Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Of courage and strength...

When I was pregnant with Owen, some people would make comments about my "courage" or "strength". I found these somewhat puzzling (not hurtful, just odd). It's not like I picked or pre-planned the exact circumstances of the situation (I mean, really, who in their right mind would choose to get pregnant with a child that would die shortly after birth?). Mostly, I responded with "Since when is the right thing to do the easy thing to do?" It's not like I'm some saint or anything. I have no doubt that there's beauty in the overall tapestry that is woven of the lives that we intermingle with... But, I wonder: If we could see the bigger picture that He sees, would we still choose to undertake the same path in life?

Earlier today, I received a phone call from my aunt: Big surprise- my cousin just gave birth to a baby boy. She's (my cousin) quite a bit younger than I and due to the circumstances of my upbringing, I chose to avoid deeply hurtful meaningful relationships with most of my family members. So, we’re not really close. With my cousin, I admit: the distance has continued mostly because my judgementalism gets in the way. What do I say to someone in their early twenties that has popped out four kids (all illegitimate and of different fathers), has never held gainful employment (with no aspirations thereof), lives off the teat of the taxpayer (Oregon Health Plan/welfare/food stamps), decided to give up care of her first child to another family member (apparently full time neglect of one child didn't pay enough) and opted for full time neglect of twins instead? Oh, that's right, she gets paid for all three while only having to neglect two. Neglect is a really hard job after all. It’s really not right for me to judge. I felt like the right thing to do was go & visit her in the hospital & say “congratulations”. So, I plastered a big smile on my face and walked right in her room to say just that. It was late (after dinner), so I couldn’t stay long. He is such a beautiful baby boy (which was the only other thing I found I could say to her). I try for genuine honesty, while heeding the old “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything” mantra. Life just doesn’t seem fair, so of course the tears flowed on the way home and stopped just before pulling into my driveway.

So, rounding out my courage and strength post, I want to say this:

Dear Cousin,

Please consider carefully – accepting the great love of our heavenly Father. Only He can wash away our sins and hurts. Only He gives the courage and strength that we need to overcome our past abuse and properly love / nurture our children. In the depth of the darkest days, He does shine light. It’s called hope.


michelle allen said...


This is really a beautiful post. So honest. I love your ending especially. We all fall short.

Have a great weekend!


Chelsea Pang said...

I got those comments of 'wow your so strong, I could never go through that'. And, yes, it felt like they were putting me over there and protecting themselves from actually thinking of the reality that bad things do happen to 'good' people. I would often say, 'it isn't my strength, I am just living with the cards delt to me' and 'you'd be surprised what you can go through when you have to, I am not special'