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Seeking the far better things (Part II)

Earlier this month, I wrote five lessons (Part I) learned over these last 10 years of liquid sunshine. Here are five more, Part II:

Seeking the far better things (Part II)

It’s mid-summer now, and all the talk around southern Ontario is of rain, albeit the lack thereof. What is typically seen as a damper for picnic plans and beach days is now on top of the summer wish list. In my childhood home, Mom would often say, “Rain is liquid sunshine.” It wasn’t just her way of spinning the bad news with gold thread; she was also subtly tending to the growth of my character through the ups and downs of life.

Earlier this month, I wrote five lessons (Part I) learned over these last 10 years of liquid sunshine. Here are five more, Part II:

6. Grief shared is grief divided. We have an inner circle of care, and we are part of a wonderful community. This comes to us out of God’s loving faithfulness, as we have slowly trusted others to hear our story. There is a hesitancy in sharing our story; we don’t wish to use our kids as tugs on your heartstrings, and there exists a stubborn, stoic mentality of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” Yet we know that we are created for community. Sometimes, silly things are said to us like, “I don’t know how you do it” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” but these are moments when we learn about grace. We don’t want to hear of how blessed we are because of our kids with special needs; we want to experience the blessing of growing, forgiving and living together.

7. We share our scars, not our wounds. Our wounds are the raw sorrows that result from unplanned changes. This is the private grief that might involve journaling, counselling, a punching bag or sitting in silence. These wounds are the initial, impulsive responses that come from changes in or decisions made regarding our girls’ health and well-being, funding changes with our girls’ care or straight-out jealousy when peer families celebrate milestones beyond our reach. When we share these wounds before they scar over, we risk pushing help away; we offend the ones we love, and we overwhelm our support team.

8. It can be incredibly humbling and awkward to ask for help. Consequently, when we have needed relief, financial or otherwise, we have sat down with close friends who then advocated our need to the greater community. Anyone could freely ask questions of our mediators, without risking offence, and we felt empowered in asking for help with them. We give thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit speaking through the multitude of support!

9. We are learning (often the hard way) how important it is to take care of ourselves. We might have our girls’ best interests at heart, but we are neglecting our kids when we neglect ourselves. This is a tough one to write about because it is almost impossible to take care of yourself when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Sleep deprivation is deceiving, both personally and to the clerk at Shoppers Drug Mart who gave me the senior discount recently. It is frustrating how quickly we can distract ourselves with busyness and even use our quirky family routine as a crutch in challenging ourselves to be healthy and well.

10. Understanding a new normal is an evolving process. We shouldn’t compare, but it can be tempting to measure our normal against our peers; social media can be the worst conduit for this habit. We are forever learning to embrace our normal and to continuously find creative ways to make fun moments and lasting memories.

As we patiently and impatiently seek the far better things, Ralph and I grudgingly admit there is purpose in seeing both the grit and the grace through those ups and downs. I know there is little solace when we pretend it’s all sunshine and roses. Here’s hoping we all benefit from some liquid sunshine this summer.

I leave with lines from the good ole’ Medical Mission Sisters, an album Mom would play: “I saw rain drops on a river, joy is like the rain. Bit by bit the river grows, ‘til at once it overflows; joy is like the rain.”  

About the Author
Seeking the far better things (Part II)

Sara Pot, COLUMNIST

Sara Pot is a new columnist with CC. She lives in St. Catharines, Ont. with her husband, four daughters and their golden doodle; she welcomes conversation and feedback to thepotfamily@gmail.com.

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