This past Saturday was my birthday. I turned 52 years old, and I realized that this year I will live a week for every year I’ve been alive. I feel compelled to chronicle the experiences of my journey, one post per week for each year. I’m under no illusion to think these entries will be of value or significance to anyone other than myself.
But every story has a hero and villain, and in this tale I am both and neither. There is triumph and tragedy, heartbreak and hope in this story that is mine…
It is of Hope I pray my life does sing.
“Blessing or Curse”
As a father of five children (four sons and a daughter) there is no greater miracle than to see a new life come into this world. And when that new life is part of you…well, tears of joy flow to this day with these memories.
But childbirth class doesn’t prepare you for problems. Our oldest son came into this world a month late and a shade of grey that belied the life-force inside. He was rushed out of the room and straight to the NICU, his nurse shaking his body all the way in an attempt to force air into his lungs.
Brandon is now a grown man and was the first joy of our five miracles. We are blessed that God protected him on that day and protected all the rest of our clan. I pray that protection every day.
“There’s a problem with your son.”
My parents are gone and there’s no one that was there with them on that day to fill in the gaps. But I’m sure words to the effect of the above were spoken on the day of my birth.
I was born with a severe club foot, an extreme case of ankyloglossia (literally tongue tied), and other issues. A birth is a joyous occasion…but joy was tempered with the news that my parents’ last child was a cripple.
In the weeks ahead we’ll get to the surgeries, the therapies, the casts and crutches, wheelchairs and leg braces.
Spoiler alert: I can walk and I can talk. Boy, can I talk!
There were family members convinced my birth and my condition were a direct result of sin. My mother divorced her abusive alcoholic husband after having three children. When my dad came into her world, he loved her with a fierce devotion that lasted a lifetime, and raised her children as his own. Grace was lived out in a way that staggers me to this day.
But there was no grace for me. Upon marrying my divorcée mom, my dad was judged by some to be an adulterer, their sin playing out in the judgement of my birth, their fourth and last child.
Somehow I discovered early on that I was a child of judgement. Growing up the way I did presented challenges to me and my family. These experiences shaped me in ways I may never fully understand or appreciate. What was intended for a curse, God turned to blessing. Well…most of the time anyway.
Thank God that He saw me before time began. He knew my innermost workings and knows them to this day. It’s not idealistic spiritualism but I know He has a plan for me, and it’s working even now in ways I may never understand until I’m given the gift of hindsight.
And judgement? Time enough to be judged for my actions and choices. But judgement for simply existing? For having a medical condition or for not being ‘normal?’
Spoiler alert: ain’t nobody normal…
And God formed me, and each and every one of us. Created us for a purpose and His good pleasure.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13 ESV)
It’s appropriate to end this first entry with a psalm of David. One written for the choirmaster.
It is of Hope I pray my life does sing…