Clearly, we have been enjoying our summer, because writing has certainly been on the back burner! Just when I get used to a new “routine,” it’s time to move on to another one. Somehow, this summer has gone by faster than any I can remember, and I don’t like it! I really do SAVOR these days, thanks to sweet Sara. 🙂 We have spent the summer going swimming, going to camps, therapy a couple of days a week, reading, seeing movies, VBS, and actually enjoying some down time.
The boys went to church camp for the first time this year, where the theme was, “Glow in the Dark.” They learned about shining their light in this world, and learned their key verse in Matthew 5:16. They’ve been singing all of the songs they learned since then, and they were excited to get to sing some of them again at VBS! Of course, now I’ve been singing the songs as well, and learning some of the moves! I love how excited they get and how many ways they can think of to be a light to others in this world. The theme of being a light has really stuck with me, too.
I’ll go ahead and confess that in my stage of life, I find it is very easy to get “down” about a lot of things going on in the world and in my own home. If I look for them, I can find a lot of little things that I wish were different. I can go through periods of feeling “cheated” out of the life I thought I wanted, envious of others who seem to have it so much “easier” than I do, or just worn out from all I have to do in a day to get us from place to place. It’s so, so easy to let those things consume me sometimes. But, if there is one thing I am learning over and over again, in this life the only thing I can control is my response and my reactions to any situation.
I also find that God often intervenes in my lowest moments. When it looks as if Lindsay’s progress is painfully slow, all of a sudden she’ll really show out at therapy! She’ll stay on the treadmill (in a harness) and actually try to take some steps, when she used to just lock her legs and refuse. We’re in the process of ordering her a gait trainer, (walker) because she is showing some signs of making forward progress in the one she uses in therapy. These things are so encouraging to me, because even though they may take forever-they show progress! Some days, one or both of my boys will have just the right thing to say, or do something so ridiculous to snap me out of my “funk!” So, even though it might be easy to find everything that is “wrong” or “unfair” about the world, it’s so much more beneficial to find all of the things that make life sweet!
At the pool the other day, I was sitting on the edge watching Lindsay as she sat in the water. She could sit that way for hours, just enjoying splashing and watching others run in and out of the water. I noticed a group of boys and their mothers all playing together, and I thought I recognized a few of the mothers. I finally realized that at least two of the boys have gone to the same school as Carter and Cason. I’m not sure how many there were, but each boy in the group had something in common- they all had Down Syndrome. I continued to watch them as they were having the best time playing, and for some reason just could not stop the tears. (Thank goodness for huge sunglasses!) At first, I was crying just because I was thrilled that these boys had each other. Then, I cried as I looked at each mother-acknowledging that they had all once been in the place I have been. They probably have all been through some of the same grieving processes that I know. This may not be the life they would have chosen years ago, but still one that they find so much sweetness in every day. While I was on a roll, I then had tears for the fact that my little girl, though she doesn’t understand it now, was sitting and playing alone. Because her syndrome is as rare as it is, it’s not likely to look around the pool (or around the state) and find someone in her same shoes. About that time my mom came over, and I told her why I was crying. I had just finished saying that I worried about who would play with Lindsay one day, when a little girl stooped down beside her and tried to engage her. She was trying to show Lindsay her Barbie doll, and I knew immediately why she had come.
That’s how it happens, isn’t it? You can be in tears of sorrow one minute, and the next be in tears of joy! All because one little girl chose to show her light, even though she had no idea how profound it was to me. Just the day before that, we took my kids and my nephew to a trampoline place. I found a few spots I could safely put Lindsay to let her play, which is not easy to do in a place surrounded with trampolines! At one point, my nephew (also 3) noticed Lindsay sitting and watching. He told me he was going to go and get his bear, and asked me if I thought she would like to play with it. I told him that I bet she would love it, so he was extra proud to run and get it. After she had played with the bear for awhile, he asked me, “Does she like it?” It was so simple, but that three year old recognized a way to be helpful, and he just did it.
Often, like so many others, I’ll look on social media to sort of “escape” reality for a little bit. Lately, I’ve found that instead of pictures of cute kids and what everyone ate for dinner, 😉 there are more and more things for which I have to push the “hide” button! I have made a choice that the world is hard enough, hateful enough, without my help! With all of the negativity that is constantly streaming on TV and social media, I want no part of it. I can’t think of one time where sharing or “liking” hateful “memes,” videos, opinions, etc., brought about any good. In fact, I would suspect it does the opposite. I saw a quote from Lysa TerKeurst that said, “Let’s not hash, bash, or trash on the Internet. Remember, the Internet never forgets.” I just know that I have enough troubles to keep me occupied, and I never want my kids to be able to look back one day and see that I contributed to making someone feel “less than,” or that I thought my feelings or opinions on any topic were superior to those who have reasons for feeling differently. I want to be a light, and I don’t ever want to use my little corner of the world to do or say something that interferes with that. As my nine year old said the other day, “Why would anyone spend time being hateful, when they could spend that time helping others?” That certainly solidified my decision to choose being a light over the need to be “right.” If I won’t allow my children to go out of their way to say things with the purpose of proving their point, in order to be hateful toward any particular group of people, I certainly cannot be an adult doing the same! Of course, we all have opinions, and reasons for them, but I feel they shouldn’t be at the expense of others. I think of it like this: if I am the only exposure to Christianity someone ever has, I cannot imagine that the impression I give them is that I am no different than the rest of the world. If they see me playing along, putting down others with whom I may disagree in the same manor children on a playground would do, how can I expect to show them Jesus?
I want to follow the examples of the”little lights” I’ve seen. I want to look for more ways to be just like the little girl at the pool, my nephew, my own boys, and of course, my Lindsay. She is a little light everywhere she goes and to everyone she meets! I hope that when I am tempted to jump into the negativity that is so prevalent, I instead look for ways to be helpful. I can be encouraging to someone by writing them a note, offering to listen without judgment, helping teachers when they have more than enough to do, and opening my eyes wider to see what God is showing me. One person at a time, I believe there is so much light to share- in a world where we have more than enough darkness. Sharing a few pictures of my kiddos reminds me of all of the light in my world. 🙂
I’ll close with the chorus of the “newer” version of “This Little Light,” the boys have been learning…
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
And in the darkest night
I’ll be the brightest light
No covering up, no shutting it down
No blowing it out
I’m gonna let it shine all around
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Until next time…