This is a huge reason I started writing "Thankful Thursday" posts years ago. Not because I was a naturally thankful person, but because I wasn't.
Although I have developed more of a grateful heart over the years, it's still not always my reflex when I see the circumstances. This "detour" in our son's life has certainly given me a lot of opportunity to focus on what we ARE thankful for. Doing that helps me see God's hand of protection and provision. His tangible acts of LOVE toward us. Even if it's finding a Starbucks coffee machine in the hospital cafe after a mostly sleepless night in a hospital recliner (pretty sure the angels sang this morning when that happened).
There's no doubt that we need people in our lives we can be real with. People who we can text and say, "Wow. This really sucks. All of it. In every way." And not be judged for it. I'm blessed to have those people. I'm thankful for THEM, even if not for the circumstances that we share. Because sometimes that's not being a pessimist, it's just reality.
But over these last couple of months I keep going back to something that won't leave me.
How much of the JOY of life have I missed, wishing for things to be different?
Everyone tells you when you get married to enjoy the time together before you have kids. And those 11 months were amazing (Ha!). We still talk about how fun it was. Fixing up that cute little house. Making the Coach breakfast every morning, even when I started throwing up before and after cooking it (thanks for that, Son #1). Putting in a yard and garden. Decorating the nursery.
Then everyone tells you to enjoy when they are little because it goes so quickly. But when you are in the MIDDLE of it, it can feel so overwhelming. I look back, thankful for our 9 babies (one miscarriage) in 11 years. But those 11 years were HARD. All kinds of hard. And when you are there, it's difficult to see beyond it.
At some point I did start enjoying it more, laughing more, letting myself just be in the moment - whatever craziness it was - because I started seeing it slipping away. Precious days of all of us together. So short.
Then they start leaving home and OH MY HEART I miss them. Still. Two and a half years later I still miss those days of everyone being home.
Of course now, my heart physically hurts wishing for six months ago when everything was so normal. So school and football and volleyball and homework and crock pot dinners and laundry and teenagers everywhere, NORMAL. I ache for it. I loved it. I really did enjoy it - being a wife and momma is all I've ever wanted to do.
It's made me realize that I haven't always appreciated even the happy things in life. When things have been good, really good? I'd find myself not fully enjoying it because I anticipated it ending. I would miss those moments, just because I knew that when they were over I would be sad, so I'd be sad before they even were over. Crazy, I know. I have issues, obviously.
And the hard things? I'd miss fully being present then, too, because I'd just wish to be on the other side SO badly. Maybe that's more normal. But now looking back, those "hard" things often were the "good" things. God loves us so very much. I just want to be content and thankful, regardless.
So today I'm purposing anew to remember Jim Elliot's "Wherever you are, be all there." Someday I pray that the "there" will be on the other side of this cancer detour with a healthy boy and a new normal. I pray for that. I long for that.
But were not there, yet. So I'm also purposing to be all "here". In a place I wouldn't choose, in a fight I don't want, in circumstances that are so far from what I would wish for. Being thankful. Being present. Allowing myself to feel it all, to work through the emotions, to be honest about it... but also remembering to see God's love and tender care for us in each small thing. He's always faithful. He's always good. No matter what comes I know those are truths I can stand on.
Keep praying for our boy. We love you all so very much.
Granddad got his head shaved when we got home from Houston. Love these two!