Talking Without Words

For the past several months I have been editing a book for a friend. Her story is one that is filled with as many ups and downs as a teenager’s daily life. But these are real problems and real dramas. Real heartache and real celebrations. And it has caused me to take a real look at things around me.

Her family was/is blessed with two beautiful, intelligent and very charismatic children. Then, God decided this wonderful family was not complete and needed another beautiful child. And in May 2011, a beautiful baby boy, James, was born. For reasons unknown, James was born with a heart defect and lived for four months in the hospital in Charleston. The story I’ve been editing is the daily journals of his parents’ time in Charleston with their sick son.

I’ve had so many emotions editing this book. Pouring over the words, letter by letter, I have come to know James. But even if I wasn’t a mother, this is a book that is filled with amazing stories, coincidences (more like God’s intentional actions) and hope. It has left me with so many emotions. When you first read the book you might wonder why God chose to take James to Heaven so young? But by the end, you realize God chose James to come to Earth and have an impact I can only HOPE I will have in my lifetime. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to see what kind of impact he had and continues to have. It’s pretty remarkable.

In thinking about it all, I wonder and get upset at all the sick kids in the world. The babies who never had a chance, the kids who have random accidents that are one in a million. Why does God choose for it to happen to them? Children are so beautiful and innocent, and many are in the hands of monsters that one can only hope to survive. But for those who aren’t? Who are born to wonderful, loving parents, why does He not give them a chance at life? And for that matter, why does he give babies to monsters to begin with!

I pray for Baby Ava every night, a baby I do not know but follow on Facebook. Her parents want her home so badly and she came home for only a day before going back. She suffers from many genetic issues but does not suffer from cuteness or lack of love. Her parents dress her up in new outfits every day for her daily Facebook posting. I prayed for Baby Izzy, who was a twin and had a healthy sister and older brother. I used to play basketball against her mom’s older sisters and vaguely remember her mother as a young girl. I pray for Tripp Halstead, who had a branch fall on his skull at daycare. Just a beautiful, innocent child not much older than my own son who is now recovering from a traumatic situation. I pray for all these kids just in case God can’t hear the other tens of thousands praying for them.

It is these times that my faith is tested. I know bad things have to happen and the world is often filled with as much evil as it is good. But I cannot understand why some children are born healthy and others not. Why some have their perfect lives ahead of them only to have it robbed. Why parents and friends have to go through the most horrible pain they can and bury their children.

But I know I must have faith. I know I must believe there is a reason. I think about Baby James and knowing his story in greater detail. The impression he left and the actions his life has inspired are truly miraculous. I know that without ever speaking a word, he said so much. So perhaps these other beautiful children I have not met are doing the same thing for their parents and friends. They are inspiring us to be better people and servants of God. They are teaching us to live the way we should, not the way we want. It is God working through a way that is not exactly how we would prefer, but maybe how it should be. Sometimes God says so much without directly speaking. He’s talking with no words.

Each day I tell my husband I love him. I give my son so many kisses I lose count. In church S was holding C and C grabbed S’s cheek and began smothering him with kisses. I watched, wondering what S would do. It was disruptive because like all toddlers, he wanted to do it over and over again. But at the same time, it was the most endearing thing in the world to have your child purposely grab your cheek, turn it and kiss you repeatedly. S returned the kisses and showered him with affection. After church, the couple behind us commented on how much he must love his parents, especially his daddy, because of his silly demeanor. It is moments like this that one could easily whisper, “no” to their child for being disruptive. But if it were the last kisses we ever got, wow, how much we would treasure them.

I don’t mean to sound morbid. In fact I hope my post is inspiring or honest. I struggle many days with believing everything will be good and turn out the way I want. I am human after all. But I also make sure everyone knows how I feel about them in case anyone needs reminding.

Never take this boy for granted.

I Vow to Never take this boy for granted.

Women have a shelf life? Yea right!

I recently read an article by Susan Patton, a Princeton alum and mother, who told female students to find husbands at school before they graduate. You can read it here. Wow this article is a load of bullshit. I use the word bullshit not because I can’t think of a better word but because it firmly describes what I think of this woman’s point of view. “Find a man before you graduate because women have a shelf life,” ? What? I’m sorry, I spent my entire college career focused on three things:

1)   Getting an education/graduating

2)   Making some of the best friends of my life

3)   Experiencing said life to its absolute fullest and not regretting any of it.

Sure some parts of numbers two and three resulted in some not-so-wise decisions, but I also used them as stepping stones and growing pains, to be cliché, to come out a better person on the other side. Relationships, husbands in particular, were really not part of my vernacular. While I DID have a new crush every semester it seemed, the last thing I ever thought about was getting married.

I’m sorry Ms. Princetonian, but there is more to life, and college for that matter, than finding your potential mate. And a shelf life? Wow, for someone who is supposed to be very smart you sure make dumb comments. Why not send us back 70 years and tell us we can’t sit next to African-Americans or be anything but secretaries and teachers.

I can understand her argument that perhaps if you meet someone younger you have a longer time to play house and raise a family and then be traveling retirees at 59.5 years old. But we’re also not really all that mature at 22 and chances are, we are going to be different people in our 30s and perhaps, not think the same of our spouse as we did at 21. Women of my generation are rarely getting married that young. And for those of you who did, I think it’s great. I have nothing against young marriage if it’s meant to be, but i have very few friends who married right out of college and are still together. And i don’t know ANY of my friends who went to college solely to seek out a husband.

Like MANY of my friends, I am a successful, professional, woman. I am a mother who is happy in love and loving life. Yes, Ms Princeton-lady, I DO have it all. I have a job I love, have worked hard for and married my best friend. And if I’d met him while in college, surely I would have passed him by. Because the person I was at 21 is not the woman I was at 26 or especially 30, when we married. My priorities were completely different than what they are today. I was not mature. I was not ready to be a wife. I wasn’t ready to understand what it meant to compromise, sacrifice and make hard decisions. Most days my hardest decision was did I want to go to class or stay up pondering “The Big Lebowski” for another hour and skip my 8 a.m.

Today 8 a.m. is a luxury hour of which I rarely sleep past, but I wouldn’t trade it. I have to disagree with Ms. Patton in every regard. Women are older nowadays when they get married because we want to be self-sufficient, intelligent, mature and able to handle what life throws at us. Sure we like chivalry, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make our own money or know how to pump our own gas. We can still cook our family dinner and do all the traditional feminine roles, but we’re going to be doing it while checking email, paying bills and meeting a friend for lunch.

I’m no women’s lib fanatic but when reading this article I immediately felt a need to respond. The irony to me of course is that this woman is divorced because she felt that it was horrible to be married to someone not as smart as her. Maybe her husband felt it was just horrible to be married to someone with ridiculous ideas. Clearly she is not happy, so who is she to preach on the way someone should live her life?