I believe God’s plan for each of us is to allow us to grow into who we were meant to be. I believe God’s plan for me is more mysterious than I can fathom, much harder than I want it to be, and impossible to complete. This being said, I know his plan has caused me to expand and overcome fears. I have been left in dark places and wondered what kind of God would do this? Ultimately, what I learned was invaluable; experience has taught me who I am.
When my oldest son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and suffered with indescribable pain during his stay at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, I demanded healing from God. My son underwent two complicated surgeries repairing numerous organs and removing part of his colon. I sat in the waiting room with other anxious parents for many hours. This is where the sickest of the sick come for possible repair. These waiting rooms are the beginning for some, and the end for others. I only hoped it would be the beginning of a recovery process for my son and our family. But, as the hours passed, I repeatedly looked into the eyes of the other mothers, fathers, and siblings in that room. And I knew that their pain was as real and raw as mine. And I knew it made no sense, at least not to us humans. Our loved ones were fighting for their lives, and the anguish of waiting and hoping silenced the room.
My son made it through his surgeries and recovered. But it was a process that took over a year, and it was far from easy. During this time I learned how deeply I loved. I learned to walk past fear. And I learned to hope. I also learned to wait. Recovery takes way too long, and life in the outside world continues. But, it was our time to learn perseverance. During that year I cried, I prayed, and I ranted. But mostly, I did what I could; I loved my son and family with deep emotion.
What I believe is life teaches you to love, not with the romantic notions seen on television, but with courage. I believe that if you listen, you find that life cuts away all of the noise and you recognize that the silence and the calm that people look for in monasteries and yoga classes is not really calm at all. It’s exhaustion. It’s when you have experienced every emotion that tragedy holds and have found the bottom. It’s the calm during that pause in the darkness, when your soul relinquishes control. That calm is surrender. That is where you find God, and where you find yourself. Tragedy allows love to grow. It is the seed by which you learn your own inner strength. This I believe.
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