Friday, May 25, 2007

My dirty little secret

I passed a mother and her daughter in our waiting room this morning. The child has a syndrome of one sort or another, leaving her distorted and limp and broken in so many ways.

And here's the icky part: As I passed them, I thought to myself "I'm so glad I don't have a child like that."

I hate that. I am ashamed of it. Because I know that as much as I love my daughter, who is bright and strong and beautiful, that mother loves her daughter -- and maybe even more, although I can't imagine how. Then I remember that two of my dearest friends had, and sadly lost, a child who might have been equally "broken," and I cringe to think that I would have felt the same way about her. I don't think I would have. I pray that I wouldn't have. (I hate that I might have.)

My only redemption, small and pitiful as it is, is remembering that when I see these children face-to-face, and I talk with their families and come to understand their lives just a little bit better, that feeling goes away and is fully replaced with compassion. Too many times I have to explain to a mother why yet another piece of her child is broken beyond repair, and that's when I wish I had elected to be a house painter or grocery bagger or any other job that isn't capable of hurting somebody. But then sometimes, when I'm lucky, I get to make a child's life just a little bit better or just a little more hopeful. And that's what makes everything else worth it.

I don't know what I would do if I had a child who was so physically and mentally impaired. I guess in the long run, I would love it and the rest would take care of itself. Still, I hope I never have to find out. God forgive me for not being a stronger person than that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One mystery solved

Among the vast unknowns about my child, this much is clear:

She twists the top off the Oreo, eats the middle, then asks for "moh!.......... peece."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

So our small but mighty community ("Church of the Living Room," as my brother calls it) came over today to plant the garden. All but the Beans, who were missed, pitched in to rake and dig and plant and water and pray. It was a lovely morning -- cool, sunny, relaxed -- just right all the way around I'd say.

Yes, it was nice not to have to face those 365 square feet on our own, and it was freeing to realize that it wouldn't be perfect (and that's OK). Yes, it was a joy to see the kids eager to help. Yes, it will be a long summer with lots of sweat and work and disappointments and surprises. And yes, it will all be worth it.

It would be easy to lose the lessons in the both the excitement and the trudgery. Now I'm not saying that there's deep meaning in everything we're doing (sometimes a weed is just a weed) but I think if we let it, this is something concrete that we can all latch onto as a starting point for the messier business of God, faith, doubt, learning, growing, trusting, accountability... Not just for the kids, either -- there's opportunity here for all of us to take something out of the experience.

At least I sure hope it works that way.

I'm really proud of us. This is probably the most demanding thing we've asked of ourselves and that's good. We need to demand more of ourselves and this should be a good exercise in discipline and stick-to-itiveness. A good thing for the kids to witness and to be a part of, too.

Rob just came in and said "Church made me so happy today."

Yep, I'd say that about sums it up.