Certain phrases can be so powerful, it’s as if they transform you to another place and time. It happened the other day, and the phrase, “it’s just so overwhelming” made me think of a day when I’d felt totally overwhelmed.
I was picking up Kristen’s toys in her room. It was a day like any other day, I was doing mom things like any other day. Nothing out of the ordinary. But all of a sudden I felt overwhelmed by the foreverness of our extraordinary life: therapies, specialty doctors, prescription medicines, medical knowledge I never dreamed I’d have, support groups, fears, dashed dreams, close monitoring of developmental milestones, little known diseases, genetics, research, appointments, insurance, ARD’s, special education, IEPs, goals, inclusion…the list was endless of the things I needed to be on top of as a “good” parent.
For six years people had been congratulating me on being a special needs mom, telling me that I was special, and silently I’d been shaking my head, thinking, But I don’t want to be special. I’d rather not if it means that Kristen has a healthy, normal life.
But I kept those thoughts inside, expressing them to my husband only, who felt the same. We’ve always been in this together. And together we sought God’s purpose in our lives as special needs parents.
But on that one, insignificant day, the foreverness of this special needs journey hit me like a ton of bricks.
I sat and wept that day, totally overwhelmed at the thought of forever. I just couldn’t do forever.
And then I was filled with the thought, But you can do today.
And that’s what stopped my tears. I might not be able to think about forever, but I could do today.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When we’re in tough situations, whether it’s raising a special needs child, weathering a financial crisis, losing a loved one or facing a life change, looking long into the future is necessary. But dwelling on forever is rarely a good thing. Instead, try to break up the future into shorter spans of time: today, this week, this year, five years, etc. Those are small bits of time that we can get our minds around.
Most important, keep going. Persevere.
We wouldn’t be here today if people before us didn’t persevere. Even though I love history, there’s no way I’d go back in time and face the circumstances and trials of decades and centuries prior to mine. I’m not that brave.
But if our ancestors could prevail over their setbacks, so can we, in our privileged, digital age.
When we go from ordinary to extraordinary, forever overwhelms us — but we can do today.