I woke up, just like every other morning. Half asleep debating if I really wanted to go on the bike. I untangled myself from my daughter's oxygen cord, just another reminder that I am a parent of a special child. I stumble down the stairs and stub my toe on that huge concentrator that my daughter is hooked up to, providing the oxygen she needs to maintain healthy saturations.
I reluctantly hop on my bike, it has been several weeks since I have rode on it but know I need this. My life has been lived in a hospital room helping my daughter battle RSV. Since home I have tried to catch up on sleep that the hospital stole from me, make up time with my girls that was robbed by another sickness, and try to spend a little time on my marriage. Life has been busy.
I take a deep breathe and turn on the music. I am slow this morning. Many things running through my mind. I drift into a daydream. I dream about other people's lives and what it must be like to live their life. I think how green the grass looks on the other side. If only this, if only that. My daydreams quickly turns to anger and jealousy. Why can't I be like that? Why can't life be that simple for me? I have reminders all over my life of how difficult and isolating it is to raise a child with special needs and many medical complications.
Then I have reminders of how that green grass on the other side of the fence is tainted with their own thistles and weeds. I am reminded of the horrors of other people's lives all around me. The police officer that was just shot yesterday in our community, the family whose mom is battling cancer, the man who is watching his father die because of cancer, the family that is fostering the impossible child, the family who just experienced the tragic loss of a child, the family that battles in silence, the broken marriage. The list can go on and on of what the green grass covers up. What is behind the smile, what is really going on?
As I turned my phone to my daily devotion God gave me Philippians 2:3-5. I needed this. It says: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." I needed this today.
A little bit of daydreaming turns into jealousy and anger. None of that is healthy. The truth is, God has written a path for everyone's lives. Some are similar and some are completely different. There are struggles and trials in everyone's lives. I was encouraged to not daydream but to help others. I was encouraged to not wallow where God has me, but to help others in their place. And if I want to have my grass green, I need to put in the time, I need to pull the thistles, and I need to water it, mow it, and take care of it. Daydreaming of someone else's grass will not help mine.
There are reminders all around of the path God has written for me. Some are harder to accept than others. The conversation that I had the other day with my middle child. Mom, can you tell me what retard is. Mom, I don't want to put Lydia down, but I want to know what it means. As we talked and I got that deep burning feeling out, it felt good that I was teaching my child about what the meaning of words are and how she should use them. The word retard really gets to me, to think that Lydia is mentally retarded is really hard for me. She is my daughter, full of life and laughter. Whether she is slow, retarded, has Down syndrome or whatever is pointless because none of them describes who she is. I learned this is part of the pruning of my grass. I need to cut those things out and pull the roots. I need to remember whose child she is, she is the daughter of the King of Kings. I can't allow that word to take seed and root itself deep in my grass.
There are other reminders. The isolation of staying put inside a house all day. The isolation of monitoring a child and helping them navigate their environment while hooked on a tube. As I looked around the parking lot and saw other moms walking their children into school, looking as though there was not a care in this world, I felt that hot anger getting root again. I had to be thankful that I was able to get out of the house (I have not been able to take the kids to school in over a week). I had to be thankful that God has allowed me to provide a safe place for Lydia of healing and restoration. It's not what I want, where I want to be, but I need to continue to prune, mow, and tend to MY grass.
The grass will always look greener on the other side and that is because we have not been there to do the work. It is fun sometimes to admire how beautiful it looks and wish we were there, but that is a very dangerous place to be. Getting a diagnosis of Down syndrome can sometimes feel like that too, unfair and like your entire lawn was just killed. However, when you allow the seed to take over and pull the roots of all of the untrue information and stereotypes, your grass too can become beautiful and green. There is nothing in this life with God's help, that will destroy our lawn. Be happy right where God has planted you. Tend to your grass, mow it, prune it, and put the time in for it to be green and healthy.