Hope, Visiting My Mom and Welcome To Holland

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope
for and expect the Lord!" Psalm 31: 24

"Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all." Emily Dickinson

Last night, I returned from visiting my "Carolina Mama!" :) And most of my immediate family including my sweet nephew and his wife and my new great-nephew, brother and his wife, sister, etc.

The story I do not really talk about is my sweet Mama being ill. It's a hard thing for all of us when any of our loved ones are ill. Though the Lord has revealed Himself to us throughout this journey.

Remember Katrina? Exactly - yes, 5 years ago. Well, it was the Spring of 2005 when our sweet mother took unexpectedly ill. It was a rapid decline that kept the Doctors working diligently to demystify. We heard words like Parkinson's, Alzeheimer's, and then "we need to do a brain biopsy."

This "road" started out as a hard sprint and progressed slowly down a winding road that seems much more like a marathon today. My sister would know, she is amazingly our mother's primary Care Giver. We are blessed! Please pray for our mother, sister, us.... (see end of post)


by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome To Holland".

"Holland?!?" you say, "What do you mean "Holland"??? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy"

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills...Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned".

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things...about Holland.

... so this journey is our Holland. You know, we didn't "sign up for this." And yet does one ever "sign up" to lose a parent or two? A baby? A Spouse? Do we "sign up" for illness or loss or pain?

Yet, I always ask myself, if this is His will? If this is His "assignment" that He signed me up for - why would I want it any other way?

As Third Day sings, "My hope is in you, show me Your way...!" Thinks for your thoughts and prayers. Anyone else hearing "Welcome to Holland?"

Warmly, Carolina Mama


Barbara Frank said...

Lovely post (found via Twitter). I have a son with Down syndrome as Ms. Kingsley does, so I'm familiar with that essay. But your take on it is also true. May God bless you and your family, and especially your Mama.

Lisa said...

I find myself making repeat trips to Holland. Some of the visits have been just devastating (losing my dad to cancer; losing my son to heart defects)and others have caused much panic (my youngest son's heart defects; my sons' Autism diagnoses; my mom's recent heart attack)but turned out ok once I learned to speak dutch. :o) I would have never, ever chose to visit if I had any say in the matter, but oh, the lessons, the journey, I would have missed!

Prayers to your family as you adjust your itinerary!

Lisa @All That and a Box of Rocks
(LisalynSchaffer) on Twitter