Friday, November 15, 2013

Silver Linings

Life is hard.  The trials that we go through ourselves can cause much pain and heartache.  But the trials that we see our kids go through can hurt us even more.  Before I got married I remember my dad telling me that being a husband and a father would intensify the experiences I would go through for the rest of my life.  The highs would be higher.  The lows, lower.  I believe this to be true.

Taylor and Parker made the Providence Hall basketball team again this year.  No huge surprise, although, since the coach was different, it wasn't a foregone conclusion.  So Christi and I were able to breath a little easier when we got the text Wednesday morning from Parker.  It was a picture of the team list.  Both of their names were on it, along with several of their friends.  We were so happy for them.  Then I noticed that two particular names were missing.  These are good kids, great kids even.  Both close friends of Taylor's.  And knowing as many of the kids that made the team as I do, I knew that both of these boys should have made it.  Prior to last year's tryout, one of these boys had told Taylor he had been praying all summer to make the team.  He didn't make it last year as a 7th grader, but we were sure he would make it as an 8th grader.  For some reason he didn't.  The other boy looked at the final list on Wednesday morning, saw he wasn't on it, checked out and went home.

Even though they're not our kids, Christi and I just ached for these two boys.  We know how devastated either of our boys would have been had they not made the team.  And we love these boys, too.  They are great kids who are a good influence in Taylor's life.  Why?  Why does life have to be so hard?  I know at some time, at some level, our boys will face a day when they don't make the team.  How do parents face such crushing pain and still go on?

Christi and I were really impacted by it.  We talked about it several times through the evening.  At one point Cali looked at me, obviously not understanding how important such a thing could be, and asked, "Why are those boys sad?"  Me:  "Because they didn't make the basketball team."  Cali, with a bit of a smirk on her face, "I didn't make the team!"  She kind of rolled her eyes as she said this, indicating that she thought it was a pretty silly thing to worry about.  I think  that was all she meant, but the deeper meaning in what she said hit me pretty hard.

OK. Find pain in not making the team.  But then look at your legs and realize how grateful you are that you could try out.  Someday you'll grow up, get a job, have a family and probably forget that you missed that one year of basketball.  But you'll always have your legs.  Some people don't.

So much pain in the world.

But so much joy.  So much to be thankful for.

Friends who rally around Cali.  Friends who invite her to all kinds of parties and late nights and church activities.  Friends who push her between classes and help her understand assignments.  Unbelievable advances in medical care and equipment.  Laws that seek to make as many opportunities as possible available to people with all types of disabilities.  Literally hundreds of people who love Lexi and who have experienced the light she brings into a dark world.  Thousands of people who have viewed videos of Sophi on YouTube and who have had their burdens lightened by watching how she lives her life with joy in the face of hardship.  (Soph just walked in and is narrating every picture of the first link above:  "Me on a slide in the park!  Me on da beach!  Me in a box!" and on and on and on:)

So many experiences in the world around us that testify that God lives and loves us.  Sunrises.  Sunsets.    Mountain peaks and ocean surf.  Tulips in spring and roses in summer.  Horses to ride and dogs to love and wild animals to marvel at.  From the Grand Canyon to the Florida keys to the vast beauty of China, so many, many places and wonders in God's masterful canvas.

And most of all, faith, hope and love in and through Jesus Christ and His gospel.  Faith that someday we will all be resurrected with perfect bodies.  Hope that through His grace we can live again with our Father in Heaven.  Love for a family that will be together throughout eternity.

And so I hope that as life continues to bring it's inevitable challenges, we will each be able to focus on the equally inevitable joys.  I didn't start this out thinking it would be a Thanksgiving post, but I guess it fits.  I hope I can always give thanks for the blessings in my life, even when the hard times come.  And I hope my kids can do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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