Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty — and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works — and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. (Psalm 145:3-7, NIV)
Our eighth grader graduated last Friday. It took some convincing on our parts, but our daughter finally bought into the fact that this marking of the transition from middle school to high school is a big occasion. So the butterflies arrived in her stomach that morning before she departed. My husband and I arrived toting a lovely bouquet, early enough to select the optimal seat. Their orchestra played complex classical pieces as she, along with her 188 classmates nervously and joyfully shuffled into a packed gym all dressed in their best attire. As the ceremony commenced, their choirs sang songs reflecting this season of their lives. The principals and school superintendent gave glowing addresses. And two students delivered lively and inspiring speeches mature beyond their age. Of course, the diplomas were handed out along with certificates of achievement, and the students cheered as they were pronounced as graduates to conclude. While cake and punch was served immediately afterwards, our celebration as a family came when we enjoyed dinner together at a chain restaurant that evening. No doubt, it was a memorable occasion.
Reflecting back, however, I realize that we have more than this momentous occasion to celebrate from this past school year. Our son made the transition into middle school from grade school this year. It was exciting and fearful for him all at the same time. The teacher he had was beyond our wildest imagination when it came to the tenderness he needed. While he battled so much anxiety and missed many school days, he progressed wonderfully in the last quarter. It seemed he had made great progress in living with his PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and he became more cooperative with his infusions. He barely had any nosebleeds this past year, no joint bleeds, and no major injuries. His grades were advanced for his age level despite any bumps in the road he faced. Even one of these things on its own would be a big deal, but together they are truly amazing!
Then there’s your youngest. We can feel proud that we attempted auditory integration therapy for her late last summer. While it made things worse for her, at least we eliminated one course of treatment in her regime of drug-free therapies for treating her ADHD. Although the teacher we had for her didn’t seem to be the best fit, the rest of the school team came around us remarkably and put her through a huge battery of tests to help us with diagnoses. Thankfully, we were able to eliminate language processing difficulties. In fact, she was off the charts in that area! And we finally were able to have her diagnosed with SPD (sensory processing disorder) as well as social deficits. While I shed some tears over it, she received an IEP in January that served her well. The occupational therapist at the school was wonderful in helping me with getting our little treasure to work through getting her hair brushed, which was no small task with this sensory child. The special ed teacher was amazing, using a Wii to help her with proprioceptive challenges. And the principal never failed to let me know how much she loves my daughter. All of this helped us move from feeling absolutely defeated to feeling like we were gaining ground in assuring her a bright future.
The point in me sharing these stories with you is that God wants us to take time to celebrate. He created Sabbath so that we could even slow down enough from our daily laboring to realize that we have a reason to celebrate! And it doesn’t even have to be a big occasion like a graduation either. Rejoicing over life’s small victories keeps us going for life’s next challenges. Holding a festive party fills us up and reminds us of why we work so hard, so that when we are required to be poured out, we can carry on knowing that there will be a sense of accomplishment in the end. In fact, many times the only reason for undergoing is knowing that there will be the party of overcoming in the end!
When we don’t intentionally make that time to celebrate, we deprive ourselves of much of what God intended for us. We survive rather than thrive. Missing half of the equation in a situation that God saw fit to allow in our lives, we can become bitter and hardened. There is a huge need for us to open our eyes to all of the goodness around us and respond in turn with gratitude and celebration!
Look back on this past school year now that summer vacation has or soon will arrive. Even if there were heartaches, what were the good things that happened this past year? Maybe it was just one good doctor’s appointment or one nice teacher. Perhaps it was just being glad that the school year is behind you. It could even be as simple as learning one new life skill, but that reason to celebrate is there. God loves you and holds out reasons to rejoice even in the toughest of times. Open your eyes and your heart to them! Enjoy some cake & ice cream! What are YOU celebrating from this past school year? We’d love to hear about it and celebrate with you!