Monday, October 4, 2010

A Time and a Season

Not long ago, I was at the dentist or some other place where the person I was talking to didn't know me very well.  We'd already discussed that I had three children at three different schools.  Somehow, I said something about sewing, which led the conversations to things I liked to make, and eventually, the person I was talking to said something like, "Wow!  You are amazing!  How do you do it all?"

Like I said, it was someone who doesn't know me very well.  Or else they would know that there is toilet paper all over the floor of my children's bathroom, there is mascara spilled in my bathroom sink, a load and a half of dishes waiting to be done, a mysterious smell coming from my son's bedroom, a kitchen floor that hasn't been mopped for.....a while....., and a freakish spider invasion in the basement rec room.  I don't do it all.  I pretty much do what I have to do and what I want to do, and often ignore the rest. 

Here's the thing.  Along with the blogs that I check on regularly to get ideas for my house, I have another group of blogs that I check on regularly to get or give support to other families finding their way around Holland.  Each day, I find myself viewing the inside of two very different worlds: the shiny, pretty world where children pose in bright, handmade clothes on slipcovered couches and painted chairs, with burlap banners proclaiming the joy of the season behind them, as their mothers pull another batch of their signature cookies from the oven......and the less comfortable world where the children pose with their latest feeding tube or portable heart monitor next to a stack of laundry that needs folding while their mothers try to sound brave about the surgery that is around the corner and the fact that they haven't had a decent night's sleep since they came back from their last hospital stay.  I take notes on things I can replicate in my own home from the shiny world, and I make lists of people to pray for and symptoms to watch for from the other world.  It is a strange dichotomy.

During those times when I struggle with the contrast of those two worlds, I have to remember that there is a time and a season for all things.  I have to trust in a loving Father in Heaven, and have faith that He has a plan for all of His children.  We are each here to learn and to grow and--especially--to experience joy.  How we discover that joy in our lives, despite our individual trials, is up to us.  We don't all experience the same trials nor do we share similar opportunities for personal learning and growth, thank goodness!  Our experiences are going to to be as unique as we are.  The timing of our tests and our blessings and even our miracles are going to be different, too.

A time and a season.   Things can change so quickly.  I found these pictures taken on a family vacation, just before Superkid was diagnosed with her congenital heart defect.
And these, taken a few weeks after Superkid's diagnosis, when we were at Boston Children's Hospital, awaiting an experimental treatment that would hopefully delay open heart surgery. 
I could not have guessed, on the day the first set of pictures was taken, what twists and turns my own personal journey was going to take.  I could not have imagined, then, what it would be like to learn to insert a feeding tube into my baby's nose or what it would be like to select a place to bury my baby.  In the second set of pictures, I was learning to imagine those things, but I couldn't yet envision how my life could ever be "normal" again. 

Is my life normal, yet?  Not really.  Not in the way I thought it would be, when the sun was shining as I dipped my baby's feet in the water.  But it is also different, and better, and more manageable than I imagined it would be when I cried that day in the garden at Boston Children's Hospital. 

Those times and seasons are ever changing, and none of us can ever predict what new experiences will be ours with the next breeze.  For some of us, the tragedy of our day is running out of glue sticks before finishing the wreath we wanted to make, and for others the measure of a successful day is one in which our child didn't have to be admitted to the hospital.  Let's be kind to one another, recognize that we are all doing our best with what we've been given, and support one another as we go through these times and seasons at our own pace.  If an empty glue gun is currently your only concern, then pray for the mother who is wondering how much longer she'll have a baby to hold.  And, if you are just hoping to come home from the hospital today, then know that this, too, shall pass; there will be time to make other memories and maybe even a wreath or two.

May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness....Wherever you have been planted on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees."
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf


  1. What a wonderful post! I keep wondering when the feeling of life crashing in us is going to go away. While it isn't a constant thought it is in the back of my mind.

  2. Ruth, I have been quietly following your blog for awhile. While I am continually amazed at your "craftiness", I am more amazed at your capacity to deal with life's challenges with such grace and fortitude. Fortunately, my life currently falls in the "glue stick" category. What a blessing to be pulled out of those little trials occasionally and realize two things: 1) I should not only count my blessings, but reach out to bless others, and 2)should the storms of life commence, I have a loving Father to help me and a great example in you to show that despite a cloudy day, the sun will eventually shine through. Thanks for your wisdom, craft tips, and most of all for just being you! Kim (Jones) Bouck

  3. Ruth,
    This was a great post. I like your comment on the "If an empty glue gun is currently your only concern, then pray for the mother who is wondering how much longer she'll have a baby to hold." Well said.

    I always LOVE your posts...the crafty ones...the comical ones...and of course the whole hearted serious ones.

    Thanks for the comment on Logan's blog this morning. I always appreciate your comments. Sometimes they make me giggle too!

  4. Ruth,

    Thanks to KD Portraits, I just found your blog. I guess I should think about the Bento thing--although my oldest is only in half day kindergarten, so I don't actually have to worry about carrying it out for a year or so.

    I love your reading about the things you do, your perspective, and your family. Good to see you again this summer!