Today we had a victory. It was a major victory of the heart, physical and emotionally.The past two years has taught me to celebrate the ‘little victories’. This means to SEEK OUT blessings like a child searches for a favorite toy when you are already 10 minutes late.
Today I took Secondborn to our second home, the on-post hospital for cardiology. First victory– my husband was able to take him and check him in while I dropped Firstborn at school so I didn’t have to defy the laws of physics to be in two places at once. Second, everything looks wonderful! I was thrilled. The doctors were fantastic.
Third: The victory of the heart: Today NO ONE asked me if I was surprised when my son was born with Trisomy 21. NO ONE even hinted at abortion or lauded my decision to have him and fight this fight. It is the first time in this particular clinic that it has EVER happened.
It was amazing to just go in and have people go throughout the appointment without even MENTIONING the Down Syndrome until it was medically applicable. My child was just Will. I was just Mom. Not a Downs-Mom. Mom. No one asked me how I am handling it. No one said they didn’t know how I did it all or how I get through it. The good news we received wasn’t eclipsed by pity or an extra chromosome. I didn’t have to go it guarding my heart against what we so often face.
I left elated. So often in life we are marked by our afflictions, or even neutral traits. Today I was seen. I can’t help but think that is what it is like when Jesus sees us. When people approached Jesus in the Bible, he didn’t address them as “Blind Man”, “Leprous Man”, “Cripple” or “Dad or the demon-possessed”. In fact, he let them ask for healing–THEY brought up the problem, not Jesus. What a Great Physician.
I interact with members of the medical profession about 3-5 times a week. Add in therapists and educational advisers and I get a LOT of opportunities to be scrutinized but also to show them what real servanthood looks like. Driving through the military checkpoint today a phrase very clearly entered my heart: “You can’t commit to serve and then make rules. If you serve, you serve how the Master commands.”
At my last educational evaluation appointment a woman asked me how I handle it all while my husband was overseas. I unabashedly said, “Jesus. I am a total wreck most of the time. Only Jesus keeps me afloat and growing into the mom I want to be.” She was unimpressed. “Well, at least you have something to keep you going. How nice for you.” (The fact is, no matter how true my statement is, I still have a moment of ‘ugh’ when I am dismissed out of hand. Why is ‘wine’ any better of an answer?)
The only way to get through it is with diligent thankfulness. Honestly, thankfulness is tough. I have to exercise it like a muscle, even though it is my natural disposition. My thankfulness muscles aren’t as naturally toned. My anger, frustration, resentment, and self-pity are chiseled. I have self-doubt of steel. I am constantly having to strengthen my Hope. Joy. Trust.
While we were in the waiting room, two men walked out of their appointment. The older was a poster-soldier; about 30, athletic and with a confident walk. Behind him came a 14 year old. He was handsome, well dressed in a polo and jeans. He leaned on the check-out desk like a typical teen and carried himself well. When he turned to me I could clearly see the markers that others search out in my son.
I pondered that teen in my heart today. The doctor I saw informed me that he was 14 and was cared for by his older brother. I could see down the road to a time that seems so far off. I mean, I’ll be 40 by then! I could see my son in that teen. I saw something I long for in that young man. I also recognized something in the heart of his brother. It is so incredibly hard to guard my heart while also remaining vulnerable enough to accept the lessons Christ means to imprint.
Our hearts get eclipsed by things that get in the way. Judgments, sins, ignorance, selfishness, pride… it happens. Perhaps that is why Jesus asks us to love him and seek after him with our WHOLE heart.
Sorry, Bonnie Tyler. No one can handle a total eclipse of the heart except Jesus.