Sometimes my humanity saddens me. I am so fragile and weak – not physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I said some things yesterday that I probably shouldn’t have. It’s not that they were bad or untrue but just poorly timed and spoken out of frustration. The awful part is that they weren’t even spoken, but typed. The words were the outpouring of the perfect storm: end of semester, job stress, choir practices or performances every day and probably a bit of lady hormones thrown in there. “Why couldn’t I just keep it together for two more days?!”
Sometimes my weakness disappoints me.
Recently, I have been re-reading J.I. Packer’s Weakness is the Way. In it, he talks about how there is so much pressure in this go go go world to be strong – strong in physical strength, strong in capacity and strong in character. We should be able to be everything to all people and do everything everyone else can but quicker. But this friends, is not true.
How many times over will I have to learn this lesson?
It’s my second year of college. I have an ambitious course load (meaning more than the average). I am part of our Student Government and honours choir and I have moved from the dorm to my mother’s house where she lives with her new husband and his five children, three of whom have FASD. By mid-November I was a burnt-out shell of a human being. I had to throw in the towel and felt humiliated and humbled beyond what I thought was possible. I took the loss, and moved back to Vancouver. Slow down Krista, you don’t have to do it all. I will still love you.
My daughter Ella was born six years ago with Down Syndrome. She took a solid four days to learn how to nurse. She took her first steps the day before she turned two and getting her out the door for school in the morning is like pushing a ten tonne boulder up a steep hill…but slower. I love her. Today, as we entered the farmers market she pushed her little stroller with her teddy, Nounorse safely buckled in and she waved at everyone we passed. If it were church, everyone would be getting a classic Ella hug. She doesn’t worry about how fast she should be going. She doesn’t worry about being the strongest or the best. She is Ella and she is perfect. You see Krista, perfection is not defined by the world but by me.
Now we are on the cusp. Out of all the times in my life during which I thought, this is, for certain, the most difficult time I will ever know, none have been like this past month. Not so much for me, but for my husband. He had to say good-bye to his mother but because her passing came at the end of the semester, really hasn’t had any time to mourn, process or grieve. Instead, he has been bombarded with his own academic deadlines, papers to grade, papers to mark, rehearsals, concerts, kids, a baby who won’t sleep and a wife who can’t keep her shit together under pressure. And I fear for him. We are so weak. Krista, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. [2 Corinthians 12:9]
Sometimes my insufficiencies frustrate me.
But then I remember that it is okay. Tonight, as I wrote this, I sat by my baby girl’s bed. I wanted to be so frustrated, (as I was last night and the night before), that I could not do what I had planned to get done. But sometimes, it is only when we slow down and accept our weakness that we can see things clearly. Sometimes, it takes having a sleepless child, an infirmity, or uncontrollable, undesirable circumstances to know what is truly important in life. And sometimes, the darkest nights have the best sunrises.