November 24, 2014

The Question I Answered Wrong

I was a presenter on a panel this week.  It was a special panel.  I was asked, along with three other mothers of children with special needs, to give insight to and field questions from a group of recent college graduates that are pursuing various careers that involve individuals with special needs.  These graduates are all currently working as Fellows at Jill's House - the wonderful respite lodge that Bridger occasionally enjoys a weekend at.

Easy peasy. I speak the language of Special fluently.  The other mothers and I gave a little glimpse to our daily lives and answered their questions.  At the end of the presentation, a final question was asked.  It was the question I answered wrong.  

We were asked how we had changed because of this special journey.  Without thinking, I let my brain recite some prerecorded message.  I said the token answer I often give to explain that this journey is not a prison sentence, but quite the opposite.  I said my standard answer, that this journey has changed the way I view every single element in life.  It has given me a different lens to look through, one that I can't take off and will allow me to see with more clearly, feel more deeply, and be released from the minutia that unnecessarily occupies so much of our daily life. . . or something to that effect.

Standard rosy answer.

It was the wrong answer.  This group didn't need my rosy answer.  They deserved the real answer.

I realized it was the wrong answer after the discussion panel was over and I was thinking about the amazing women I shared that panel with.  I had been sitting on a panel with brilliant, beautiful women.  However, we all look pretty two-dimensional in the land of Special.  So all-consuming is this special life that it has shoved every other piece of me into a corner, and I couldn't help but think I wasn't the only other one of the panel that felt that way.

How has this journey changed me?

Here is the real answer in the best way I know how to say it:

In Matthew 10:39 it says, ". . .  he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."  

I heard an interesting analogy once upon a time that applied that scripture to the context of Motherhood.  So true.  Apply it in the context of being a special mom - then it sums it all up.

We have lost our lives.

We used to be women of many talents.  We had interests and abilities.  We had options and intentions.  Most of us have lost that.  But in losing our lives in this way by devoting our lives to the complete care of these fragile little children, we have found that His promise written in Matthew is being fulfilled.  We are finding our lives.  The process is not complete - we still mourn the lives we lost, but it is like a long, drawn out treasure hunt.  We see the glimmer of the wealth along the way of what we know we are gaining.  In the meantime, while we are still trying to follow a very complex treasure map, please understand that we have lost ourselves, and are not sure if our old selves are ever to be found.

If you happen to see my old life, please let me know.  I miss it terribly.  But, I love the new life I am finding even more.