|My little Halloween mouse. Joshua was one-year-old|
The life event that caused me to learn and grow was discovering, resisting, and eventually accepting that my precious child has a lifelong disability. I fell into a depression, over the course of many years, as I tried to deal with all of the issues associated with disabilities. Believe me, there are many! My world – the life I expected to have – had been turned upside down upon my son’s diagnosis. I now had all this stuff I had to learn about and a new way I had to be in the world. Gone was the soccer mom I thought I would be. Now there was a world filled with special needs rights training, physical and occupational and speech therapies, an enormous amount of worry about his future and my future and my husband’s future, and new terminology I had to learn. The list goes on and on. I now had to take on the role of being Joshua’s advocate. I – shy, quiet Monica who never wanted to rock the boat, who never went to college – had to take on people with college educations who already knew about the system and had many years of experience navigating it. Along with all that I had thoughts like,
It shouldn’t be this way.
Once I had no other choice than to feel my pain, I wallowed in it. I cried for Joshua’s future, asking God ‘why.’ I cried for my future, asking God ‘why’ again. I searched my mind. I asked other people what they thought about why God would do this to my son and to my family. Some of the answers I received from other people were ridiculous. I knew that they couldn’t be right, so I kept asking and searching. I truly wanted, with all my heart, to know why.
The inspiration for me to write this particular post came about as a result of a video I watched of Peter Sellers giving a speech about creating, on stage and through music, a new version of The Passion of Christ and how our emotions can be a catalyst towards getting us up off our butts to make a difference in the world and in our own lives. Mr. Sellers spoke about how Jesus lives in each one of us and he wants us to do his work. Jesus wants us to make a change within ourselves and in the world.
We can’t skip over the crucifixion part. It is necessary.
The emotions you feel are God talking to you saying, ‘I have something to teach you; just be still and ask me what you want to know.’ Allow yourself to open up to this truth and you will be set free. When you open yourself up to vulnerability and you allow yourself to feel the pain, the sorrow, the hopelessness, the loss; when you surrender to it as Jesus did that day, by not trying to change it or make it go away, or talk your way out of it, or shop your way out of it, acceptance enters your awareness. You have surrendered to what IS. You begin to accept what you cannot change. Knowing that you cannot change it in this moment brings its own sense of peace. Now you can relax and stop fighting it. When you get peaceful it still hurts, but space opens up for ideas, possibly solutions. Gratitude may enter. Compassion for yourself or someone else may enter. Space is available now for you to move forward, to get unstuck. When you surrender to the pain there becomes space in your heart for questions to enter and there is a stillness allowing you to hear God’s answers.
What can I learn from this?
What is it about this situation I need to understand?
What did this person bring into my life?
What might I need to change?
What am I telling myself about this that may not be true?
Am I too focused on changing this?
Can this be changed?
It may require you to drop some old ideas and this can take time. I asked questions for a few years and little by little my old way of understanding certain things changed and eventually answers came. Pay attention to the signs that come your way. That sounds strange - like some psychic thing is going to happen! I don’t mean it like that. Nothing unusual is going to happen. However, you might start to get the same message over and over from different people or different sources. For instance, you might read something somewhere and then hear it said somewhere else. Pay attention to that. In my case, my mom had given me a little book for Christmas one year called, Practicing the Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. It was a little companion booklet to his book, The Power of Now. I could not read it when she gave it to me because some of the things people told me about why Joshua was born disabled had turned me off of religion. This book was not about religion, but when I started to read it, it felt like it was going to be about religion. I put the book away and forgot about it for a couple of years. Then I heard about another book of his called, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Oprah was going to do a 10-week free internet class with Eckhart Tolle about the book. She talked about it on her show, but she didn’t really explain anything about the book or the class. She just said read the book and log in for the class. I thought I should sign up for it, but I just didn’t really want to. I couldn’t imagine what this class would be about or what it might do for me, so I decide not to do it. Even though I had closed my daycare the month before, I convinced myself I was way too busy. After all, I had housework to do, dinners to prepare, laundry to wash and hours and hours of television to watch.
I could not put it down.