.
You know, God didn’t do anything to me. He didn’t stand on a cloud, point a thunderbolt at me and declare that I’d be getting a disabled child because I missed church on a Sunday or cheated on a test in the eleventh grade. If that were the case, then surely there would be a lot more disabled children in the world. I think the universe is big and awesome and completely unfathomable. I think that trying to rationalize everything is a small view and it undermines the power of God. I remember being a kid and pressing my face up against the television (wow, I sound like a weirdo),and all I could see were bits of red, and green and blue–no distinct image. I think life is like that. All we can see is the little bit that we’re closest to and the big pictures is obscured. We’re just little specks of color in a larger masterpiece.
But I’m not trying to make you believe what I believe. Regardless of world view, I think that we all know that sometimes bad things happen to good people and it’s troubling. What I’m trying to say is that I had lost track of my faith. I’d started trying to make sense out of a world that is entirely too complex for me to fathom. If I was going to personalize it, then I needed to change my view. Stop wondering why things happen and start wondering what can be done with them. What could I do with my current situation? How could I use it to grow and become better? I needed to stop putting a judgment on something that I hadn’t really experienced. I was frightened to death of disability and really, I knew nothing about it.
I’m not saying that I immediately had an answer. I don’t know if I have the answer now. What I do know is that I needed a change in my point of view. I needed to stop looking at Charlie’s medical problems as a punishment and start looking at them as a new opportunity. I could rise to the occasion or not. I could become better or I could stagnate. The guy on the cell phone wanted somebody to change their perspective–to stop judging something as negative–I needed to do the same thing.
I still try to bargain with God sometimes–I’m only human–but it’s less fervent now, less panicked. This thing I have going with Charlie, it’s our thing. It’s an opportunity for me as well. Being his mother has made me stronger, more assertive, and less worried about the small things. I believe our journey has made me more tenacious, more faithful, and less complacent. I am proud of the person I have become and sometimes, I feel like I’m growing as much as he is.