Yesterday morning I was sitting in Church listening to the sermon. The sermon was being preached from John 15:1-17. At verse 9 it says: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." As our Pastor went on to preach he said that God has commanded us to be joyful. That means to be joyful in every situation, no matter the circumstance. Our Pastor's wife leaned forward and whispered in my ear; joy just like Lydia's. We could all use some of her joy!
I started thinking about that. First off, I have failed to find the joy in a lot of every day tasks. I did find it much easier to hand everything to God when the situation was so tough. But now that the situation is just routine task, I often find no joy in what I do. The joy of motherhood, of being a wife, of being a child of God seems to be gone. How easy I forget that in all things we must be joyful, God has commanded that. And if I am joyful that pleases God. This is kind of that continuation of my last post when I talked about obedience. I have a long way to go to find joy in the routine of my days, but I do believe that God has given me one large helper!
I started thinking about Mary's comment, about the joy of Lydia. I have often times heard that children with Down syndrome are so happy. I have also heard parents who has a child with Down syndrome annoyed at this statement. I can see both sides of the coin. I would like to add my thoughts about this after meditating a bit on Lydia's joy.
Lydia is a very happy girl. At almost any moment you see her she has a smile on her face. That is her disposition in life. However, it does not mean that she does not have other emotions. She is stubborn and wants everyone to follow her ways. She gets crabby. She is sad, especially when others around her are sad. She gets angry and frustrated. She gets upset with her sisters when they are not playing with her. She has all of the same emotion as you and I.
However, I would argue that we often times look at the negatives of what an extra 21st Chromosome adds to a child. We focus on the physical defects, the cognitive delays, the possible medical risks. However, have we ever thought to think about what she adds, what a child with Down syndrome adds to our lives?
For every shortcoming that we have, I feel like there is something else to take its place. Just as each of my children is different in some way, Lydia is no different from that. Ellen likes the arts more and she is a bookie. Allison is cut and she is going to be a gymnast some day. Ellen likes to be social where Allison has the patience of a saint.
And Lydia. She may be a little delayed at walking, at potty training, at doing some of the sisters were able to accomplish by her age. But Lydia notices all of the small stuff. She watches people very closely and imitates like something I have never seen. She will notice every small detail. If someone is going to the door to leave, she is already over there giving them a hug. Lydia also has this joy that is contagious. She has a joy that is so deep in the soul it was given to her just as a gift.
And I am not talking about joy like "happy, happy, happy" all of the time. I am talking about a joy like what I believe Jesus was referring to in John. A joy that is pure and holy. I really am having a hard time explaining that joy. I think often times you just have to meet her to understand. She will give me a hug when she is getting blood. She feels my pain for her and even though she is in pain; she is thinking of me.
She will reach out to a perfect stranger to give them a hug. Today we were at the store and I was finishing checking out. I walked around to get her out of the cart and she just started reaching for the lady at the register. I asked the lady if Lydia could give her a hug. Surprised she said yes. Lydia lunged forward and hugged her. The lady said that had made her day, that was the best thing ever. There was a lady also waiting to check out. She commented on how nice that was. Lydia lunged forward and gave her a hug. As I was putting the cart away I heard them talking about how that was the sweetest thing and that made her day.
I walked to the truck and strapped Lydia in. I was gathering a couple of things for the next place we had to go. I saw the lady who stood behind us and her smile lite up the world. She waved to me as she was my best friend and mouthed thank you. Lydia is good at spreading joy.
Lydia sees the soul of people and it is almost as though she can tell something is going on in their life. We were at the bank the other day and the teller just seemed very quiet and reserved. Lydia spent most of the time trying to climb over the counter to get to the teller. I had to restrain her. At the end of the transaction I asked the teller if Lydia could hug her. Hesitant, she said yes. Lydia embraced her for several minutes. I noticed the teller had tears flowing down her face. The teller had shared with me that she was struggling with infertility and that was just the thing she needed. Lydia somehow knew.
Now, I am not saying that she has any kind of "special powers" but maybe with all of her inadequacies that the world says she has, her extra chromosome gave her something else, something that the rest of the world is scared of. It is a love, a joy that is so pure and honest that it is scary at times. She loves without boundaries, without preconceived notions, without prejudice. She has joy that gets to others souls, a joy that others are longing for.
She may not be "happy, happy, happy" all of the time she has a joy that is indescribable. Lydia has a joy that I wish I had; she will be my teacher! While she may not live up to the standards of the world as far as developments and cognitive abilities, she has something far greater. What Lydia holds is very hard to teach and I think even harder to accomplish. And that is just who she is, no one taught her that, no one showed her that, that is just how she was made; 47 Chromosomes special.
And I get to enjoy that every day. God already gave me someone to show me the joy...all I need to do is work on being obedient! There is joy in everything she does, even the hard stuff. She knows no different, that is just what makes her Lydia!