Receiving Life As a Gift


I could barely peel myself out of bed Thursday morning. The house could have been on fire or Publisher’s Clearinghouse could have come knocking on my door and you wouldn’t have been able to get me out of bed.

I really don’t want to sound like I’m complaining but y’all, I’m tired. It’s not just the newborn kind of tired, it’s oh-my-goodness this is never ending and I must find a new solution to my big life problem of a high needs kid. I’m physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, tired.

The solution I dreamt up yesterday was that I would go back to work full time and hire an au pair/night nanny to take care of my boys. Every cent I earned would go toward having extra help. It seemed like a perfect solution when I was grumbling. I was ruminating on how I never wanted to be a nurse, a doctor, a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist (basically anything with an “ist” on the end of it), a day care worker or preschool teacher, let alone a special ed teacher. Now I feel chained to be all those things instead of simply, mom. I just want to be mom. That or let me go sit in an office where I can be alone with my own thoughts and come up with “brilliant” strategies for marketing things.

What things, Kathy?

Really?

Then I read this:

Long story short: we don’t get to make our lives up. We get to receive our lives as gifts. The story that says we should have no story except the story we chose when we had no story is a lie. To be human is to learn that we don’t get to make up our lives because we’re creatures. Christians are people who recognize that we have a Father whom we can thank for our existence. Christian discipleship is about learning to receive our lives as gifts without regret.
Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness by Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier

This certainly gave me something to think about.

It was convicting.

But even still I went about tripping through my day. (Probably because it was my four-year-old who finally got me out of bed. As you well know, that is so not a good way to start the day.) I hadn’t had a shower before big kid’s car pool ride arrived to pick him up. I was super grouchy about waiting an hour for one vaccine at the doctor’s office. Laundry, toys, dishes, you name it was sprawled all over my house and I just couldn’t keep up. Around 4:00 I had to laugh when my kid helped himself to a snack. It was just a very off day.

As soon as he got home from work my sweet husband sent me out to get a pedicure. He practically escorted me to the door. Once every six to eight weeks, I’m due. Pedicures have become my guilty pleasure. There is a young lady at the place I go regularly who was pregnant the same time as I was – she was a month or two behind me in her pregnancy. I saw her from across the room at the salon. Still not fully able to shake my funk from the day I thought, “It’s not fair that she got to have a completely typical baby and she works at this nail spa breathing in toxic fumes all day long.” I know, I know, I was comparing, judging, and sulking but it’s the honest truth.

I got to the counter to pay. She checked me out. She asked me how my baby was. She remembered that he was a boy. Then she said, “So he was born in June?” I said no that he was born in May. She said, “I had a miscarriage in May at 28 weeks.”

My jaw dropped.

How dare I.

I should know better than to compare my life to someone else’s. I don’t know the full story. I will never know the full story. Only God does.

So I go back to what Stanley Hauerwas said, “We don’t get to make our lives up. We get to receive our lives as gifts.”

Friday was hard. But much better than Thursday. I got out of bed before this one!



My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!

Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!

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