Friday, October 5, 2012

A Change of Seasons

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV ~

Since my children were pre-schoolers, I have been teaching them that "It's my job to train myself out of a job."  In other words, it is my duty to teach my kids to become self-sufficient, responsible, productive people.  Day by day, each of my children should become less and less dependent upon me.

However, some days, that mission isn't so easy.  It is not merely because children often find fun far more attractive than diligence.  And it is not because a mother may find it hard to say "goodbye" to childhood and cut the apron strings.  It is because there is also great pain in watching my children come to bear the larger burdens which face adult life.

Frankly, there are many grown-up type realities for my not-yet-grown people.  There are now serious consequences to the still-immature decisions they make.  Watching my child struggle because he chose not to complete an assignment or ask for help after a poor grade is tough.  My kids all have an internal drive that makes them very hard on themselves without any parental pressure being added.  Listening to my son deflate as he realizes he may miss his personal goal of becoming an honor student because he made a poor choice is hard.  Having to tell him that he may not be able to attend the German weekend camp he wants to next year because they have no way to treat his hemophilia is not fun.  The full maturity of understanding he is left out of a group or activity merely because he has a bleeding disorder is now upon him. 

At the same time, the stark reality that he has done all the right things and made all the wise decisions, but still has to suffer hits him as he grows like a cold, stiff slap.  For someone like our son, who wrestles with anxiety and depression, the heavy weight of coming to an adult maturity can evoke even worse thoughts.  It tests his very will to live.  He knows that he is not emotionally ready to learn to self-infuse.  He makes good choices about what activities may be risky for him.  He promptly self-reports any bleeding episodes that may not be obvious to others, so that he can receive immediate treatment.  Yet, that may not mean that he avoids suffering, pain or loss.

While we raise our children to believe that there is nothing they can't do if they put their minds to it, the fact is, there are some things they will never be able to do.  My son with hemophilia is not going to be able to be a professional football player, no matter how badly he wants to be.  Revisiting the sudden realization of such truths at this age is painful.  We don't sit and focus on the impossibilities all of the time, but they can't always be avoided either.

God gives parents that innate passion to protect their children, so being unable to shield their hearts causes great anguish.  There is a season when they are first diagnosed where we come to terms with this.  But when they reach this new season of maturing, it re-opens the wounds of a parent's heart.

When my son is sad, I am sad with him.  Trying to get him to understand that life is not fair, but God is good seems virtually unattainable some days.  I am filled with great concern when I hear him lose his will to live.  I pray like crazy on top of the prayers I already lift up for each of my precious children.  And I wonder what the future holds for him as he steps closer to the doors of adulthood every day.  Will he find a good job?  Will it have good insurance?  Will he have any dreams realized or will this world always sideline him because of his chronic illness?  Some days I feel like my heart is irreparably broken.  This is a season of transition, uncertainty and heaviness.

Thanks for listening to my rambling heart today...

PRAY:  Lord, I know that there are many seasons to this life you have given us.  Travel with my child through these changes.  Comfort my child's heart as he comes to realize that there may be serious limitations on his life.  Help him to rest and trust in you, knowing that even if life is not fair, you are a good God.

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