Wednesday, October 9, 2013

{31 for 21} Day Nine.

The other day, I spent some time with a friend who is pregnant with a little girl with Down syndrome and a heart defect.

"Were you still sad after Ellie was born?" she asked.

NICU baby.

I answered with a "mostly no," explaining that the sadness tended to resurface around surgeries or skills Ellie simply was really late to develop (ahem, walking).

But the question has stuck with me.

I wish I had a fuller answer then, but I'm trying for a fuller answer now.

The day after our chat, I went for a long run.  Having deleted Audible temporarily to make room for filming National Board videos, I got to the end of my weekly "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" episode and found myself with 8 miles left and a phone to carry, but no audiobook.  I still had a few songs on my iPhone, most of which were old and from Young Life work crew ages ago.  I'm not sure why, but this particular playlist is the one that migrates from phone to phone.

And I heard the old camp favorite, "Walk Down This Mountain."

A phrase hit me.

"If you offer up/Your broken cup/You will taste the meaning of this life."

(Old Young Life friends, you're welcome.  I know you'll be singing all day long.)

There are times I am still sad about Down syndrome.  Those times are rare.  Ellie is not sad about her disability, her differences, or her delays.  Ellie runs (or bear crawls, stomps, or dances) full speed ahead.  Ellie is her own person.  Ellie is joyful.

Her first fall.  She has an updated Bears outfit this year.

I get sad when I think about what Ellie can't do, but the list of "can'ts" is pretty short, and her life is pretty full.  I anticipate things staying that way, knowing that most of the "can'ts" are simply "not yets."

But I remember feeling broken.  I remember her broken heart, although it's not something I think of every day.

Not sad hasn't meant always easy.  I spent a lot of nights in tears before God, asking "why?"

I don't have a good answer.  And I'm certainly not saying Ellie is broken, aside from her heart.

I am saying that as I've offered up my own brokenness, Ellie has given me a taste of the meaning of this life.

We are not in control.
We experience love.
And grace.
And joy.

At church this weekend,  our pastor mentioned that hope cannot occur without wanting something.  Faith cannot occur unless there is something we cannot see.  He went on to suggest that asking God why each particular instance of hardship or evil occurs is a fruitless exercise.

"Just look around and you'll see the very face of God."

We continue to offer up our own brokenness, and we continue to grow closer to a God who loves us.

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  1. I never really thought about how hope cannot occur without wanting something, but it's true and sort of enlightening. I never was sad when my bear cub was born, but she's now four and a half and I do get sad sometimes now when I see her frustrated at not being able to do things that her two-year-old sister can do or does. I think my goal is to make sure that she and her sisters do not see her as broken either.


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